4 Drug-Free Strategies To Manage The Pain Of Shoulder Tendonitis
If you have recently been diagnosed with shoulder tendonitis due to repetitive motion stress, your physician will most likely devise a treatment plan for you. The goal is to reduce inflammation of the shoulder tendons (the tissue that connects muscles to bones) that are caused by overuse and strain, as well as restore free range of motion. While anti-inflammatory medications and pain relievers are commonly prescribed for this condition, these drugs may cause side effects in some individuals, such as gastrointestinal upset or drowsiness. If you are looking for a drug-free way to manage the pain of shoulder tendonitis, you might want to try the following natural treatment options:
1. Rest and Refrain
During the onset of tendonitis, you may make the condition more manageable and prevent further injury by resting the area as much as possible and refraining from repetitive motion tasks. You may also facilitate healing by restricting movement with the use of a brace, shoulder sling or immobilizer. These aids are also referred to as shoulder stabilizers and supports. Most shoulder braces attach with a Velcro strap and are adjustable.
2. Practice Good Ergonomics at Work and At Home
At home and at the office, set up your workstation to accommodate you. Computer monitors should be at eye level to avoid having to slouch or bend your neck at an uncomfortable level, both of which may place further strain on your affected shoulder. If you stand while working at a prep table, adjust the height of the table to a comfortable level. This will help you avoid slouching or overextending your arm, which may aggravate the condition. If you do repetitive activities such as cashiering, warm up before work with gentle stretching exercises. Stretch and rotate your shoulder during breaks.
3. See a Physical Therapist
Ask your doctor if physical therapy may help you manage your pain. A certified physical therapist will evaluate your condition and test your range of motion. He or she may suggest stretching or strength training exercises as well as ice applications to reduce inflammation. In addition, the following therapies may be recommended:
Resistance Band Therapy: Resistance bands are portable, and you may continue this therapy at home. Constructed of a very flexible material that you may stretch, these bands may help you strengthen the affected shoulder and help reduce pain. There are various exercises that may be performed with the use of these bands, and your therapist may demonstrate them to you. Along the same concept, an over-the-door shoulder pulley utilizes resistance bands and can easily be set up at home in most any doorway.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS): This form of therapy is often used by physical therapists as a natural way to reduce pain. This is a device that creates an electrical current delivered to the targeted area on your shoulder. To do so, electrodes (pads) are connected to the device and placed on the skin. It is said that this form of therapy releases endorphins (the body's natural painkillers) in patients experiencing painful conditions such as tendonitis.
Upper Body Ergometer Exercises: An upper body ergometer is a machine which resembles a bicycle. You sit on the seat, and rather than pedaling with your feet, you pedal with your hands and arms. This movement may be controlled with various resistance and it is intended to strengthen arms and shoulders and restore free movement in those areas.
4. Amp Up Your Healing With Anti-Inflammatory Foods and Natural Herbal Supplements
Consuming more fruits and vegetables may help you manage your painful shoulder tendonitis. Fresh fruits (berries and cherries in particular) as well as green, leafy vegetables such as kale and collard greens are high in antioxidants and have natural anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, healing herbal supplements containing natural ginger or arnica may reduce the inflammation from tendonitis.
Before attempting any exercises, techniques or dietary supplements, it's best to consult with your physician.