I have chronic tendon problems, mostly in my hands now. Sometimes, just the simpliest motions, like rubbing lotion on my knees last night, and TWANG! My entire hand was hurting. This has been an ongoing issue for several years now.
I do have chronic carpal tunnel. I wear braces when I go to bed and when I take a nap. My MD told me to take 2 Aleve twice a day, every day, but that is getting old and I'm a little nervous over what the long term results will be.
I have been taking a super B complex for a few months now, and that has really helped settle the CTS down, yet the tendonitis persists.
I've had tendonitis where I didn't even realize I had tendons. The Aleve (generic type) did help that, but the hand thing is driving me nuts. Sometimes it's just one finger, other times, it's my thumb.
Any doctor-mom's out there have advice? I feel kinda useless if I can't do anything because of my hand(s) hurting.
Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.
You are not alone here. I have had some kind of tendonitis in my left wrist ongoing for years now. I get that same TWANG feeling and it's not enjoyable one bit.
I would give the Aleve a break at least once or twice a week and maybe go a week without taking it here and there. OTC meds are scary and so many peoplethink ibuprofen and acetaminophen are harmless. It is the opposite in fact.
If I was going to take some kind of painkiller for some annoying pains, it would at least be some kind of opiate. I'd rather catch a buzz if I was going to destroy my liver.
Try stretching your hand out slowly but steadily. Place your fingers on your leg or a table and fully bend your wrist backward putting even slow pressure on the tendons. This is a simple stretch that does help if done many times a day. My wrist is getting a little better.
Thanks Clinton, I think you're right, the stretching several times a day should help. I used to do it first thing in the morning, never was dillegent about doing it more often - duh. When I asked my MD about long term side effects of Aleve, his response was that we would deal with all that when it happened. That gave me a lot of confidence....agh. I did take it twice a day like I was supposed to, and it did help. But as soon as I quit taking it, it's back to square one.
This time of year, it's hauling firewood and loading the woodburners that keeps it flared up. In the other months it's gardening or hanging drywall, taping, etc (we're living in a construction zone). Of course, all these activities put a lot of strain/stress on those hands. I do work a bit, then rest, back to working. Takes me forever to do stuff, but if I do too much, I pay for it for a week or much longer.
I guess I was hoping someone would offer plant names that would be helpful for pain and inflamation, better yet, something that has helped them.
Opiates? So I should be harvesting some poppies?
Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.
See Leah's krill oil thread for discussion of high omega-3 oil sources that help with inflammation. I also explained using bromelain for inflammation in the middle there, which is truly excellent and safe. It even worked on my dog's hip dysplasia.
B vitamins are awesome at helping reduce inflammation - as you've discovered. But did you know that sugary foods reduce the B vitamins in your system? Even too much fruits/fruit sugar can deplete your B's.
American diets typically increase inflammation--of any kind. Flip a few things around, and your diet can actually help.
One last thing. I worked for a Naturopath who was primarily a physical medicine guy. He cured a gal's carpal tunnel by getting her shoulders unpinched. The musculo-skeletal tightness in her shoulders was preventing good circulation to the arms. It was just in the nick of time before they were about to do surgery!
Oh, speaking of that Doc, castor oil can help! It does penetrate the skin to reduce inflammation. And the Doc LOVED hot and cold hyrdo therapy for healing: 3 minutes hot, 30 seconds cold, repeat three times for one treatment. Can do 3-4 treatments a day if you have time. Use wet towels/rags as hot as you can tolerate, and ice water for the cold. Though applying hot on something REALLY inflamed can make it worse. Use your own judgment.
Controlling inflammation is one strategy to reduce tendonitis and arthritis.
There are some herbs that can strengthen or stabilize collagen. Grape seed extract, maritime pine bark, gotu kola, Eucommia and others come to mind.
Another strategy is to improve proprioception. This includes awareness of the body and the ability of different muscle groups (and tendons and joints) to work together gracefully. People tend to lose this awareness, and the result is imbalance and rapid wear and tear on some components. Yoga, mindful stretching, tai-chi, and other activities are good for this. Ordinary physical therapy can be damaging if one is not mindful and one forces their way through the exercises just to get it over with - or it can be very beneficial if done in the right way.
Certain types of massage are also beneficial if one get myofascial trigger points. These are basically knots in the muscle, and they can generate very real pain (sometimes in unexpected places some distance from the affected muscle because nerves are not always the way we would guess). When one muscle gets a knot (or there is pain for another reason), we tend to avoid putting a normal load on that muscle. That overburdens another muscle, which also knots up. Even if trigger points were not the original cause of tendonitis or some other condition, if there is regular pain, a person tends to protect some muscles and over-use others, which creates a muscular issue in addition to the tendon issue.
Here is an overview of from one inexpensive book designed to help people do their own therapeutic massage. I have found this approach to be very useful on frozen shoulder, back issues, and knee osteoarthritis.
If you have ANY trans fats in your diet, cut them out! They have the ability to aggravate just about any condition.
Every cell in your body has a membrane around it (phospholipid bilayer) which is 98% fat. There's literally little legs made of fat pointing at each other. Each 'leg' bends a tad- tans fats (aka hydrogenated fats) straighten those legs out. If you interlock your fingers, bent a bit, then straighten them.... you'll see an expansion of the area your fingers cover, and more space between your fingers. Thus you have a bit of a visual on how trans fats cause inflammation (expansion, really). Imagine that expansion multiplied on millions of cells in a group of tissues.
We learned the lesson on trans fats through our son. He has a skin nerve that tends to over communicate. It's called the Meissner's corpuscle. It's for light touch & vibration. Long story short, he felt like he had a 2nd or 3rd degree sunburn, head to toe, from age 2 till nearly 5. Sometimes his nerves would shut off, so he was OK, thus it took awhile to figure it all out. He was handicapped- in so much pain he could not develop mentally. He was bottom 2% cognitive and 20 months delayed at age 4 1/2. We took him off trans fats (I read labels looking for the evil 'hydrogenated' word) and put him onto Omega 3,6,9 - good quality ones. It cured his skin sensitivity- and mine. It's genetic It takes up to 6 months for the body to slowly pluck the trans fats out of the cell walls- but for us, it takes a single dose of 2 grams (one Pillsbury roll) to trigger pain the next day. Most of my fibro myaligia went away as I eliminated trans fats. We even talk with kitchen managers before sitting in a restaurant and make them check fry oil ingredients on the boxes. If this is your issue also, you do have to be very diligent about it.
I hope I explained it in a way that lets you see how trans fats can damage really any cell- but if it's already weak, it blows the problem into the stratosphere. The advise another person gave about krill oil makes sense once you know all this- simply give the cell the building blocks it needs, and all too often they will start to function right.
My son is cured by the way- though he still has some anger issues from the trauma. We found that hormones in milk was the final step, and his 3-8 tantrums a day at age 7 are now gone. He is gifted now, after hundreds of hours of working with him. I don't trust the FDA! My son has no medical issues....until he eats poisons in our food. I hope what we learned will help you.
I agree with the comfrey. I use it on many bruises, skin problems, joint pain, tendinitis, tired muscles, sprains, injuries.
Also, I recently had an injury to my wrist. I believe it was a "doing something to injure my wrist over and over". Since the "something" was from work, there was little I could do to stop this motion. I was using a manual dough cutter for donut production. I am just too short to get the needed leverage to cleanly pull the lever and cut the dough the whole way through. Needless to say, after about 3 months the pain was pretty constant. Even when my wrist was still I was in pain. I read in a book about carpal tunnel and St. John's Wort EO. I really couldn't afford the EO, but my local health food store had St. John's Wort infused olive oil at a much lower price. I simply used the oil, on my wrist five or six times a day. I rubbed it in and rubbed my skin to make friction to warm the oil and the skin for better absorption. Within two days the pain was lessened and I would say within five it was completely gone. I also wore a wrist brace to sleep to keep myself from laying on my wrist or twisting it in my sleep (deep sleeper). $12 seemed expensive when I bought the little 1 ounce bottle, but after I used it and I am STILL pain free I think it was quite cheap.
I now have St. John's Wort seeds to grow this year!! I am going to make my own oil and save even the $12.
.......it does have a distinct, unpleasant smell..........
Always put your eggs in one basket.........why would you carry two?
Wow! I learned a lot from this thread. Fats in the diet are important. Back in the 70's they started the warnings about transfats because of the link to heart disease. Later research is showing that inflamation is a major cause of heart disease. As ReDeana knows, it causes other problems too. A major cause of inflammation is an imbalance in the ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3. A hunter-gatherer (read natural) diet has a ratio of 2 or 3 to one. Our modern diet runs 10 or 20 to one. What to do? Cut back on dietary sources of Omega 6 and ramp up intake of Omega 3. Switch from soybean oil to canola oil. Olive oil is good too...not so much Omega 3, but lots of monounsaturaed fats. Increase plant intake, especially leafy greens. Avoid white flour and sugar. Eat whole grains. Fish is good, if you like it. If not, go a little farther down the food chain and add seaweed to your diet.
So now you have balanced your fat profile, what else can you do about inflammation? Anthocyanins are powerful antiinflammatories, and the best part is they are in some of your favorite foods. Grapes, cherries, strawberries, watermelon, blueberries, red cabbage, purple eggplant... fruits and veggies that have red, blue, or purple color that is changed by acid or alkaline. We put a bit of lemon juice or vinegar with red cabbage when we cook it to keep the color bright. Try rubbing a cut strawberry in baking soda. Blue! Anthocyanins are water soluble, so if you cook your fruit, eat the juice too. Go looking for other foods that are red or black. Kidney beans, black beans, and black rice all have anthocyanins. I keep a grape/black cherry juice blend on hand and drink four ounces twice a day. Skip my juice, and bingo! My hands hurt. A note: tomatoes have lots of good phytochemicals, but not anthocyanins. Research is just beginning to get into phytochemicals, but if you remember that the more color a food has, the more nutrition it is likely to have you can't go wrong.
If I stay away from processed sugars and grains mine stays at manageable levels. Try making some broth using Sally Fallons recipe in Nourishing Traditions but use wild game or local organic. Make it with as much connective tissue as you can get and cut the bones to get the marrow.
Many tendon issues are occupational in origin. One of the worst things you can do for your tendons is to seriously yank on something that doesn't budge. I have torn down about 250 buildings by hand and have learned to use more fluid motion and less static straining. This has increased my production and my tendons and joints feel better now than they did 10 years ago. Heavy equipment mechanics, farmers and those in construction often injure themselves by trying to move immovable objects.
The most preventable tendon and joint issues are those caused by women's dress shoes which have little relation to the shape of the human foot . A podiatrist who I spoke to told me that shortening of the Achilles tendon and injury to the big toe joint are common amongst girls who wear high heels. When these shoes are worn constantly the big toe joint takes a beating while the heel which is designed for this impact is just along for the ride.
Our tendons are made of protein. I live in the spot where every second teenager goes vegetarian and many of them have had joint and tendon issues when they failed to eat adequate amounts of protein.
Tendon problems are hard to treat because they are fairly inaccessible to the blood supply. Thus whatever herbs or medicines you take to treat tendons, ends up floating right by them. There have been some good suggestions, like naproxen sodium as an anti-inflamatory and, omega-3's to diminish the cell wall's iritability under prostaglandins. Accupuncture can be particularly good at this sort of thing, but then finding a good accupuncturist is a chore. If you're lucky enough to live in a place with a large Chinese population, find someone old at a desk in the back of a store. Young American people tend to be really atrocious practitioners of TCM. Then, let's not forget the value of topical arnica tincture or salve, perhaps along with counter-irritants like ginger or chile. And of course local heat, say from a heating pad. More heat, means more cell activity and more circulation. 15 minutes of warm two or three times a day can do wonders.
Hello Marianne and others suffering from similar problems. The information that has been offered I hope has helped. My personal experience leads me to suggest good chiropractic care (can be hard to find) and regular stretching. Hold the stretches longer to effect tendons. A good stretch for the forearms and hands is to lay down on the ground, face down, and place your arms under your body, extended towards your feet, with palms on the ground. Also inflammation can be a result of not being grounded. Spend as much time as possible walking bare foot on the earth also known as (ground).
I was just looking up tendonitis in my new book on "Home Remedies." It's great- had polled people for what worked for them and then looked for medical reasons. First and foremost is ice reduces inflamation, heat gets circulation going. When the swelling first happens, ice will help. About 24 hours later, do NOT use ice. Get circulation up and blood moving with heat. I have tendonosis in my patelar tendon and was told by my accupuncturist/Chinese medicine doctor to use hot ginger compresses. I couple this with massage and exercising the surrounding muscles without affecting the tendon. Given the degree of pain, and activity level I can handle, sometimes I will stretch. If I am going to really exercise, stretching before and after is VERY important. Physical therapy suggests after exercise icing.
The book also lists alfalfa as having a mild asprin affect and would also help.
There is also a cure listed called "Jogging in a Jug" that is supposedly applecider vinegar and apple/grape juice. The creator of this cure says the best results are when you drink 2 ounces every 24 hours. Aparently inflamed tissue is more alkaline/basic and so the acetic acid might help tilt your pH to reduce the inflamation. This makes me think that working the adjacent muscles out anaerobically may also cause acid release in your body too...
For muscle, joint, or nerve pain I have found nothing that works better for me than Traumeel. You can get it at most natural grocers or health shops. It isn't greasy, absorbs quick, has no medicine smell and work Fast! Read the label to make certain that you are not allergic to any of the ingredients.
Though my mother swears by cabbage leaves as a compress.
i can't recommend highly enough the NOW vitamin Glucosamine/MSM LOTION. It only takes a peas sized dollop, and goes right where you need it. Takes nearly a week to work itself down thru the skin, but by then , i only need to use it 2-3 times a week.
It is the only thing that seems to help my back, rotator cups, and plantar.
cheap, tho you may have to have your local health food store order it. most of them carry some NOW stuff.
Since it is a topical lotion, it doesn't throw off your G.I. tract like caps do.
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Naproxin Sodium,Alleve, is drying on every joint in the body and can cause wear. Lowering the body weight will reduce hydrolic pressure on tendons, veins, arteries and lymphatics, and reduce pain. Exercise will lube the joints, tendons and release pain inhibitors.
Tendonitis or inflammation of the tendon can be caused by lack of proper nutrition. This is the place to start. It is a very big subject, but basically get back to the basics. Do not eat any processed foods. Eat real food. Eat lots of fish and other seafood, pastured non pasteurized dairy and meat grown on healthy soil, healthy fats (as mentioned - no trans fats), fruits, veggies, legumes, soaked, sprouted whole grains and nuts and sea vegetables (such as kelp). Keep your diet colorful and varied and eat lots of greens and raw food as much as possible.
Some specific activities to help with tendonitis and carpel tunnel specifically is as follows:
The use of pyridoxine and riboflavin are usually helpful with carpel tunnel which you are already doing by taking your B complex.
Ruta homeopathic - specific for ligament and tendon injury.
Herbal oil massage over the area with st. John's wort(Hypericum) being great for inflammation and nerve irritation in the area while another to consider would be rue (ruta) oil which is specific to tendons and ligament damage.
You can also use anti-inflammatory herbs in general if you wish. They work in different ways and so you would want to look into those that are more specific for you.This will take some investigation on your part. I will highlight some I think you may want to read about. A long list of possibilities would include:
• Birch (Betula spp.)
• Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) • Black haw (Viburnum prunifolium)
• Blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)
• Bog bean (Menyanthes trifoliata)
• Borage ( Borago officinalis)
• Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
• Cayenne (Capsicum spp.)
• Celery Seed (Apium graveolens)
• Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) • Chickweed (Stellaria media)
• Cleavers (Galium aparine)
• Comfrey (Symphytum officinalis)
• Corn silk (Zea mays)
• Cramp bark (Viburnum opulus)
• Cranesbill (Geranium maculatum)
• Devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens)
• Dill (Anethum graveolens)
• Elder (Sambucus spp.)
• Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
• Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)
• Hawthorne (Crataegus spp.)
• Horse chestnut (Aesculus hipposcastanum) - this can be toxic so I don't suggest you using it without trained help.
• Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)
• Iceland moss (Cetraria islandia)
• Irish moss (Chondrus crispus)
• Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla xanthoclora)
• Lavender (Lavandula spp.)
• Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) a great herb but read the contraindications I will list at the end of this post
• Linden (Tillia spp.)
• Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis)
• Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) • Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)
• Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
• Plantain (Plantago spp.)
• Poplar (Populus spp.)
• Sage (Salvia officinalis)
• Saint John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) This herb can interact with drugs that are processed through the cytochrome p450 system
• Shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)
• Slippery elm (Ulmus spp.)
• Turmeric (Curcuma longa) • Wild yam (Dioscorea villosa)
• Willow (Salix spp.) • Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)
• Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
• Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
• Yucca (Yucca spp.)
Hydrotherapy for the inflicted area. Here are general alternating hydrotherapy directions. You can use any container that your whole hand can fit into.
ALTERNATING HYDROTHERAPY BATH This bath is used to stimulate the blood and lymph circulation in a designated area. It needs to be done daily but can be done more often.
• 2 tubs or containers.
1. Fill one tub with hot water. (Real hot but don't burn yourself.)
2. Fill one tub with cold water. (Can use ice to get cold enough.)
3. Alternate between the two tubs.
4. Soak the affected body area in the hot tub for three minutes and the cold tub for 30 seconds.
5. Alternate back and forth between hot and cold for a series of 3 alternations.
6. Always end with the cold bath.
Hot - 3 minutes, cold - 30 seconds.
Hot - 3 minutes, cold - 30 seconds.
Hot - 3 minutes, cold - 30 seconds.
Keep the person warm and relaxed after the treatment.
Using a brace when working can be helpful.
Manipulation - see a chiropracter, naturopath for manual manipulation
Accupuncture or accupressure helps some
Stretching for carpel tunnel is helpful before work that involves your wrists.
It can be done by flexing the wrists and fists with the arms extended for five minutes.
If you are involved in repetitive work these things will only be palliative as you keep injuring the area.
The contraindications I promised on licorice are as follows: Licorice is contraindicated in high blood pressure, heart failure, left ventricular hypertrophy, kidney disease, liver cirrhosis and cholestatic liver disorders. The contraindication in liver stasis disease is due to choleretic action, although this action is minimal in comparison with other choleretic herbs. Chronic licorice use mimics aldosteronism by increasing sodium resorption and potassium excretion by the kidneys. This action is due to glycyrrhizic acid content. De-glycyrrhinized licorice has been investigated for its clinical use and safety. Its use has been controversial. There is 2-9% glycyrrhizin in licorice root. The de-glycyrrhinized root extract has a maximum of 3% glycyrrhizin (glycyrrhizic acid) in it.
The toxic symptoms are hypertension, edema, hypokalemia, vertigo and headache. This ceases when it is withdrawn or by concurrent use of antialdosterone agents. Doses of 3 or more grams a day should not be taken for more than 6 weeks unless monitored under the guidance of a qualified health care practitioner. Elderly people are more prone to pseudoaldosteronism due to a greater increase of glycyrrhetinic acid levels from increased production by their gut bacterial enzymes on glycyrrhizic acid. Licorice potentiates the activity of anthraquinone drugs or herbs containing anthraquinones, like cascara and buckthorn, by increasing the wettability of the bowel contents because of the high surfactant activity of glycyrrhizin. It also potentiates the toxicity of cardiac glycosides like digitalis due to potassium loss in the urine. There may also be an additive effect with thiazide diuretics. When used with corticoid treatment, glycyrrhizic acid interferes with delta 4, 5 beta-reductase breakdown of corticosteroids, thus prolonging its biological half-life. When someone discontinues the use of licorice after consuming it over a long period of time, they should withdraw from it slowly, unless they are discontinuing it due to side effects. In the case of dangerous side effects, they should immediately withdraw from its use.
May You Walk in Beauty,
Sharol Tilgner ND
Sharol's books available at website
My husband suffers from tendonitis in his elbows. Whenever he has a flare up we wrap his elbows with Quark, in the evening while he is sitting still. Keep it on for about 20 to 30 minutes. This does wonders for him. He also started to drink a glass of water mixed with one teaspoon of baking soda per day since about a week and is absolutely amazed how this got rid of the pain in his muscles and tendons.
A lot of good advice here, but what I see missing is the reason people begin to have joint problems in the first place, and that is lack of nutrients in the diet that build up bones, joints and tendons. Back in the good old days, people made soups from bones, and all that good cartilage and gelatin around the bones and feet made it into the diet. That doesn't happen much today, and usually takes special effort when it does. Also missing are the "slimy" vegetables like okra, nopales, christophene and a few others. Seeds like flax and chia also have that mucilaginous character when soaking.... this is very important nutritionally. Joint problems will heal if given the proper diet. Go to the butcher shop, buy a big bag of bones, and make bone broth!
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