Alternative Therapies for Tendonitis

Tendons attach muscles to bones.  Tendonitis is when these thick, fibrous cords get irritated or inflamed (WebMD).  It is caused by doing repetitive activities such as tennis or gardening.  The risk of a tendon tear increases with age.  Tendonitis is most common in the base of the thumb, elbow, shoulder, hip, knee, and Achilles’ tendon (WebMD).

When most people have pain, the first thing that they want to do is take an anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen.  However, there are alternatives to taking medicine.    When you have painful joints, you should first apply ice followed by heat.  Apply an ice pack for 10 to 20 minutes every 4 hours.  “Keep icing for three days, or until the joint no longer feels warm or appears swollen” (National Geographic). Then, start alternating between cold and warm compresses.  Always makes sure to end with a cold application such as an ice pack.

Ginger works well as an anti-inflammatory when used as a compress.  You will need 2 tablespoons of chopped, fresh ginger.  Add it to 3 cups of boiled water, steep for 20 minutes, and strain.  Use a washcloth to soak in the mixture, wring it out, and place over the sore joint for five minutes.  Repeat this process three to four times per day (National Geographic).

Arnica salve or gel also works well. It is widely used in Europe for inflammation and swelling.  You can find it at most health food stores (National Geographic).  Turmeric powder is a yellow “curry spice” that is often used in Indian dishes.  It contains curcumin, a substance which reduces “inflammation and joint pain and stiffness” (National Geographic). A simple way to use it as an antidote is to add a teaspoon of it to warm milk.  You should only drink this once or twice daily (National Geographic).  Turmeric is also available in capsules.

Capsaicin ointment is also good for tendonitis.  “Capsaicin is the substance that gives hot peppers their heat” (National Geographic).  Icy Hot Arthritis Therapy, Sportsmed, and Rid-A -Pain are examples of brand names that contains capsaicin (Mayo Clinic).

Lastly, massage therapy is always beneficial.  A mixture of lavender, thyme, or eucalyptus oil and a teaspoon of sweet almond oil massaged into joints several times a day should help them to heal.

The use of one or more of these alternative therapies along with rest should reduce the symptoms of tendonitis.  It is advisable to avoid too much stress on sore joints.  Once the pain and swelling have subsided, you may return to your usual activities.

Works Cited


Capsaicin (Topical Route).

White, Linda B.  “Foods That Heal”.  Washington:  National Geographic, 2012. Print.

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