Tendonitis – a painful inflammation of the tendons that connect your muscles to your bones – is a painful condition that can affect people at any age. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to promote tendon repair.
What You Don’t Need To Do
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to take Vitamin C or Manganese supplements to heal chronic tendonitis. There’s a good reason for this – your body thinks the tendons are important, so they get priority for the use of certain substances. Vitamin C and manganese deficiencies are relatively rare these days – as long as you have a reasonably healthy diet, you should get all you need of both.
Instead, consider the following substances.
Supplement #1: Omega-3 Fish Oils
Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely effective at promoting the healing of wounds, reducing swelling, and regulating immune responses. This is vital to dealing with chronic tendonitis because swelling and sickness can slow the rate of repair.
Most people should try to consume about four grams (4000 milligrams) of omega-3 fatty acids per-day. These supplements typically come in 1000 mg pills, though larger versions are available.
Supplement #2: Bromelain
Bromelain is a protein-digesting mixture of enzymes found in pineapples. Also, these chemicals – through the consumption of pineapple – have also been used to treat indigestion and help reduce the inflammation caused by injuries and infections. This can show how to heal a torn meniscus naturally.
In addition to the anti-inflammatory properties, bromelain is associated with a reduction in pain. It’s not on the same level as a painkiller, but it may help with the aches caused by tendonitis.
This substance is best when taken as a supplement since it’s not naturally present in adequately medicinal doses. A common dose for helping with injuries is taking 500 mg of bromelain four times per day, usually on an empty stomach.
Most doctors do not recommend using bromelain for more than ten days in a row. If your tendon needs surgical repair, you should not take bromelain for two weeks before surgery, and you should not take it afterward until cleared by your doctor or surgeon.
Supplement #3: MSM
MSM, or methylsulfonylmethane, is a naturally-occurring chemical associated with collagen production, improved flexibility, detoxification, an accelerated healing process, increased levels of energy, and a reduction in inflammation.
However, the most important benefit for tendon repair is the presence of sulfur. Sulfur is present in many different natural foods, but it’s usually removed during the cooking process – and that’s bad. Sulfur is required for the proper functioning of tendons, and it may also help to treat aching muscles.
A common dose for MSM is 500-1000 milligrams three times per day. This supplement is still being studied, so the optimal dose is not yet known. Fortunately, this supplement isn’t known to have any significant interactions with any medications, herbs, supplements, or foods – but as always, you should talk to your doctor before you start using it.
Supplement #4: Essential Oils
Essential oils – especially those derived from herbs – have a wide variety of demonstrated effects on the human body. Peppermint, frankincense, and cypress oils are particularly helpful for dealing with tendonitis in the shoulder and other joint regions. Two drops of each oil mixed with half a teaspoon of coconut oil, applied several times a day via warm compress, can deliver then straight to the affected region.
Some people prefer to soak their body in a bath infused with essential oils. Doses vary based on the oils being used, but seven drops per-bath is a standard amount. This is a considerably smaller dose than a direct infusion from a compress and is more suitable for mild tendonitis than healing a torn tendon.
How Fast Will These Supplements Work?
Tendons don’t repair themselves very quickly – in fact, after the main regeneration process, it’s estimated that tendons could take a year or more to finish remodeling and reaching the correct shape. It’s not realistic to expect a serious tendon injury to heal in a month or two, regardless of the treatments used.
Tendonitis hand and body injuries – which involve inflammation, rather than tearing – heal much faster.
As such, any supplement used for healing the tendons will only show its true benefits over a long period. Depending on the severity of your injury, you may reduce the healing time by several weeks.
The other thing to keep in mind is that some supplements are recommended only for short-term use. Bromelain, for example, is only recommended for ten days in a row. If you’re planning to use any supplement, your doctor may recommend an on-off schedule (such as ten days on, one week off, and ten days on again) to help avoid potential overdoses. Always follow your doctor’s instructions when using supplements to promote tendon repair.
The doses recommended above are appropriate for most people, but some supplements may give different recommendations. Some may recommend that you take more (which may help deal with the loss of some nutrients during the digestive process), while others may recommend less. Talk to your doctor or a dietician about how much of a given product you should take each day.
Additionally, some supplements are not recommended for children. The human body changes as it grows and children may not be ready to process certain supplements. In other cases, studies have not been performed to determine the effectiveness of certain supplements on children. If your child is suffering from a damaged or inflamed tendon, talk to your pediatrician.
Finally, different substances may have side-effects. You should thoroughly research each supplement before using it.
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Is There Any Way To Prevent Tendonitis?
Anyone can develop tendonitis at any stage in life, so there’s not really anything drastic you can do to prevent it. That being said, being cautious when working out and making sure that you’re performing exercises correctly can go a long way toward avoiding tendon injuries.
If you’re picking up a new sport or exercise regimen after a long period of inactivity, a good idea is to reach out to a trainer who has the expertise to guide you during the initial phase. Ideally, you should gradually build up your activity level, strength, and endurance.
On the same note, never skip the warm-up session. Stretch muscles and tendons prior to any activity to avoid injury. Finally, don’t ignore pain. It’s your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Never push through it. Instead, take a break or schedule a rest day. If the pain persists, see your doctor to avoid making things worse.