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Tendonitis & Acupuncture

 

Tendonitis is an inflammation of the tendon or cord of fibrous tissue that attaches a muscle to a bone. It is often accompanied by tenosynovitis, which is an inflammation of the lining of the tendon sheath.

The symptoms of these conditions are pain and tenderness at or near a joint, especially upon movement of the joint; possible swelling over the area; and in some cases numbness and tingling. Stiffness, along with the pain can restrict movement of the joint involved. The most frequently affected joints are the shoulder, elbow (tennis elbow), wrist/hand and heel (Achilles tendonitis).

The exact cause of the inflammation is often unknown, but may result from repeated trauma, excessive strain or overuse of the tendon. For instance, irregular or too-strenuous exercise along with not warming up properly can make one prone to tendonitis -- the "weekend warrior" syndrome.

Repetitive strain injuries in the arm are most often related to the type of work that a person does-hair dressers, musicians, car mechanics, massage therapists, to name a few, and anyone who works for long, uninterrupted hours on a computer are predisposed to this type of overuse injury.

These causes can lead to what's called "local qi and blood congestion in the channels" according to traditional Chinese medicine or TCM. TCM, as you may know by now, includes acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Acupuncture needles are inserted at or very near to the source of the pain. This addresses the local symptoms by improving the circulation of qi and blood in the affected area.

Chinese herbs can reduce the inflammation in soft tissues and strengthen the tendons. In TCM, one of the functions of the liver is to control and moisten the tendons and ligaments. Therefore, healthy liver function is expressed in ease of movement. Acupuncture and herbs for tendonitis usually involve treating the liver also.

People with severe tendonitis may have to stop work that aggravates the condition, at least for a while. Less severe cases can be treated quite successfully with acupuncture and kept from becoming debilitating. Both acupuncture and Chinese herbs are extremely effective in treating tendinitis. Acupuncture, in particular, is the treatment of choice, giving excellent results in both acute and chronic cases. Acute cases can often be resolved in a few treatments. However, many people with this problem present with very chronic conditions. These cases can be treated with good results too, but the more long-standing the condition, the longer it will take to resolve.

Tendonitis is one of the most common afflictions and can especially affect us as we age, but it need not be inevitable. It is possible to take steps to minimize or prevent it altogether. As is often the case with many conditions, the two most important areas in life to attend to in order to prevent it are exercise and diet. Regular acupuncture "tune-ups" can also aid in preventing the development of tendonitis in the first place, as well as preventing a recurrence of tendonitis once it has been relieved.

Studies

In 1997, the National Institutes of Health reported that acupuncture may be an effective therapy for tennis elbow. In addition, two studies examining the effect of acupuncture on this and other types of Tendonitis have found that acupuncture provides better pain relief than placebo.

Acupuncturists report that patients with Tendonitis frequently exhibit a primary deficiency in the liver meridian, with a relative excess in the gallbladder meridian. In addition to needling treatment on the liver meridian and the supporting kidney meridian, treatments using moxibustion (a technique in which the herb mugwort is burned over specific acupuncture points) may also be included. Needling and/or moxibustion may also be directly applied to painful areas and related sore points.

Tendonitis (also spelled tendinitis) is an inflammation of a tendon. Generally tendonitis is referred to by the body part involved, such as Achillies tendonitis (inflammation of the Achilles tendon), or patellar tendonitis (jumper's knee; inflammation of the patellar tendon). Chronic overuse of tendons leads to microscopic tears within the collagen matrix, which gradually weakens the tissue. Tendonitis can also be associated with systemic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

 

 
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