Ask Dr. D.
Natural solutions for tendonitis trouble
Q: My doctor recently diagnosed me with tendonitis. He told me my only options are to take NSAIDs and do physical therapy. He also mentioned surgery as an option down the road. Are there any natural treatments I could take to help speed recovery?
A: First of all, kudos to your doctor for recognizing a tendon injury when he saw one. Too many doctors these days tend to misdiagnose tendon injuries as arthritis and write you a prescription for a drug like Celebrex. Then (surprise, surprise) the drugs don’t work, and your injury only gets progressively worse.
Second of all, forget the NSAIDs. Although anti-inflammatories could possibly control the pain for a while, evidence has shown that they can actually slow the healing process.
That brings us to physical therapy. As of right now, consistent PT is the best way to treat an overuse injury like tendonitis. I wish I could tell you there was a way to help speed up the process, but for now, consistent PT is your best bet.
Finally, you also need to determine what caused your tendonitis to begin with. Tendon damage can be caused by any kind of repetitive motion… like gardening, piano playing, knitting, golfing, scrubbing, even holding your cell phone—things you’ve been doing your entire life. Activities like these—ones that use chronic, repetitive motions—are likely to catch up to you eventually.
And if you continue to do them—and try to “push through the pain”—you’ll only aggravate the problem. Besides that, tendon damage could lead to all sorts of pains and problems down the road, so you’d do best to take care of it sooner than later.
Listen to your Doc, and do the PT. It might take longer than you’d like, but it’ll be your only shot at getting rid of the that irritating tennis elbow (or whatever it is that’s ailing you)—and getting back to enjoying a pain-free serve—no NSAIDs and no surgery necessary.
Serving an ace every time,
William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.