The term ‘tendonitis’ refers to inflammation of a tendon. However, the term is often used inappropriately because there is not always inflammation despite the fact that there is pain. A better term would be tendonosis – meaning an abnormal condition of the tendon.
It could be due to over use. It could be due to a specific injury. Regardless, the shoulder hurts and it is due to something wrong with the tendon. So what do you do about it?
Tendonitis Treatment Options
Typical treatments of shoulder tendonitis include avoiding painful activities, ice or cold packs, anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), physical therapy, and surgery.
If you’ve been reading my posts on prolotherapy for shoulder injuries then you’ll recognize those therapies listed above as the staple therapy for most shoulder injuries. Sometimes these therapies work. However, I’m not a fan of steroid injections for these conditions and I only recommend surgery as a last resort.
I’ve discussed the importance of good ligament and tendon health many times. You may recall that these ligaments and tendons are very densely innervated with nerves. When these ligaments and tendons are damaged they become irritated which irritates the nerves within them which are very susceptible to pressure and stretching.
After an injury we should heal.
We have a healing mechanism. It is called inflammation. The inflammation produces a number of chemicals and responses that initiate the process of healing. However, this healing process is often incomplete depending on the person and the injury.
The healing is incomplete for a number of reasons but one of them is the poor circulation inherent in these ligaments and tendons. Under normal circumstances they do not need a good blood supply. They are not metabolically active even during exercise. They are like steel cables. They don’t require energy, at least not very much.
If they don’t heal well then the injury persists and so does the pain.
Your options are listed above. Or you could consider prolotherapy. In many cases it is your best option for shoulder tendonitis.
Our success rate for shoulder injuries, including shoulder tendonitis, is very high. In excess of 90%. Prolotherapy has an excellent track record for improving pain and function with very little potential for complications if it is done correctly.
The success rate is not 100% (though it is very high) but it is certainly worth a try when you consider the down time, deductibles, physical therapy time, risks, and so on.
What have you got to lose?
Call our office today so that we can evaluate your shoulder for tendonitis and see if prolotherapy is right for you!