Friday, 3 December 2010

How Massage Therapy Can Help Heal Tendinitis and Tendinosis

In 20 years of practicing therapeutic massage in Gainesville Florida, I've had many clients come to me suffering from joint pains they believe are tendinitis or bursitis, and that they hope are not due to arthritis. Simple assessment techniques help me to evaluate which tissues are injured or causing pain and which treatment approaches can help my clients.

Tendinitis and tendinosis are dysfunctions of tendons, which are the crucial structures in our bodies that connect our muscles to our bones. Tendons must be tough enough to withstand our strongest muscle contractions, and flexible enough to allow the numerous movements that are part of our daily life. Our tendons will stay strong and elastic if we have good circulation, nutrition, hydration, exercise and rest.

A healthy tendon can tear in extreme situations when a sudden force overpowers it. This trauma can be suffered by anyone in the course of their daily life. What happens in this case is that the tear causes inflammation and pain (tendinitis), and scar tissue forms as the healing process continues.

In contrast, tendinosis is the result of a much more common scenario when repetitive strain and chronic overuse cause a breakdown within the integrity of the tendon on a molecular level. This derangement of the tendon tends to occur without inflammation (Lowe, 2006, p. 10 and Hendrickson, 2009, p.20), and as a result, the healing process cannot take place. The science and art of orthopedic massage will initiate a renewed healing process in your body for both tendinitis and tendinosis.

Effective orthopedic massage consists of five crucial elements that include accurately identifying the compromised tissue using skilled orthopedic evaluation and using different techniques that will help the injury to heal. Treatment is most effective when combined with targeted stretches (creating elasticity in the healing tissue) and rehabilitative exercises (creating strength in the healing tissues). A strong elastic scar or remodeled tendon will be much more functional, and much less likely to be re-injured.

Optimal healing of tendinitis or tendinosis requires that the client practice self-care between massage sessions. Besides proper directed exercises for the specific site of injury, clients are instructed to eat well, hydrate, and rest well.

When dealing with tendinosis or tendinitis, your body is experiencing a stressor. You may be emotionally stressed from the pain. Orthopedic treatment of the injuries can reduce the stress of the injury site. Caring for areas of tension felt in your body during the remaining time in an hour massage session will further reduce the stress felt in your body and allow complete healing to take place.

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