Massage Therapy for Tendonitis
Tendonitis (also called tendinitis) is the infinitesimal tearing of the tendon fascicles due to overuse of the tendon resulting in inflammation and irritation, thereby causing pain in the affected area. Tendon is a thick cord of fibrous tissue that attaches muscles to bones. Various names given to tendonitis problems are: wrist tendonitis, Achilles tendonitis, posterior tibial tendonitis, patellar (kneecap) tendonitis, rotator cuff tendonitis, tennis elbow (lateral epycondilitis), golfer's elbow, pitcher's shoulder (jumper's knee) and swimmer's shoulder.
Tendonitis could be caused by gardening, raking, carpentry, shovelling, painting, scrubbing, sports, incorrect exercising, injury, rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes, thermal injury (mountain or rock climbing), ageing, knee surgery or anatomically (realignment of the tendon by surgery). Symptoms for tendonitis are tenderness, pain, burning sensation, redness, lumpiness on tendon sheaths, adhesive capsulitis‚ or frozen shoulder, or swelling of the tendon.
Treatments for tendonitis are rest, icing, discontinuation of heavy activities and application of anti-inflammatory medicines; surgery being the last alternative. Massage therapy is also becoming extremely common as a cure for tendonitis. It can be applied by working on the injured fibres back and forth (not up and down).
Massage should not be given until 48 hours after the injury, or if the tissues are swollen or noticeably inflamed. A self massage therapy for tendonitis is friction massage therapy. It is used in injuries caused on shoulder, elbow, back of the heel or thumb-side of the wrist. In this therapy strokes (back and forth) are applied perpendicular to the injury using gentle pressures with fingers and thumb. Studies have shown that friction massage stimulates the production of collagen in damaged tendon fibres, thereby healing the injured part rapidly. Trigger points in the forearm can be massaged to reduce an injury of tendonitis on the wrist.
Another massage therapy for tendonitis is known as DTFM, or deep transverse friction massage (also known as cyriax massage). Here, the fingers are used to make short back and forth motions around the injured area but do not slide over it. This helps in restoring mobility by moving across a ligament and mobilizing it. The active release technique is a patented soft tissue management treatment in which adhesions and scarred tissues are repaired. This is done by a practitioner with specific vigorous movements by the injured to liberate the connected tissue.
Sports massage therapy is ideal for Achilles tendonitis. It helps in breaking the scarred tissue resulting in a blood flow thereby healing and aiding in stretching of calf muscles. Calf massage therapy can be used to stretch and relax the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles thereby healing the aching heel. To cure an Achilles tendonitis massage therapies such as transverse mobilization (alternate finger and thumb to apply transverse pressure), effleurage (applying pressure from the heel to the knee), stripping the Achilles tendon (applying sustained pressure), cross frictions (applying pressure in a transverse direction) and circular frictions (applying pressure in a circular direction) can be used.
Massage therapies can decrease swelling, foster blood circulation and avert the development of adhesions. It is best to choose a massage therapist who possess the qualifications or experience with curing tendonitis.