Sports activities, sudden strenuous movements and old age are all circumstances where a tendinitis injury can happen. Tendons are the structures that attach muscle to bone, and play an essential role in the body's movement and flexibility. Alternative treatments for tendinitis involve massage-pressure techniques that can be used to relieve tendinitis pain.
Tendinitis, also often spelt tendinitis, is a condition in which a tendon has developed small tears as a result of overuse or strain. These tears become irritated and begin to swell causing the pain associated with this condition. Tendons are made up of tightly woven collagen fibres that form strong bands. They work as connectors between muscle and bone, and transfer much of the stress and momentum when the body moves from one position to another. Tendons are present in the shoulders, knees, ankles wrists, biceps, calves and backs of the heels. Pressure treatments for tendinitis involve manipulating the affected area, and nearby muscles.
Reflexology, also known as zone therapy, is an alternative healing practice that uses the feet, hands and ears to alleviate discomfort in various areas of the body. The feet, hands and ears are believed to contain a map of the entire body. By manipulating certain areas on the feet, hands or ears, energy blockages are cleared, allowing what is called the life energy, or Qi energy to move through and heal an injured area. For individuals who have tendinitis in their heel, pressure would be applied to the area on the hand that corresponds with that part of the foot. In addition to enhancing energy flow, reflexology releases endorphins--the body's natural pain killers--which also work to relieve tendinitis pain. As of yet, there is no scientific evidence available to verify the effects of reflexology.
Acupressure and Acupuncture
Acupressure and acupuncture are alternative treatment methods based on Chinese medicine. Both methods work with identified pressure points located throughout the body. These pressure points are believed to regulate meridian pathways, or energy pathways. By applying pressure, blocked pathways are opened, allowing healing energy to reach injured areas. Using acupressure, tendinitis is relieved by applying physical pressure to nearby points using the hand, fingers or elbow. With acupuncture, needles are inserted along meridian pathways. And while acupressure is, as of yet, unproven in its effectiveness, studies have been done to determine acupuncture's effects on the body. The Cochrane Field of Rehabilitation and Related Therapies conducted a comprehensive review on all studies done related to acupuncture up to May 2005. No conclusive findings were made due to conflicting study results and insufficient data.
Transverse Friction Massage
Traverse friction massage--also known as Cyriax massage--is a technique used within sports medicine to relieve pain associated with muscle and joint strains, or injuries. The method is designed to stimulate blood flow within the affected area and prevent tendons and ligaments from developing scar tissue in areas where tears have occurred. It's a form of pressure applied through deep massage stokes at the site where pain is present. Massage strokes are done in short sweeping motions across the tendon using the fingers. These sweeping motions work to relieve tendinitis pain by maintaining tendon mobility and restoring normal function.
The strain-counterstrain technique is another sports massage method used to treat musculoskeletal spasms and pain. This technique works by applying pressure to identified tender spots that develop because of repetitive motions or strains imposed on the joints. Tender points are said to result from unnatural movements that move the tendon and joint outside of their comfort range of mobility. This massage method is designed to move the joint through its mobility range, and allow it to reset its muscle-tendon-bone coordination so tension levels return to normal. Tendinitis relief occurs once natural movement ranges are restored.
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