Natural health: Tendonitis

Q. I am 42 years of age, I have had recurrent problems with tendonitis for about 10 years.

It began shortly after the birth of my second child. It can affect my shoulders, arms, wrists, palms and fingers. It presents with pain, swelling, and stiffness, and can be debilitating at times, other times I can be relatively symptom free. It is exacerbated by gardening, painting, carrying bags and cleaning windows. I feel my strength is reduced in my arms. I have used arnica gel and NSAID gels and tablets during painful periods to some effect. I wonder if the suggestions you made recently for rheumatoid arthritis would also apply to me.

A. The suggestions I made recently regarding natural remedies for rheumatoid arthritis definitely apply. I mentioned therapeutic doses of vitamin C in particular this nutrient helps by reducing inflammation, but is also a crucial component in collagen formation. Healthy collagen levels are important to building and maintaining healthy connective tissue — ligaments, cartilage, tendons — and joints.

Tendonitis, inflammation and irritation of the tendons, occurs when the tendon fibres have begun to tear at a microscopic level. Repetitive motions are usually at the root of this problem, which is why the most commonly affected areas are the elbow, wrist, shoulder, knee, ankle, hip, biceps, leg, and Achilles.

The other supplements that I have recommended recently for similar issues are glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate. A combination which also includes MSM (Methyl Sulphonyl Methane) is even better. MSM is a naturally occurring form of organic sulphur which assists in the microscopic repair of body tissues, plus it helps to reduce inflammation.

Glucosamine sulphate will help with tendon repair, and chondroitin sulphate brings nutrients and fluids into the area to provide an optimal environment for healing. Solgar’s Extra Strength Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM tablets are ideal as they provide the appropriate dosages of each ingredient. Available from health stores where 60 tablets costs €46.53; you will need to take two tablets daily.

Remember that the healing process is often long and slow with tendonitis, since you are not only healing inflammation. If you need to use a topical pain relief, choose something that works by dilating the blood vessels, such as a heat balm. Ice packs or cooling balms restrict the blood vessels, which causes further stiffness in the tendons.

I often recommend Patrick Holford’s books and advice in this column, as I find his approach to be well balanced. At present, Holford, pictured, is offering a free four-week trial to volunteers interested in losing weight and improving energy levels. Patrick Holford’s Zest4life Nutrition and Weightloss team are looking for volunteers to receive motivational weight-loss coaching while following Holford’s Low GL (Glycaemic Load) Weight Loss Programme. The results from this programme will be used as part of a national study on weight-loss, energy improvement and motivation.

Trials will be running shortly in Limerick, so if you (or somebody you know) are interested in applying, then send an email, including your name, phone number and state that you are specifically interested in the Limerick trial group.

* To qualify for this trial you will need to: Have a minimum of 10lbs excess weight to lose and have an interest in improving nutrition to benefit health.


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