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Ways to Treat Bicep Tendonitis Pain

by Patty Weasler, RN May 28, 2020 0 Comments

Get started with bicep tendonitis treatment in the comfort of your own home with treatments like ice, heat, braces, and massage. If home remedies are not enough then it’s time to seek professional medical help from your doctor or physical therapist. Take a look below to learn more about the types of treatments available and how they can help you get better, faster.

Home Remedies

There are multiple home remedies that can successfully treat biceps tendinitis. With options like ice, stretching, and braces you can easily manage your shoulder pain at home.

  • Ice and Heat

    Using ice and heat is an easy, inexpensive way to manage inflammation of the tendon. Icing your upper arm will numb the pain and reduce swelling whereas heat soothes sore muscles and encourages healing.

    Start with icing your injury for 20-minute intervals with an ice pack. After the initial injury phase has passed you can start incorporating heat into your treatment plan. It’s important to avoid using heat immediately after an injury because it can actually increase swelling. But when used a few days after an injury, heat can bring in more oxygen and nutrients to the injury site and improve healing time.

  • Stretches and Exercises

    Stretching and exercising your bicep and surrounding shoulder joint can help improve your range of motion and strengthen muscle. Since bicep tendonitis is typically an overuse injury from repetitive motions you won’t want to start exercising and stretching right away.

    Once you’re ready to start stretching and exercising check out this article to learn more about bicep tendonitis exercises and stretches

  • Medications

    The are multiple over-the-counter medications that treat bicep tendonitis. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxen are two options that help minimize pain and swelling. Combine these medications with other home remedies for the best outcome and as always, talk to your doctor or pharmacist before you start a new medication.

  • Taping

    Kinesiology tape is a type of athletic tape that has a slight stretch and can remain on the site for multiple days. The tape supports joints to allow them to heal without restricting their range of motion. It’s a safe and effective way to treat your shoulder problems without the use of medication or surgery.

    To learn more about bicep tendonitis taping check out this article.

  • Braces

    A brace can support your joint and serve as a reminder to be cautious with your movements. There are many types of braces on the market and you will want to look for one that serves your needs. Some braces completely immobilize the joint while others allow plenty of movement. A compression arm sleeve is a type of brace and allows plenty of movement and supports your joint.

  • Massage

    Massage can be an effective treatment, particularly when it’s combined with another therapy. Massage encourages blood flow to the injury site, soothes soreness, and provides an overall sense of well-being.

  • Friction Self-Massage

    Friction self-massage increases blood circulation to the area and releases tightness. It works especially well in bicep tendonitis because it can release adhesions that have developed around the joint. To do friction self-massage apply deep pressure to the injury and move your finger to release tension.

  • TENS Therapy

    Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) units are small devices that use adhesive patches to send electrical impulses to reduce pain. A TENS unit interrupts the pain signal the runs from the injury to the brain giving temporary, medication-free pain relief. These small devices are portable and can be worn discreetly under clothing. Try using a TENS unit in conjunction with another home remedy for the best treatment outcomes.

Professional Treatment

Sometimes home remedies aren’t enough to treat shoulder injuries like bicep tendonitis. Here are the ways professional treatment can help manage your injury and get you back to doing all the activities you enjoy.

  • Physical Therapy

    Physical therapists are professionally trained to treat shoulder injuries like biceps tendonitis. A typical physical therapy session will involve an evaluation of your injury and medical advice on how to properly treat it. Some of their treatment suggestions can be exercise, stretching, braces, or rest. You will likely be sent home with a list of home treatments that they recommend for your biceps tendon injury.

  • Cortisone Shots

    Steroid injections, also known as cortisone shots, use a powerful steroid medication that is injected directly into the injury site. These injections are done in a doctor’s office and provide quick pain relief. There are some side effects and limitations to cortisone shots that your doctor should discuss with you before you receive one.

  • Platelet-Rich Plasma

    Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is a treatment that uses the patient’s own blood to improve healing time. For this procedure, the patient will have blood drawn and the platelets are separated from the red blood cells in a special machine. The platelet-rich plasma is then injected into the injury site so that the platelets can release growth factors to improve healing time.

  • Surgery

    Biceps surgery is reserved for the most severe cases. The two most common types of surgical repairs are tenodesis and tenotomy.

    Biceps Tenodesis

    Biceps tenodesis is when the injured part of the bicep is surgically removed and the remaining tendon is reattached to the humerus bone. This surgical procedure will eliminate pain and return normal joint function again.

    Biceps Tenotomy

    Biceps tenotomy is a surgical procedure where the long head of the biceps is cut just before its insertion into the superior labrum. The long head of the biceps tendon then falls out of the joint releasing pain.

Prevention

Biceps tendonitis is a degenerative condition that comes from everyday wear and tear on our bodies. Overuse can cause the condition to accelerate, especially if you suffer from other shoulder injuries like rotator cuff tears and shoulder instability. The best prevention techniques are to maintain adequate strength, range of motion, and rest your shoulder as often as necessary.

Safe & Effective Tendonitis Treatment

Safe and effective bicep tendonitis treatment starts with conservative home remedies like ice, over-the-counter medications, and massage. If home treatment is not sufficient then it’s time to seek medical advice from your doctor. They will be able to determine the exact cause of your pain and develop a treatment plan specific to your needs. Whichever treatment plan you decide on we hope that you can return to your favorite activities as soon as possible.

Sources:

https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/biceps-tendinitis/

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/14534-biceps-tendon-injuries

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Patty Weasler, RN
Patty Weasler, RN

Patty Weasler is a freelance health writer and nurse. She is certified in critical care nursing and has been practicing for over 10 years. Patty lives in Milwaukee, WI with her husband and three children. She enjoys spending her time with family and educating people about their health.



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