The biceps muscle connects to the shoulder via two tendons. The longer of the two, called the long head of the tendon, can become inflamed due to repetitive overhead arm motion, normal aging, or other causes. This inflammation causes a throbbing, burning, or aching sensation in the tendon. If you experience any of these symptoms, Marin Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Novato, CA, may be able to help.
Tendinitis and Tendinosis
When the inflammation is less severe or is the result of a sudden injury, usually tendinitis is the proper diagnosis. Tendinitis is caused by micro-tears in the tendon, which are caused by a short-term injury or repetitive motion of some kind. These tears lead to immediate irritation and inflammation.
When the tendon starts to degenerate at the cellular level, the condition is called tendinosis. Tendinosis is caused by chronic overuse, where the tendon is never given time to rest and heal properly. Sometimes the conditions can occur together, but tendinosis does not necessarily occur as a result of untreated tendinitis, and there are a few differences in the way these two conditions are treated.
Biceps Tendinosis Treatment
The main goals when treating biceps tendinosis are to stop the cycle of repetitive injury and help the tendon regain its normal strength, thereby reducing pain and improving functional abilities. Your treatment plan may involve a combination of some of the following treatments and self-care techniques:
- Rest. Resting the injury is critical for proper healing and to prevent long-term pain and future problems. Many people find it difficult to quit certain activities, especially when the motions are required for the patient’s job. Taking more frequent short breaks — even as short as a minute break every five to ten minutes — can be quite helpful. More rest may be necessary at earlier treatment stages.
- Adjusting ergonomics/activities. Sometimes making small changes to the way you do certain activities can have a big effect on your condition. Changing your posture or holding your arm in a different position may relieve some of the pressure on the tendon during certain movements. An ergonomic specialist or physical therapist may be able to recommend changes for your particular situation.
- Icing and supporting the shoulder. Orthopedic specialists and physical therapists can tape the shoulder and recommend other measures to support the injured arm. Icing can also help the tendon and ease the pain. Applying the ice for 15–20 minutes a few times a day, especially after doing activities that use the arm in question.
- Exercises and physical therapy. Special strengthening routines and stretches are often very effective in treating tendinosis. Physical therapists can help guide patients through some of these exercise routines.
- Massage therapy. Massages, especially a properly administered deep tissue massage, can stimulate the tissues and aid in the repair process.
It’s important to seek treatment for tendinosis, as not doing so can make the tendon more prone to tearing or other injuries.
Tendinosis Treatment in Novato, CA
If you are experiencing shoulder pain, burning, or discomfort, the specialists at Marin Orthopedics & Sports Medicine can help. Our orthopedists are experts at diagnosing pain and helping you return to your active lifestyle. Contact our office in Novato, CA, for more information.