Tendonitis Healing Plan – based on the personal experience of pianist Noah Kellman
1. Make a list of everything you use your arms and hands for daily. Most of us don’t
realize the extent to which we use our arms. This includes everything from making yourself breakfast to driving. For a musician, this might include hours of practicing, composing by writing or typing, and even things like moving around equipment. You may not realize that every little movement contributes to the amount of stress you put on your muscles and tendons. Here is a list of examples of some daily activities that we frequently use our arms for:
• Making breakfast
• Washing your hair
• Brushing your teeth
• Practicing your instrument
• Working out
• Video games
• Carrying a bag
• Web-surfing in general
Try to list everything you possibly can.
2. Look at your list and think hard about how you can limit the amount of activities you
use your arms for. For example, on my iPhone I use Dragon Dictation so that I don’t
have to type all of my texts (on an iPhone 5 you can just use Siri. Samsung also
includes voice recognition on many of their phones). I also bought an electric
toothbrush so that I don’t have to use my arms as much to brush my teeth. Other
things you might consider would be maintaining good posture while also cutting
down on the amount of time spent doing certain things like playing video games or
anything else that you can spare on your list. You can only do so much, so you have
3. Heat and Epsom salts. Heat encourages healing by increasing blood flow to the
affected area. Epsom salts are a natural healing aid that you pour into warm water. The salts help to reduce inflammation. Twice daily, warm up a bowl or tub of hot water and pour Epsom salts into it. Soak a towel in the Epsom salts and then wrap the towel around your arm. Do this for twenty minutes, making sure to keep the towel warm and rewetting it as needed.
4. Massage. If possible, ask someone to massage your arms after you heat. Otherwise,
you can rub them yourself. I would recommend using olive oil or some kind of lotion for the best massage. Massage helps to break up tension in your muscles by releasing tight muscle fibers. This also increases blood flow to the area.
5. Stretch. It is good to stretch directly after massage. Here’s a short article about
forearm stretches you can do: http://www.stretching-exercises-guide.com/forearm-stretches.html . Make sure to do your stretches at least twice a day.
6. Voltaren Gel. For those of you that have access to a doctor and are able to obtain a
prescription, I would highly recommend Voltaren Gel. Voltaren is a strong anti-inflammatory gel that you message into the affected area. Apply the gel to the affected are as recommended by your doctor.
7. Limbrel or NSAIDS – If your pain is significant and consistent, you should consider
using safe, anti-inflammatory drugs to aid you. Just as a disclaimer, I am by no means a doctor, so consult a doctor before using any medication. NSAIDS, however, can cause G.I. upset. If you take them, make sure to take them with food and water. I actually developed a milk allergy from taking them too often, which is when I discovered a drug called Limbrel. To this day, it is considered a medicinal food rather than an actual drug, and there are hardly any known side effects. Either way, anytime you put something foreign your body, there is bound to be some kind of side effect so make sure to consult the doctor.
8. If possible, rest! That means sleep. The more you sleep, the more you heal. Apply
Voltaren before bed for some extra help. Take a nap mid day. Sleep as much as possible!
More important and effective things to do:
1. Cardiovascular exercise – consistent exercise will improve blood flow and keep
your body in good shape for healing. I recommend a combination of running and swimming. Swimming is especially good because it is a non-impact form of exercise and works your upper body as well. However, if swimming causes pain in your arms I would stay away from it until you have healed enough to do it without experiencing pain.
2. Strengthening – depending on the degree of your arm pain, the type of
strengthening you do will vary. It is very important that you keep your core and upper body strong and healthy. A great deal of arm problems stem from having weak areas in your back and neck. If one area is weaker than another then your body will compensate by using the incorrect muscles and you will therefore be much more tense. Tension can cause a great deal of unwanted pain and something as simple as stretching and strengthening can fix the issues.
3. Take breaks!!! When you are practicing, typing, or using your arms for any
repetitive exercise, take a 5 – 10 minute break every 30 minutes. This will help immensely. Do a couple stretches in between.
4. Try a gluten free diet – often times, we do not realize that all of the bread, flour,
and other gluten items in our diet can increase inflammation throughout our bodies.
5. Check your thyroid and iron levels – sometimes being deficient of a certain
important minerals or other bodily necessities can lead to problems.
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