Monday, September 16, 2013

Hokum or hope?


At lunch I did a quick search for "tendinitis treatment." One of the links that popped up was SaveYourself, a Canadian site that offers "sensible advice for aches, pains and injuries." I'll try anything.

For tendinitis, he recommends "friction massage," or rubbing perpendicular to the growth of the tendon. In a leg massage, the normal tendency is to rub up and/or down, but he recommended rubbing side to side. 

He says:
Friction massage basically “scrubs” the fibres of the tendon, theoretically aiding recovery, and it doesn’t really have to be particularly “deep” (intense). If it works, the mechanism is probably just mild stimulation of natural tissue repair mechanisms. Friction massage is well worth trying, because it’s quite safe, basically free to experiment with, and makes a fair bit of sense even though it’s far from scientifically proven.
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The action of friction massage is simple and well-suited to self-treatment, as long as you can reach the problem. Just rub gently back and forth over the inflamed tendon at the point of greatest tenderness. Your strokes should be perpendicular to the fibres of the tendon — like strumming a guitar string. 
Use gentle to moderate pressure with the pads of your fingers or a thumb. Strong pressure is not required or wise, particularly for self-treatment.  
Even gentle friction massage will cause discomfort — you are rubbing an active case of tendonitis, after all! The pain should be clear and a bit burning or sharp — however, the discomfort should be easily bearable. 
If the frictioning is painless, or the pain is dull, you are probably in the wrong place, or you don’t have tendonitis. If it is too painful, either you are pressing too hard, or the tendonitis is simply too serious to easily treat in this fashion. 
The complete treatment should take about 3-6 minutes, and should be done at least once per day, and a maximum of three times per day. If it’s going to work, you should feel immediate improvement in symptoms following each treatment. It may not work for you! This is no miracle cure. It is worth trying, but it fails in many cases for all kinds of reasons.
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One of the basic principles of healing is that tissue must not be disturbed while healing, and this is particularly true of tendonitis, where stress has already exceeded the capacity of the body to adapt. And yet some stimulation is still a vital component of tissue health and healing, and it’s important to avoid tissue stagnancy. A sick tendon needs at least some moderate stimulation in order to move tissue fluids and to induce connective tissue repair.
In the case of tendonitis, excessive pulling on the tendon is precisely what caused the problem in the first place. If we “stimulate” the tendon with more pulling — more normal activity — this simply constitutes continued irritation to tissue that has already told us it “canna take it any more, cap’n!” 
Thus, the friction massage technique provides a method of stimulating the tissue in a new and different way. In theory.
It sounded like complete and total hokum, yet when my healing is on a deadline, anything seems reasonable. Yes, I tried it...

By the time I got out of my car at work, I had a spring in my step and I was walking with purpose, and without limping!!! What did Bob Seger say? "My walk had purpose, my steps were quick and light." 

The real test was going from the 3rd floor to the 2nd, using two big big flights of stairs. No pain!!!! Yes, I can cause discomfort by rolling my ankle pretty far to either side, but forward motion, stairs, and weight bearing steps are working again without pain!!!! Who knew??? Happy happy happy!

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