Tendonitis Remedies

November 4, 2013 Written by JP       [Font too small?]

A reader asks: “I’ve had recurrent bouts of tendonitis in my elbow and shoulder. When I go to see my doctor about it, he usually recommends Advil or Aleve to manage the pain and swelling. But, I don’t like to take these types of drugs. Are there are any natural remedies that I can use to reduce tendon pain and speed the recovery process?”.

Tendinitis or tendonitis is an inflammatory condition that affects one or more tendons, tissues that connect muscles to bones, in various sites throughout the body including the elbows, knees, shoulders and wrists. Conventional treatment of tendonitis frequently involves the use of anti-inflammatory medications and/or physical therapy. Complementary and preventive approaches include acupuncture, addressing repetitive motions that may contribute to the irritation and the topical application of natural remedies such as DMSO (dimethyl sulfide) – an analgesic solvent derived from the wood pulp.

Several studies have documented a potential role for dietary supplements as complementary agents in the treatment of tendonitis. In general, the supplements in question have included two classes of ingredients: a) those that support the structure of connective tissue in general and tendons specifically; b) natural anti-inflammatory agents. Amino acids (arginine), collagen-based ingredients and organosulfur compounds (MSM) have been found to assist with the repair of damaged tendons in trials involving patients with Achilles tendinopathy and rotator cuff tears. Specially-coated digestive enzymes (bromelain and Phlogenzym aka Wobenzym) and natural extracts from fruits (apples, grapes) and turmeric may reduce systemic inflammation and, thereby, improve flexibility and functioning. The aforementioned dietary supplements are typically recommended as adjuncts to alternative or conventional therapies. However, because tendonitis isn’t a dangerous or life threatening condition, some practitioners will recommended natural approaches i.e. dietary changes and supplements prior to considering corticosteroids or pain relieving medications which often carry a higher risk of side effects.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 - Arginine L-Alpha-Ketoglutarate, Methylsulfonylmethane, Hydrolyzed (link)

Study 2 - SWAAT Study: Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy and Arginine (link)

Study 3 – Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Catabolic Effects of TENDOACTIVE … (link)

Study 4 - Naturopathic Treatment of Rotator Cuff Tendinitis Among Canadian … (link)

Study 5 - Rotator Cuff Tendinopathy: Is There a Role for Polyunsaturated Fatty (link)

Study 6 – Bromelain in the Early Phase of Healing in Acute Crush Achilles Tendon … (link)

Study 7 - Placebo-Controlled Randomized Clinical Trial on the ... (link)

Study 8 - Efficacy and Tolerance of an Oral Enzyme Combination in Painful (link)

Study 9 - Curcumin Modulates Nuclear Factor KappaB (NF-kappaB)-Mediated (link)

Study 10 - Product-Evaluation Registry of Meriva®, A Curcumin-Phosphatidyl- (link)

Curcumin Extract (Meriva) Relieves Pain

Source: J Pain Res. 2013;6:201-5. (link)

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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Bone and Joint Health, Nutritional Supplements

6 Comments & Updates to “Tendonitis Remedies”

  1. Iggy Dalrymple Says:

    I’ve gotten instant relief for tendonitis of both elbow and shoulder via acupuncture. The same acupuncturist was no help for my chronic lower back stiffness. DMSO helped my knee pain.

    In the Marines I suffered a bad case of Achilles tendonitis and going barefoot was the best therapy. I could barely walk with combat boots on. The Marine brass were very suspicious when I couldn’t march but was able to outrun everyone when I ran barefoot.

    I take curcumin everyday, pain or not.

  2. Bea Says:

    I have a SI joint problem. Could the supplements mentioned help with my problem/symtoms?

  3. JP Says:

    Hi Iggy,

    Thank you. I believe the term, “What’s old is new again” applies here:


    Be well!


  4. JP Says:

    Hi Bea,

    The supplements appear to benefit the function and structure of various joints – possibly even the SI joint. Though, I couldn’t find any specific research regarding this topic. However, I did track down a few studies that may be of particular interest to you:



    Be well!


  5. JP Says:

    Update: Glucosamine & chondroitin lower systemic inflammation …


    PLoS One. 2015 Feb 26;10(2):e0117534.

    Randomized trial of glucosamine and chondroitin supplementation on inflammation and oxidative stress biomarkers and plasma proteomics profiles in healthy humans.

    BACKGROUND: Glucosamine and chondroitin are popular non-vitamin dietary supplements used for osteoarthritis. Long-term use is associated with lower incidence of colorectal and lung cancers and with lower mortality; however, the mechanism underlying these observations is unknown. In vitro and animal studies show that glucosamine and chondroitin inhibit NF-kB, a central mediator of inflammation, but no definitive trials have been done in healthy humans.

    METHODS: We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study to assess the effects of glucosamine hydrochloride (1500 mg/d) plus chondroitin sulfate (1200 mg/d) for 28 days compared to placebo in 18 (9 men, 9 women) healthy, overweight (body mass index 25.0-32.5 kg/m2) adults, aged 20-55 y. We examined 4 serum inflammatory biomarkers: C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin 6, and soluble tumor necrosis factor receptors I and II; a urinary inflammation biomarker: prostaglandin E2-metabolite; and a urinary oxidative stress biomarker: F2-isoprostane. Plasma proteomics on an antibody array was performed to explore other pathways modulated by glucosamine and chondroitin.

    RESULTS: Serum CRP concentrations were 23% lower after glucosamine and chondroitin compared to placebo (P = 0.048). There were no significant differences in other biomarkers. In the proteomics analyses, several pathways were significantly different between the interventions after Bonferroni correction, the most significant being a reduction in the “cytokine activity” pathway (P = 2.6 x 10-16), after glucosamine and chondroitin compared to placebo.

    CONCLUSION: Glucosamine and chondroitin supplementation may lower systemic inflammation and alter other pathways in healthy, overweight individuals. This study adds evidence for potential mechanisms supporting epidemiologic findings that glucosamine and chondroitin are associated with reduced risk of lung and colorectal cancer.

    Be well!


  6. JP Says:

    Updated 07/20/15:


    Phytother Res. 2015 Jun;29(6):864-9.

    A Clinical Trial with Brazilian Arnica (Solidago chilensis Meyen) Glycolic Extract in the Treatment of Tendonitis of Flexor and Extensor Tendons of Wrist and Hand.

    One of the Brazilian arnicas, Solidago chilensis Meyen, is a species of the Asteraceae family. This plant is known by this common name because it shares remarkably similar organoleptic properties with the genus Arnica L., also within the family Asteraceae. We examined the effectiveness of the S. chilensis fluid extract used externally for treating tendinitis of flexor and extensor tendons of wrist and hand in placebo-controlled double-blind clinical pharmacological studies. This study was approved by the Ethical Committee for Scientific Research in Human Beings at University Vila Velha-UVV. Two daily skin applications on the arm skin of a gel cream containing a 5% glycolic plant extract were administered to eight volunteers for 21 days. Among the volunteers, one of their arms was used as the placebo group, and the other one was used as a test group. Statistical data analyses demonstrated a significant reduction in the perception of pain in the arms in the test group, when it was compared to those receiving only the placebo.

    Be well!


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