A different kind of pain than breaking a bone, straining a tendon can cause you a considerable amount of pain immediately – acute pain that shoots right through the impacted area and completely cripples your ability to use that part of your body – as well as chronic pain that lasts far longer than it should.
When you break a bone, your body gets to mending things pretty quickly. All of the resources necessary to amend that broken bone marshal and speed to the impacted area and on top of that you don’t have to worry about dealing with painful nerve endings and pain receptors actually in the bone that cause shooting pain to move throughout your body during the entire healing process.
But when it comes to a strained tendon – a tendon that has been overextended, overworked, or over exerted but not torn or ripped apart – you’re talking about a pain that can range from anything as relatively minor as a dull but consistent ache or far less than 100% operation of the body parts those tendons connect and crippling pain almost around-the-clock.
Making things worse, of course, is the difficulty that doctors have performing surgery on tendons in particular. Sure, surgeries like Tommy John’s have become a lot more popular and a lot more effective but if you ask ANYONE that’s ever had work done on their knee – specifically the ACL, MCL, or LCL – they will tell you that they NEVER feel the same again and that they are ALWAYS waiting for their tendons and ligaments to explode again later down the line.
Thankfully though, there are definitely a couple of different things you can do to speed up the healing and restoration of your tendons throughout the body. Here are some tips and tricks to help you out!
1. Fall in love with stretching
Stretching exercises (including yoga) that work to gently – but consistently – stretch and warm up your tendons, ligaments, and muscles in an impacted area are going to be very helpful as far as your recovery is concerned.
By stretching you’ll be able to force new nutrients into the impacted area, flush out toxins as new blood moves waste away, and gently (but consistently) build up strength and flexibility in the impacted area.
2. Get plenty of rest
It’s also important that you do your level best to “immobilize” the injured and impacted area as often as you’re able to in the first two or three weeks of the injury so that you can really rest and recover from the strain itself. Strains in particular require weeks of rest to heal up properly, and you want to alternate longer stretches of rest with longer amounts of time stretching until you’re back to 100% again.
3. Compression is your friend
Compression clothing (including raps and accessories) are going to do a lot of good to help you repair the damage that has occurred to your tendons and your ligaments. Compression is going to intelligently increase the amount of circulation you have in the impacted area. That means that fresh blood is going to be running to your injured tendons more frequently than it would have otherwise, and that means that your body will get all of the resources it needs to heal you much sooner than it may have before.
4. Elevate the impacted area
As you can probably tell by now, RICE – Rest, Immobilize, Compression, Elevate – is the real deal when it comes to repairing strained tendons faster than not.
Any time you are sitting down (and definitely anytime you are laying down) you’ll want to do your best to elevate the impacted area above your heart. This again will work to increase circulation and blood flow, and that means healthy nutrients will be pouring in and waste/toxins will be flushed out.
5. OTC pain relievers do a pretty good job, too
The recovery process of healing up your strained tendons is always going to involve at least a little bit of pain and stiffness.
Over-the-counter pain relievers (OTC pain relievers) have the advantage of reducing inflammation while providing you with instant pain relief so that you don’t have to worry about focusing too much on the injury as opposed to your actual recovery.
Just be smart about how you use OTC medications as you don’t want to deal with any conflicts that may arise from prescription meds you have been given from your doctor.
6. Clean up your diet
The food that you put into your body is going to have a tremendous impact on your ability to heal. We literally are exactly what we eat, and the food that we consume on a regular basis becomes our fuel.
Clean up your diet and you’ll provide your body with all of the nutrients necessary to heal faster (and the right way). By changing your diet you may be able to dramatically speed up your recovery from a strained tendon.