Biceps tendonitis is inflammation around the head of the biceps muscle that is caused by the tendon degenerating. Athletics or repetitive activities that require you to move the arm over the head can lead to this condition. People also become increasingly susceptible to this condition with age. There are multiple ways to treat biceps tendonitis depending on the cause and severity of this condition.
Therapeutic Injections- Corticosteroid or anesthetic solutions can be injection into the bicep tendon sheath to provide relief for tendonitis. These injections should not be placed in the tendon as it could lead to a tendon rupture. Ultrasound may be used to determine the best location for injection.
Reduce the Chance of Further Injury- As tendonitis begins to take hold patients can often manage their symptoms with home care. Reducing activity that requires you to lift your arms overhead may also assist in limiting your discomfort. Activities that involve lifting heavy objects or otherwise strain your arms and shoulders should especially be avoided.
Medications – Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications may also be helpful in reducing symptoms of mild biceps tendonitis. Talk to your doctor about which mediations would be appropriate to use, particularly if you are already taking medication for another medical condition.
Applying Ice- Icing the affected arm can assist with reducing inflammation and discomfort. Apply ice in 20 minute intervals to the affected area, taking 20 minute rest periods in between. In some cases, alternating hot and cold applications can bring about relief more quickly. Do not apply heating pads or ice packs directly to the skin as this can cause irritation.
Rehabilitation- There are four phases to a bicep tendonitis rehabilitation routine. First, rest the joint to reduce the swelling and risk of further injury. Once the pain has subsided, begin with gentle stretching exercises for the scapula that will help to regain the balance range of the arm.
You should not undergo any exercises that cause pain or stiffness when you reach the desired position. Over time you may begin stretching the rotator cuff to prevent loss of motion in the shoulder-stabilizing ligaments or scapula. As the range of motion improves, patients can start taking on a throwing program with increasing difficulty to exercise the arm as a whole.
Stem Cell and PRP injections – Dr. Raj is a regenerative medicine expert and offers platelet rich plasma therapy along with stem cell injections for pain relief. The injections are outpatient, low risk and very effective for pain relief and helping get patients back to a high level of activity FAST.