The aches and pains of biceps tendonitis can seriously interfere with your daily activities. It is often surprising to people to realize just how much they use their biceps in the course of a day, whether they’re picking up a bag of groceries or just brushing their teeth.
The biceps brachii muscle originates on the scapula (shoulder blade) and crosses both the shoulder and elbow joints, eventually attaching to the upper forearm. Its main function is the flexion and supination (twisting the palm to the front) of the forearm, but it also helps lift the shoulder. Weight trainers will be very familiar with the bicep curl, in which the muscle is strengthened through repeated lifting of a weight in the hand through alternately flexing and extending at the elbow.
Trauma as in the case of a direct blow or a car accident can be a cause of bicep tendonitis. Another cause is repeated overuse of the biceps muscle, which can lead to inflammation of the tendon, causing tendonitis. People who practice sports with repetitive ‘overhead’ actions such as tennis, baseball and javelin throwing are at greater risk for the development of tendonitis. Work injuries in the shoulder can also occur in individuals with activities that involve repetitive overhead movements. Bicep tendonitis may also often occur in combination with other shoulder problems such as rotator cuff tears, arthritis of the shoulder, shoulder instability, tears of the glenoid labrum and shoulder impingement (inflammation of the rotator cuff).
Patients with biceps tendonitis usually report feeling pain in the front of the shoulder and sometimes in the biceps muscle itself. This is made worse through overhead motion and improved by resting the arm and shoulder. The arm may feel weak when bending the elbow or turning the palm upwards. If you experience any of these symptoms, it would be wise to visit your doctor or chiropractor.
Biceps tendonitis is a common condition seen by chiropractors, and your practitioner will want to make a thorough examination of you and your medical history in order to determine whether your condition is tendonitis or some other condition, and if there are any co-occurring injuries. X-rays are rarely used initially, but may be called for later if the shoulder is not responding to treatment.
If you are diagnosed with biceps tendonitis, a range of treatment options are available. Nonsurgical interventions are the preferred first choice of chiropractors. Aside from the use of therapeutic modalities to help decrease pain and improve blood flow to the region, condition specific rehabilitation exercises along with joint manipulations will be provided to further aid in the rehab process. Resting the shoulder and avoiding exacerbating activity may be suggested in combination with other strategies such as anti-inflammatory medication and ice packs to reduce pain and swelling. Any co-morbid conditions contributing to the inflammation will also need to be treated.
Our aim at Total Health Family Clinic is to provide you with the utmost care possible to aid in the recovery of your injury or condition. If your condition is not improving and persisting, referrals will be made for further investigations and treatment options.
Yours in Health,
Ashkan Aazami, DC
Total Health Family Clinic, Chiropractic and Physical Therapy, Officers in Landover Hills, District Heights, and Rockville, Maryland