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Essential Oils for Tendonitis

Tennis elbow, Jumper’s knee, Pitcher’s shoulder, and Golfer’s elbow: there’s rarely a sport that doesn’t have a local name for this ailment. This infamousness speaks to how ubiquitous, and notorious, it is. Some form of tendonitis is a risk in every athletic endeavour.

However, far from what it’s many aliases may lead you to believe, tendonitis is also quite common in everyday life, outside the sports arena too.

Tendonitis (also known as tendinitis) is an inflammation, irritation, or tearing of a tendon. Tendons are tight, fibrous bands of tissue that connects muscles to the bone. Tendons range from thick layers of body tissue that prop the relatively huge thigh muscles to tiny groups in the hands.

However, these bands have to be flexible to facilitate movement. Hence, over an active day, these tissues endure a great deal of twisting, grinding and bending. Over time, these bands of body tissue can suffer micro-tears, irritation, or get inflamed.

While you can get tendonitis around any muscle group, the most common areas of inflammation are the shoulders, knees, elbows, hips, Achilles tendon, and wrists.

What Causes Tendonitis?

Tendonitis typically results from some form of stress on the tendons. Common risk factors for tendonitis include long spans of immobility, rapid repetitive movement, and acute injury.

Hence, many everyday activities like cleaning, gardening, carpentry, and playing sports can lead to tendonitis.

Other factors that further exacerbate the risk of tendonitis include:

  • Sudden, violent injuries that can twist or tear the tendon
  • Poor posture, primarily when held for long periods at a stretch
  • Inadequate warm-up and conditioning before vigorous exercise or sports
  • Overworking the tendons by using them excessively, especially when they are still recovering from an injury
  • Exercising extremely hard out of the blue after an extended period of relative passivity
  • Tendon stress from other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, gout, thyroid disorders
  • Stress on soft tissues caused by, such as leg length differences or deformities of the joint
  • Increased pressure on tendons, ligaments, and bones from being overweight
  • Stress on soft tissues caused by, such as leg length differences or deformities of the joint
  • Inflammatory conditions such as Reiter’s syndrome or ankylosing spondylitis
  • Autoimmune disorders, such as type 1 diabetes or multiple sclerosis
  • Rare reactions to certain medications
  • On rare occasions, tendonitis can result from an infection, especially from a dog or cat bite to the hand

While anyone can get tendonitis, the condition is more common in adults, especially those over age 40.

How to Treat Tendonitis

Anyone who has had a spell with the swelling and the pain that accompanies tendonitis can immediately testify to how significantly tendon inflammation can affect your life.

Since tendons connect your muscles and bones, as micro-tears develop, stiffness can appear, and your movement can become significantly impaired. This stiffness, pain, and the tenderness of the region is guaranteed to impact your enjoyment of many activities negatively.

However, thankfully, several known cures help to ease the symptoms of tendonitis. Common treatments include:


With tendonitis, the number one cure any physician will recommend is rest. Our bodies can heal and restore themselves over time, and your tendons are no different.

However, you must give the tendon time to heal by restricting the movement of the joint. For best results, avoid repeating the same motion that caused the injury or “working through the pain” to avoid further exacerbating the condition.

Most inflamed tendons will heal in about two to four week. However, chronic tendonitis can take more than six weeks, especially if the tendon is disturbed often.

Ice and Compression

This method is standard with many first aid practitioners and is a fast way to ease tendon irritation. Ice helps to reduce swelling and inflammation while compressing the tendon helps to preserve mobility in the joint.

Raising the affected area above the body, especially for knee-based tendonitis can also help reduce swelling as it reduces the flow of blood to the region.

However, when using this method, you should make sure to not apply ice directly to the skin; a thick ice bag or wrapping it in a towel will suffice.

Physical Therapy

Depending on the nature of the injury, stretching, massage may help reduce pain. Furthermore, other more advanced forms of physical therapy also help to ease tendonitis.

Several studies show that physical therapy can help with all forms of tendonitis. Therapy helps by reducing pain in the tendon. Physical therapy also helps to reinforce the surrounding muscles to help prevent future injuries.

Typical forms of physical therapy your physician will recommend for tendonitis include:

  • hot and cold therapy
  • Water therapy
  • Laser therapy
  • Ultrasound therapy
  • Soft tissue or joint mobilization
  • The use of orthotics and other pressure-relieving devices.

Anti-Inflammatory Medication

To ease pain and swelling, especially in more severe cases, you may need ibuprofen, naproxen, or some other non-prescription anti-inflammatory medication. A visit to the hospital for tendonitis will get you one of these drugs on your prescription for the next few weeks.


Most cases of tendonitis can be treated successfully with rest, medication, and physical therapy. However, more severe cases that lead to the rupture of a tendon may require corrective surgery.

Physicians typically recommend repair surgery for cases of torn or otherwise damaged tendon that severely impacts that person’s ability to move the joint. Extreme pain might be another reason.

Epsom Salts

As it is a rich source of magnesium, a couple of cups of Epsom salts in your bath water can help relieve pain from overexerting your muscles. Hence, Epsom salts use can help ease muscle strains as well as mild tendonitis.

Essential Oils

Thanks to their healthy mix of antioxidants, many essential oils can also help to ease pain and inflammation in joints with tendonitis.

Why Use Essential Oils for Tendonitis

The use of essential oils by healers to promote health and treat multiple conditions dates back to several thousand years. Chinese medical texts from over 2500 years ago hailed the critical role of many essential oils in treating illness.

However, one use that is gaining increased medical backing is the use of essential oils to soothe inflamed regions and ease the pain.

Essential oils work to ease the pain because of their store of powerful antioxidants that help combat inflammation, and their ability to numb the pain.


Most of the inflammation that occurs in the body boils down to the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable high-energy compounds that cause oxidative damage when they attack your DNA and your proteins. Oxidative damage is also the cause of many forms of muscle and tendon pain.

The active ingredients in many essential oils act as anti-inflammatory agents by scavenging and neutralizing these free radicals.

According to a 2010 study, researchers concluded that several essential oils reduced the expression of the inflammatory COX-2 enzyme by at least 25 per cent.

Pain Relief

Sweet smells do not just ease your mind; they can be an excellent way to soothe your body too. This is especially true of aromatic compounds that contain plant essence. The many soothing antioxidants in essential oils travel through your olfactory canals to your limbic system to relax the entire body.

Aromatherapy—the inhaling or absorbing of aromatic plant extracts date back to early civilizations like Egypt and China. Today, aromatherapy is experiencing a resurgence as it is being incorporated as a way to complement standard treatment.

Recent studies associate aromatherapy with significant body pain relief.

Best Essential Oils for Tendonitis

Some of the best essential oils for easing tendonitis include:

Lavender Oil

Lavender oil has been used for thousands of years in all forms of remedies meant for pain relief. Thanks to it many anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, lavender oil helps to reduce swelling and ease the pain. Lavender is also a myorelaxant that helps to soothe stress, relieve anxiety, and induce sleep.

Ginger Oil

Ginger is another herb that has a long history of use in pain medication, especially in China and India. Ginger’s soothing properties come from a trio of powerful antioxidative ingredients: zingiberene, gingerol, and shogaol. One 2005 study indicated that ginger might be more effective than many non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in easing pain and swelling.

Peppermint Oil

Most peppermint oil users love it for its cooling, refreshing effect on the skin. However, what many users do not know is that the oil has antispasmodic properties. Hence, it can help to ease inflammation and improve arthritis. Peppermint also helps to stimulate circulation, which helps to improve nerve healing.

Chamomile Oil

You will find this oil in many soothing soaps and creams because of its active compounds that help to ease the pain. Chamomile oil also has a calming effect on your body as it helps to soothe the skin, calm the nervous system, and alleviate joint pain.

Rose Geranium oil

Geranium oil is another essential oil that has a calming effect on both your muscles, joints, and your mind. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, the oil offers a similar effect to most anti-arthritis medication as it helps to reduce swelling.


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