Bicep tendonitis occurs when the tendon in your bicep muscles swell and become inflamed. Although it might be a natural impact of aging, it's painful and requires medical attention. When you have bicep tendinitis and fail to allow your arms to rest, it will develop into full or partial tears on your tendons. In turn, you might require surgery to fix the problem.

However, with appropriate medical care, you will take a short period before you regain the full range of motion in your arm. But you require medical care from a well-trained physical therapist. At Suarez Physical Therapy, we are here for you. We have extensive experience providing medical care to people suffering from bicep tendonitis in Las Vegas, NV. Contact us as soon as you notice the signs and symptoms of bicep tendonitis.

What Is Bicep Tendonitis?

Bicep tendonitis involves an inflammatory condition of your upper bicep tendonitis, a band of tissues connecting muscles on your shoulder bones. Although tear and wear of a person's tendon is a normal aspect of aging, repetitively using your arms and shoulders can speed the process causing your bicep tendons to weaken and swell.

Types of Bicep Tendonitis

As mentioned above, the bicep tendon links the shoulder, elbow, and bicep muscles. Two main types of tendons connect your shoulder and bicep muscles. One tendon is a long head connecting your shoulders, glenoid, and socket. Alternatively, the other tendon is a short head connecting the coracoid process in front of your shoulder blade. The bicep tendonitis you are suffering will depend on the affected tendon:

Proximal Bicep Tendonitis

It's where you have inflammation at the end of the bicep tendon that connects your bicep muscle with your shoulder. Tears mostly occur on your long head. The good news is, even when you have a full tear of your long head tendon, the short head tendon will allow you to keep on using your bicep muscles.

The proximal bicep tendonitis can be treated through surgery. The surgery will safely attach the long head to the bone with minimal complications. Also, the surgery can return all your arms strength, with retearing of the repaired tendon being uncommon. Before you engage in this surgery, you will need to carry out strengthening and flexibility exercises to help rehabilitate your shoulder.

Distal Bicep Tendonitis

The type of bicep tendonitis occurs when inflammation takes place on the end of your bicep tendon that connects your muscle with the elbow. The tear on your distal bicep tendon is usually uncommon and results from lifting a heavy item or an injury. Once the tendon tears, the tear is complete. So, the muscle is separated from your bone. The condition weakens palm activities, including tightening objects with a screwdriver using your hand.

Causes of Bicep Tendonitis

Bicep tendinitis may occur as a result of the following:

Normal Wear And Tear: Many times, bicep tendonitis comes due to wear and tear. As people grow older, the collagen on their tendon starts to break and turn less elastic, more subject to ruptures, fraying, and irritation.

Repetitive Motion: When you are in a repetitive motion, your arms and shoulders can worsen or hasten your damages. For instance, athletes are vulnerable to this condition because of over-straining and overusing the tendons while moving their arms with force as they lift heavy weights. Also, overhand movements are to blame, for instance, playing handball, tennis ball, swimming, or throwing a baseball.

How Does Bicep Tendonitis Feel?

When you experience bicep tendonitis, you are more likely to feel the following:

  • Tenderness when someone or something touches you on your shoulders front.

  • Sharp pain on your shoulder front once you reach behind your back, overhead, or even across the body.

  • Pain when you try or attempt to throw a ball.

  • Pain as you rest, and that worsens during nighttime.

  • Pain that might radiate down or toward the front of your arms.

  • A sensation of clicking or catching in your shoulder with motion.

  • A feeling of weakness around your shoulder joints, majorly experienced when carrying or lifting objects.

Why See a Physical Therapist When You Experience Bicep Tendonitis?

Having a diagnosis of bicep tendonitis is essential. A nagging weakness and pain might feel like something you may ignore and continue with your heavy lifting. However, progressive bicep tendonitis and a great breakdown of tissues may lead to the full or partial rapture of your bicep tendonitis. The injury may attract a great weakness and disability in your arm.

A full tendon tear will not repair itself. So, you would require surgery to repair the worn tissues and reattach the biceps again to your bone. That's why seeing a physician is a critical thing you want to do. They will diagnose and talk with you about the best options available for your condition.

Diagnosis and Medication

Your therapist can diagnose bicep tendonitis during a physical examination alone. Again, they may require you to have an X-ray image taken to detect whether you have any other conditions causing your symptoms and signs. After doing so, the physician will recommend the best option available for your treatment. The target of the treatment is to reduce inflammation and pain.

Usually, taking care of your bicep tendonitis by having enough rest, using over-the-counter medications or ice might be a good way to treat the tendonitis. The doctor will more likely recommend the following medications:

Pain Relievers: Taking ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin will relieve your discomfort from bicep tendonitis. Topical creams, which are currently becoming popular in the US, effectively relieve the pain without leaving any side effects on your mouth.

Platelet-Rich Plasma: The treatment involves the doctor taking a sample of your blood and then spinning the blood to remove the platelets, among other healing factors. The doctor will inject this solution into the area of tendon irritation. Although researchers are still underway to discover the potential uses, techniques, and concentration, the platelet-rich plasma injection in the tendon irritation area has shown promising results to treat this condition.

Corticosteroids: Your doctor may decide to inject corticosteroid medication on your tendons to relieve the tendonitis. Injecting the cortisone will reduce inflammation and help ease the pain. However, these corticosteroids are not recommended for people with tendonitis lasting for more than 90 days since reappearing injection will weaken your tendons and increase the chances of rupturing them.

Surgical and Other Procedures

Sometimes when the physical therapist fails to resolve your signs and symptoms, they will more likely suggest the following:

Dry Needling

The procedure will involve the doctor making a small horse around your tendons using a fine needle. The procedure will target stimulating factors which are involved in tendon healing.

Surgical Procedure

The doctor may use a surgical repair based on the tendon damages and injury severity. The doctor will recommend this surgery, especially when your tendon has torn from your bone.

Ultrasonic Treatment

In this procedure, the doctor will use a small incision. Next, they will insert a special device on your muscle to remove the tendon scar tissues using ultrasonic sound waves.

How Physical Therapists Help Treat Bicep Tendonitis

After diagnosing bicep tendonitis, the physical therapist will develop a plan to reduce or treat the shoulder condition. Your physical therapist can use various treatment options to treat your condition. The treatment options will include:

Pain Management

The physical therapist may recommend modalities like heat and ice to help manage your pain, reducing the need for medication.

Manual Therapy

Your physical therapist is trained in conducting manual therapy. The therapist will mobilize and move your joints on the shoulders and the muscles to aid their flexibility, strength, and motion. The technique majorly focuses on the areas difficult for you to treat on your own.

Muscle Strengthening Exercises

Your muscles on your shoulders work together with the upper back to enable upper body movement. Based on how your shoulders joints are designed, your shoulders can move in many directions. A balanced strength on your upper body muscles is essential in ensuring your shoulder joint is moving efficiently and well protected. So, the physical therapist goes for an exercise that will safely strengthen your muscle within your shoulder without attracting more pain.

Range of Motion Exercises

Usually, abnormal motion of your shoulder joint might attract bicep tendonitis. The therapist will examine your shoulder movement and compare it with the expected movement of the other shoulder. Then, the therapist will recommend exercises that improve your shoulders' range of movement.

Functional Training

Improper motion in your shoulders can cause pain over time. Your physical therapist is trained in examining, assessing, and training on functioning at your best level without sustaining bicep tendonitis. The therapist will discover and correct any motion that might lead you into trouble for you to achieve a pain-free shoulder as you engage in your normal activities. The education you learn from your physical therapist will assist you and provide long-lasting results.

How Can You Prevent Biceps Tendonitis?

Bicep tendonitis is more likely to occur as you grow older due to tear and wear. When you are aged above 30years, the best thing is to observe how you push hard objects. Don't be reckless. Position yourself properly to reduce the chances of developing bicep tendonitis. Use the following tips:

Practice Good Shoulder Care

Its true bicep tendinitis is usually associated with shoulder damage and injuries like dislocations, shoulder impingement, SLAP lesion tear, and osteoarthritis. When you experience these shoulder problems, see your therapist as soon as possible. Talk with them about the best ways to keep your shoulders healthy.

Build Strength Gradually

Do not be afraid and stop weight lifting, playing sports, or doing push-ups. It will help you become more cautious when increasing your reps, lifting heavy objects, resistance, or weight. However, do not make huge, sudden increases in the weight you carry or lift; ensure you build your strength slowly.

Use Proper Form

When you cannot refrain from offending arm motions, you should see a physical therapist or orthopedist and discuss the safety methods to use your elbow, biceps, or shoulders. You might strengthen other body areas like the legs, abdomen, and back to refrain from certain strains on your arm.

Warm-Up and Stretch

Before using the affected arm, ensure you first warm up your tissues and muscles. Next, cool down and then begin stretching to remain flexible.

Quit Smoking

Many recent types of research have discovered a strong link between nicotine use and increased risks of tendon rupture and damage. Smoking will damage your blood circulation and lead to slower recovery and healing.

Take Rest Breaks

When you engage in intense workouts, you need to have enough rest to give your tissues and muscles enough time to heal and repair. For example, when you engage in intense workouts on a Tuesday, make Wednesday a resting day. Also, you need to have rest during your workout sessions.

Although rest is essential for preventing and treating bicep tendonitis, prolonged inactivity will cause much stiffness in your joints. So, after a few days of resting, you want to gently move through the full range of movement to maintain flexibility on your joints.

Use Ice

You apply ice to decrease muscle spasms, pain, or swelling on the affected area for around 20 minutes each day. Ice massage, slush baths using ice or ice packs can help you. For instance, when conducting an iced message, you want to freeze a plastic foam cup of water to hold the cup as you apply the ice to your skin.

Avoid Overusing Corticosteroids

Injecting steroids helps in reducing inflammation in your tendons. However, overusing them can promote and harm your tendon.

Maintain a Good Weight

Scientists have discovered a connection between obesity and tendon damages. Being overweight will indeed strain your bones and tissues. The scientists also indicate how obesity attracts inflammation and creates chronic tendon issues.

Recovery Process

When your bicep tendonitis is moderate, and you are treating them from your home, you might require two to three weeks to resolve. But when you require surgery, your recovery period will be much longer. You want to discuss the specific case of your tendonitis with your health caregiver for accurate details about your recovery process. When you attempt to turn your normal routine soon, you will be at risk of sustaining further injuries to your biceps and worsening your symptoms.

Risk Factors

You might develop bicep tendonitis due to repetitive strain injuries. For instance, when you have poor posture as you work or a poor technique as you play, your tendons on the biceps may tear. Other risk aspects might include:

Old Age: It's common for older people to experience much wear and tear on tendons. It occurs since older people have many years of work.

Using Your Shoulder Repetitively: Various sports like swimming require repetitive movement over your head, causing wear on your tendon.

Performing duties in which you have heavy overhead lifts, whether you engage in these activities as your work, part of the exercise, lifting heavy objects like weightlifters causes tear and wear on your biceps tendons.

Smoking: As per the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), the research has outlined a link between smoking and poor tendon strength and quality.

Therefore you must warm up properly before committing yourself to any exercise. Also, you should take the required breaks as you engage in repetitive movement, majorly the overhead ones. Again ensure you perform your movements safely and do not put yourself at risk of sustaining injuries. For instance, when you are playing a unique sport, you need to take lessons before engaging in the sport.

What Kind of Therapist Do You Require?

Many physical therapists undergo training on treating several injuries and conditions. You want to consider the following before going for the physical therapist:

  • Find a physical therapist with a lot of experience in treating musculoskeletal or orthopedic injuries patients.

  • Find a board-certified clinical expert who has successfully finished sports physical or orthopedic therapy. The fact is this physician will have deep knowledge, skills, and experience.

You can discover a therapist with all these credentials in online tools developed by the American Physical Therapy Association to assist you in finding a physical therapist in your location. The following are the general tips you want to investigate for in a physical therapist:

  • Receive a recommendation from your friends, family, or any other caregivers.

  • When you call a clinic to arrange for an appointment, ensure to ask about the therapist's experience in providing help to patients with shoulder pain.

  • Be able to discuss and describe all your signs and symptoms in detail and report any activities that might worsen your situation.

Contact a Las Vegas Physical Therapist Near Me

Although bicep tendonitis might seem like a minor condition, you may end up requiring surgery if left untreated. So, you want to discuss the situation with your physical therapist before the condition worsens. In addition, seek advice from a well-trained physical therapist. At Suarez Physical Therapy, we understand you are in pain. We are ready to help you treat the condition. If you seek a physical therapist in Las Vegas, NV, contact us at 702-368-6778 right away, and we will schedule an appointment.