Physical Therapy for Biceps Tendonitis
The common problems related to biceps tendonitis are pain, decreased range of motion, decreased strength and impaired functional mobility of the arm. Biceps tendonitis may develop gradually from effects of wear and tear, or it can happen suddenly from a direct injury. The tendon may also become inflamed in response to other problems that affect how you use the shoulder, such as rotator cuff tears, impingement of the shoulder, or shoulder instability.
Continuous or repetitive shoulder actions can cause overuse of the biceps tendon. The cells within the tendons become damaged and are unable to repair themselves, resulting to tendonitis. This is common in sports where athletes perform activities like throwing, swimming, or swinging a racket or club. Years of shoulder wear and tear can also cause biceps tendon to become painful.
Degeneration in a tendon causes loss of the normal arrangement of the collagen fibers that join together to form the tendon. Due to degeneration, some of the individual strands of the tendon become jumbled and other fibers break which both cause the biceps tendon to lose strength.
Patients usually complain feeling of deep ache directly in front and top of the shoulder. The aching may spread down into the main part of the biceps muscles. Resting the shoulder generally eases the pain, however pain is worse if the patient continues to perform overhead activities. A catching or slipping sensation is felt near the top of the biceps muscle and that may suggest a tear of the transverse humeral ligament.
Patients medical history and a physical examination are perhaps the most important tools that your doctor or physiotherapist will use to diagnose the problem. It is crucial for your physiotherapist to know where your pain is, when it started, and what activities ease or aggravate the symptoms. Your physiotherapist will also physically examine your shoulder. First he will look at the way you hold your shoulder with your natural posture in sitting and standing. The positioning of your upper back and neck can also affect the functioning of your shoulder.
To reduce inflammation and swelling are the initial goals of the physical therapy treatment. Patients should restrict over-the-shoulder movements, reaching and lifting. Your physiotherapist may use electrical modalities such as ultrasound or electrical current. He will also encourage you to apply heat or ice frequently at home to reduce pain and inflammation.
Once the pain and inflammation are under control, your physiotherapist will focus on regaining strength, range of motion and ensure proper co-ordination of your shoulder. A number of stretching and strengthening exercises will be prescribed to you.
If the condition of patients improves with physical therapy treatment, they do not require a surgery. Surgery may only be recommended if the problem doesn’t go away and / or there is no noticeable improvement whatsoever. If you are based in Edmonton and have been experiencing symptoms of biceps tendonitis, make sure you immediately book an appointment with us and our professional physiotherapists will provide you the best treatment.