Since I’ve been suffering from RSIs galore over the past few weeks, I decided to invite Alex Nordach, author of Target Tendonitis, for a brief interview. Hope this helps anyone else out there with tendon pain!
NL: Hi Alex, and welcome to the blog. Can you tell us a little about your background?
AN: Thanks for having me, Nadia. Sure, I can give you a quick overview. I’ve been involved in the health and fitness industry in one capacity or another for more than three decades. In that time, in addition to the usual knowledge about exercise and nutrition, I’ve developed some expertise about tendon pain. What causes it, and more importantly, what to do to fix it. I’m not a doctor, but I feel confident in saying that I know more about current research in the field than most medical professionals.
NL: Sounds good! I know I’ve been having a terrible time with my forearms and wrists lately… Any advice for writers who sit at the keyboard for hours a day?
AN: Well, any kind of RSI (repetitive stress injury) is due to an accumulation of small stresses, and so is most tendon pain. So one thing to do would be to change things like the height of your chair, your distance from the keyboard, which hand you mouse with, and the height of your wrist pad on a regular basis. Doing any or all of these will slightly change the angle you type at, and therefore will change the stress on your muscles and tendons. It’s not a cure-all by any means, but it will go a long way toward preventing pain from occurring in the first place.
NL: Are there any nutritional strategies you can use to help prevent or cure tendon pain?
AL: It really depends on the type of pain you have. Everyone thinks that any kind of tendon pain is automatically “tendonitis”, but the fact is that most cases of tendon pain are actually tendonosis. The difference is that tendonitis means that the tendons are inflamed. (In medical parlance, any kind of “itis” means inflammation.) Tendonosis, on the other hand, means actual fraying and degradation of the tendon, and can be more serious. If you have tendonitis — inflammation — there are some really good supplements you can take to help out. One of the best is Repair Gold, made by Enzymedica. Other than that, just adjusting your diet so that it has more in the way of good fats (fish oil, olive oil, etc.) will help out with general inflammation.
NL: I like that point about tendonitis versus tendonosis. That would explain why icing and taking aspirin hasn’t really helped me with my pain.
AN: Yeah, exactly. Those are both treatments for inflammation, but if you’ve had your pain for more than a couple of weeks, you probably have some sort of problem with the tendon itself. So icing and NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) like aspirin and ibuprofin aren’t going to help much. Unfortunately, most doctors are so used to calling tendon problems “tendonitis” that even they don’t make the distinction as often as they should. It’s been estimated that as much as 95% of tendon pain cases are actually tendonosis, no matter what they might be called.
NL: What about stretching? Is that good for tendon pain?
AN: Stretching certainly won’t hurt, and it would be a really good idea to take a break from typing once an hour or so and get up, stretch your forearms out and walk around for ten minutes or so. But stretching is more a preventive measure than something that you can do to cure yourself if you already suffer from pain.
NL: How about cortisone shots?
AN: I don’t recommend them. First of all, they don’t work for everyone. Second, their effects only last a short while. Third, if you get more than two or three in the same spot you run a risk of weakening the tendon, which of course you don’t want. Finally, cortisone shots are for inflammation, so they might help if you have tendonitis. If you have tendonosis, though, they won’t do any good at all. In that case there are specific exercises that you can do if you’re already suffering from pain, and that’s what I cover in my book, Target Tendonitis.
NL: I see. Okay, that’s good information. Where would someone go if they want to learn more about the subject?
AN: Well, you could check out my blog at the Target Tendonitis website. I’m happy to answer questions there if you have any. I also have articles up on various websites around the Internet, but if you want one-stop shopping most of them are collected at http://www.ezinearticles.com. Just do a search for Alex Nordach and they’ll come up.
NL: Great! Thanks for the interview.
AN: My pleasure, Nadia.