Biceps Tendon Rehabilitation
Dr. Howard Liss treats disorders that cause pain and disability by providing consultative services and soft tissue and joint injections when needed. When medically appropriate, he makes specific referrals for diagnostic testing (lab work, imaging, electrodiagnosis), physical and occupational therapy, interventional procedures (epidurals and facet joint injections), and surgery.
A general understanding of simple anatomy and movement of the bicep proves helpful as individuals learn about rehabilitation of the bicep tendon. For instance, as a true two joint muscle, the bicep runs from an area just above the shoulder to an area just below the elbow joint. Therefore, while the bicep flexes the elbow, it also aids in raising the arm. In the same way, there is a slight contraction of the short head of the bicep when individuals rotate their forearm and hand, causing their palm to face forward or upward. This is called wrist supination.
Generally, there are four types of bicep tendon injuries: tendonitis (acute) and tendonosis (chronic, usually from overuse), tendon dislocations, bicep tendon tear and bicep tendon impingement syndrome.
Often referred to as bicep tendinopathy, which is a broad term for a group of bicep injuries, symptoms may include any of the following:
- Pain in the anterior shoulder that may extend to the elbow
- Pain when performing overhead activities or positions that combine abduction and external rotation (when preparing to throw a football, for instance)
- Pain becomes worse when the shoulder, elbow or forearm is flexed
- Muscle weakness (may include a clicking sound)
- Symptoms subside with rest
Initial orthopedic and sports therapy treatment for bicep tendon injuries focuses on pain management and reducing inflammation. This may be accomplished with anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDS), corticosteroid injections, joint mobilization, acupuncture, dry needling, ice, rest or a combination of multiple modalities. In turn, assistive devices such as bracing or a bicep cuff may be used to stabilize the tendon during periods of rest.
Physiatrists are in a unique position to propose and manage treatment and rehabilitation for patients with bicep tendon injuries. Patient care is often a blend of conservative, tried and true methods. Once pain and inflammation are at bay, patients can better tolerate rehabilitation, including specific exercises and techniques to build strength, obtain better range of motion and flexibility. Joint stability and strength is enhanced through therapy aimed at strengthening the bicep, rotator cuff and scapula.
Patients benefit as physiatrists bridge multiple fields and knowledge relating to a wide variety of conditions. For example, while individuals may feel pain in their bicep, shoulder or elbow, exercises tailored to neck and thoracic posture are an important part of bicep tendon rehabilitation. Like the scapula, the neck and upper back affect the positioning of the shoulder. In other words, joint pain and inflammation in the cervical, or neck region, can alter shoulder movement and control, resulting in pain in the arm (including the bicep).
At the Howard Liss, M.D. Rehabilitation Institute in Tenafly, patients can rely on Dr. Liss to put together the right treatment, therapy and rehabilitation plan to ensure the most optimal outcome. Dr. Liss works closely with other specialists required to rehabilitate patients suffering from chronic pain or serious injuries, and Dr. Liss will refer patients as needed to ensure appropriate treatment. With extensive education and exposure to a variety of conditions that affect the cervical and lumbar spine, bones, nerves, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, brain, and spinal cord, Dr. Liss is uniquely positioned to help patients manage their pain and maximize their functioning.
For optimal, long-term functioning and a better quality of life, contact the Howard Liss, M.D. Rehabilitation Institute in Tenafly today.