Tendonitis and Nerve CompressionsDr. 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 consideration of tendonitis and nerve compression leads many to the same conclusion—carpal tunnel syndrome. Yet, while symptoms relating to tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome are similar on many levels, there is a very important distinction. Carpal tunnel syndrome involves the compression of a nerve in the wrist (median nerve). Tendonitis is simply inflammation of the tendon.
Tendonitis mostly develops through a repetitive activity or overuse of a tendon and can occur anywhere in the body where tendons are found. Symptoms vary depending on the area affected. For instance, individuals with rotator cuff tendonitis experience dull, yet persistent achiness that radiates to the upper arm. Pain is notably worse at night. Those with tennis elbow feel pain on the outer side of the elbow, while those with golfer’s elbow experience pain on the inner side of the elbow. In cases of jumper’s knee, individuals note pain below the kneecap. For cases of De Quervain’s disease, hand pain is apparent at the back of the wrist, near the thumb. In turn, Achilles tendonitis is a condition where individuals feel pain a few inches above the back of the heel. Even so, common symptoms associated with tendonitis of the upper extremities that affect the forearm, wrist and hand are listed below:
- Wrist pain
- Tingling sensation or weakness in the fingers
- Tightness in the forearm, wrist or hand
- Numbness in the hand and fingers
- Sensation of burning or swelling
- Pain on the front or back of the hand or wrist
- Tenderness on top of the affected tendon (sensitive to touch)
In some respects, nerves are prone to overload in the same way as tendons. For instance, when a nerve becomes pinched, or “compressed,” it’s usually a result of the pressure of repetitive movements. Interestingly, nerves are especially susceptible to becoming pinched when they are pressed between connective tissues such as tendons.
When it comes to nerve compression, there may or may not be pain at the point of compression. To better explain, pressure on a nerve root exiting the spine may result in neck pain for some people and back pain for others. In turn, the pain may travel from the neck to the shoulder or into the leg and foot. In the same way, when a nerve is compressed in the neck or arm, pain may be felt in the elbow, wrist, hand or fingers. Even so, below are some common symptoms relating to a compressed nerve:
- Radiating pain and sciatica
- Numbness and tingling
- Sensation of burning or “pins and needles”
- Feelings of weakness
Treatment and Rehabilitation for Tendonitis and Nerve Compression
Aside from causing frustration, tendonitis and nerve compression injuries can slow individuals down and may even result in loss of wages due to time off of work. Yet, the good news regarding tendons and nerves is that they can heal, and functioning can be restored with the right combination of treatment and rehabilitation.
With a multidisciplinary approach and extensive knowledge regarding multiple systems of the body, physiatrists are adept at designing treatment and rehabilitation that eases pain and improves functioning. They give consideration to both physiological and psychological components of therapy.
A multitude of conservative, non-surgical treatments are brought to the table, some of which include:
- Blood injections
- Corticosteroid injections
- Electrical stimulation
- Percutaneous tenotomy
- Laser therapy
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Ice and heat packs
At the Howard Liss, M.D. Rehabilitation Institute, 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.
To schedule an appointment, contact the Howard Liss, M.D. Rehabilitation Institute today.