Your bicep muscle actually consists of two different muscles, a long head, and a short head. Biceps tendonitis is an inflammation or irritation of the upper, long head biceps tendon. This strong, cord-like structure connects the proximal end of the biceps muscle to the bones in the shoulder, assisting with upward movements of the shoulder.
Most damage to the biceps tendon is due to a long repetitive period of overhead activities. As we get older our tendons gradually weaken with daily deterioration. This progression of weakening can be accelerated by overuse [repeating the same shoulder motions again and again]. Swimming, tennis, and baseball are some sports examples of repetitive overhead activities.
Pain in the front of the shoulder and weakness are common symptoms of biceps tendonitis. They can often be relieved with rest and medication. In some cases, surgery is necessary to repair the tendon.
Rest and avoid overhead activity.
Ice. Apply ice for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day, to keep swelling down. Don’t apply ice directly to the skin.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines [NSAID’s]. Drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen help reduce pain and swelling (consult your doctor or pharmacist).
Physical therapy: An individual plan of stretching and strengthening exercises will be given to you after and evaluation by a licensed physical therapist, which will allow for gains in range of motion and strengthen your shoulder. Making sure you gain back your range of motion (ROM) is priority. Once ROM has been restored to your functional level before the injury occurred, then the regaining of muscle strength will be the focus of treatment. Use of the ipsilateral [same side] hand should still be available for activities of daily living [ADL’s], such as eating, cooking, bathing, cleaning, etc.
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