I’ve always had issues with tendinopathy – from wrist tendonitis to achilles tendon injuries, shoulder tendon strain, and elbow tendonitis – I don’t remember when it started as I’ve always had these issues, even from a young age (pre-teen).
The biggest injury occurred when I destroyed my tendons in my wrists and hands working at a law firm around 2013, it then spread up into my forearms and elbows when I was training horses. A doctor told me I was about to lose the use of my hands by the age of 40, so I stopped training and basically did lose all use of them for about 4-5 years.
I’m still fighting elbow and wrist tendonitis, and that may be due to Lyme inflammation which attacks collagen, causes system-wide inflammation, and doesn’t allow the tendons to heal properly.
In the last three years, I’ve had great luck with dietary changes that reduce inflammation and specifically fight Lyme, supplementing collagen and tendon-specific herbs, and adding protein and exercise to help keep my muscles strong so I rely less on my tendons.
Here’s an in-depth research study/discussion on tendinopathy, it’s potential causes, and the effects of glycyrrhizin (licorice) on a tendon’s ability to heal. From this study:
“Inflammation is thought to be a major characteristic to the development of tendinopathy.”
Lyme Inflammation: A Major Cause of Tendinopathy?
This link to inflammation is very important, as I find my tendon issues flare when other signs of inflammation are present. My general symptoms of inflammation (besides tendon pain) are mild upper respiratory infections, anxiety, fatigue and muscle pain, swollen glands and tonsils, dizziness and brain fog, tinnitus, vision changes that go back to normal once the inflammation subsides, horrible cramps and PMS, throwing up on the first day of my period (an ultrasound showed uterine fluid/inflammation), bloating and stomach issues, and so much more.
One of my main inflammation triggers is gluten, and recently I’ve noticed a link between eating gluten and having a gland in my neck swell (one of the reasons I shouldn’t cheat on my diet!).
I've had great luck with dietary changes that reduce inflammation, supplementing collagen and tendon-specific herbs, and adding protein and exercise to help keep my muscles strong so I rely less on my tendons.
Natural Tendinopathy Treatment Using Herbs:
Herbs that support the muscles and tendons: many of these herbs help with muscle fatigue – which can have a knock-on effect of putting less stress on tendons. Links lead to my research-based posts for individual herbs:
- Bee Pollen/Royal Jelly
- Chlorella – one of my daily herbs – can help with the regenerative capacity of muscles (research article on NCBI).
- Cissus Quadrangularis THIS IS THE BIG ONE FOR ME – TAKEN DAILY!
- Evening Primrose
- Fo-Ti – one of my daily herbs
- Ginger Root – one of my daily herbs
- Ginseng (Panax, Siberian) – one of my daily herbs. This study investigates the beneficial and strengthening effects of ginseng on rat tail tendon collagen.
- Gotu Kola
- Jiaogulan (Gynostemma) – one of my daily herbs. Effects of Polysaccharides from Gynostemma Pentaphyllum (Thunb.), Makino on Physical Fatigue. There’s also some equine research by Dr. Eleanor Kellon that has led to supplementation of Jiaogulan for horses with tendinopathies with good results.
- Licorice Root – one of my occasional herbs. See the “in-depth research study/discussion” link at the top of the page.
- Manjistha – one of my daily herbs taken for swollen glands.
- Rosemary – I grow this herb and use it in recipes often when in season.
- Rose hips
- Sarsparilla Root
- Spirulina – one of my daily herbs, also given daily to my horse with allergy issues.
Herbs specific to muscle relaxation:
- Lemon balm – I grow this herb and use it in recipes when in season.
- Valerian Root – one of my daily herbs for anxiety and muscle relaxation.
A Brief Stint of Healthy Tendons, Gut, and Overall Health
In 2018 I tried the keto diet, and had amazing results as far as reduced inflammation (no symptoms!) and no tendon pain. I didn’t stay on the diet as I lost way too much weight, but I’ve modified that diet to include lower carbs from most sources with the exception of fruits and vegetables; this lower carb diet that eliminates most processed foods and excess sugar is doing well for me, but I still have flares on occasion whereas I didn’t have any while on keto.
For more on the dietary changes that have helped me, visit my Lyme Diet and Meal Planning page.
This site is still in it’s early days, and as my research progresses I’ll be adding more links and info to these pages. At the very least, it should provide others with a good place to begin their own research. Feel free to comment your own experiences with Lyme inflammation and herbs that have helped with tendon and muscle issues!
More Tendonitis Specific Research:
Luigi Pozzoli on Unsplash