Non-surgical treatment of biceps tendinitis
Treatment for biceps tendinitis aims at decreasing irritation and inflammation, which will also reduce pain and restore mobility in the arm and shoulder. Initial treatments usually include:
- Rest: Resting the shoulder and arm will give the irritation and inflammation a chance to resolve and prevent further damage. The person should avoid overhead activities and lifting.
- Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) help to relieve pain and reduce tendon swelling. Examples of these include naproxen and ibuprofen.
- Ice: Cold packs or ice packs can also help decrease swelling and promote comfort.
- Exercise: Once the initial inflammation of the tendon has subsided, your healthcare professional can recommend gentle exercises that focus on stretching and strengthening. These exercises help restore mobility and rebuild strength. Wait to resume overhead activities until your therapist or physician tells you it’s safe to do so.
Surgery for biceps tendinitis
Arthroscopic surgery is sometimes recommended for biceps tendinitis if the shoulder joint is unstable. It is also helpful when pressure is exerted on the tendon by the bones of the shoulder.
In this procedure, the surgeon makes small incisions through the skin and inserts a fiber optic camera through one of the incisions via an arthroscope. Then, images of the inside of the shoulder are viewed on a monitor, and the doctor inserts tiny surgical instruments through other small incisions to repair the shoulder structures.
Physical therapy is often recommended following surgery for biceps tendinitis to ensure successful rehabilitation and recovery.