Conventional pain-relief drugs aren't always effective at treating tendonitis, and the list of side effects can be off-putting, so where do you turn? Cannabidiol (CBD) could offer a natural alternative that is gentle enough to use every day. In the blog, we explore the possibility of using CBD for tendonitis so you can get back on your feet again.
What is tendonitis and who does it affect?
Tendons connect your muscles to the bones in your joints. If they are overused or overloaded, they can swell up causing what's known as tendonitis. Common symptoms include pain, joint stiffness, and difficulty moving. You might also have noticed a grating or crackling sensation when you move.
Mild tendonitis can be treated at home and it usually gets better within two to three weeks. To speed up your recovery and manage the pain, you should:
- Avoid moving the tendon for two to three days
- Use an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel
- Wear a support, such as a tube bandage or a brace
Tendonitis can affect anyone regardless of their age, but it's common in sportspeople and workers in physically demanding jobs, such as construction.
Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a form of tendonitis that occurs when you make the same movement over and over, causing the tendons to become overworked.
When it relates to different parts of the body, you might also see it referred to as:
- Golfer’s elbow (inside of the elbow)
- Tennis elbow (outside of the elbow)
- Achilles tendonitis
- Swimmer’s shoulder
Over-the-counter pain killers can help to manage the pain of tendonitis in the short-term, but some medicines like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can cause unpleasant side effects.
CBD oil may be able to offer an effective and natural alternative to NSAIDs, mild enough to use regularly and well tolerated by most people.
Can CBD oil help with tendonitis?
Inflammation is part of the body's natural immune response - the increase in blood flow brings with it oxygen and essential nutrients that are required to heal an injury. However, too much can lead to pain, tenderness, and difficulty moving.
CBD (cannabidiol) is thought to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain relief) properties, which could help treat tendonitis. Clinical studies into the effects of CBD have found promising results, which is backed up by anecdotal evidence.
One study published in the European Journal of Pain looked at rats with arthritis - a risk factor for tendonitis. The researchers applied a transdermal CBD product to the rats every day for four days and found a significant drop in inflammation and pain¹.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, many of their members are already using CBD oil for pain relief with some reporting improvements in their physical function².
The potential of CBD to reduce inflammation and manage pain holds a great deal of promise for people who are looking for an alternative way to treat their tendonitis.
How does CBD actually work?
CBD is one of over a hundred compounds found naturally in the cannabis plant. It has been used for decades as a therapeutic aid to treat a range of conditions and is considered to have a good safety profile by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
It works by interacting with the body's own endocannabinoid system (ECS) - a series of receptors that sends messages around the body to maintain our homeostasis. The ECS plays a part in regulating sleep, mood, memory, and even the immune system.
There are two cannabinoid receptors that you need to be aware of:
- CB1 receptors - found in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord)
- CB2 receptors - found in the peripheral nervous system, such as your organs
It is thought that CBD interacts with the CB2 receptors to help the body regulate its immune response, which could help reduce inflammation and pain.
How to take CBD oil for tendonitis
There are lots of ways to take CBD - it can be ingested, inhaled, or applied topically. The cause of your pain will help you decide which CBD product to use.
If your tendonitis is caused by arthritis pain then you might benefit from taking a CBD supplement every day or a tincture (drops). This will ensure that the CBD stays in your system for longer, which is good for helping chronic conditions, like arthritis.
However, if your pain is caused by an injury then a topical product, like a joint gel or muscle balm, might work better. It can be applied directly to the site of the pain for on-the-spot relief, then reapplied as and when needed throughout the day.
If you're looking for a CBD ointment for tendonitis, we recommend using a product like Four Five's joint gel. Developed by retired athlete, Dom Day, it contains hemp extract alongside glucosamine and arnica, which have natural anti-inflammatory properties.
There is no recommended dosage for treating tendonitis, it is a matter of gradually increasing your dose until you achieve the desired effect. For help with dosing, arrange a no-obligation chat with the staff at Origin'40 or read our online dosage guide.
How to buy CBD safely
If you're just starting out on your CBD journey and you're unsure what you're looking for then follow these top tips from the experts at Origin'40.
- Make sure the ingredients listed on the packaging are what's actually inside by asking to see the product's third-party lab-tested 'certificate of analysis'.
- Look for natural ingredients combined with high quality CBD that is extracted from organically grown hemp, free from pesticides and heavy metals.
You might see some CBD products referred to as broad-spectrum or isolate. There are three different forms of CBD that contain slightly different, but important, ingredients.
Full-spectrum CBD includes other cannabinoids from the cannabis plant, like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), terpenes and flavonoids. These natural compounds are believed to enhance the effects of CBD in what's known as the entourage effect. However bear in mind that these other cannabinoids are not permitted by the World Anti Doping Administration.
CBD isolate has only pure cannabidiol with no other compounds. And somewhere in between is broad-spectrum CBD, which contains other cannabinoids but no THC.
CBD products sold in health food shops in the UK all contain less than 0.2% THC, to meet the legal requirements set by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). In the US, this responsibility falls to the Food and Drug Administration or FDA.
The key takeaway - CBD and tendonitis
Tendonitis is a painful condition that can leave you laid-up for days. Inflammation is the body's way of fixing a problem but too much can be unhelpful. CBD is thought to have natural anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that could help treat tendonitis.
CBD taken as a tincture or as a supplement every day is ideal for helping chronic conditions, but for an injury, a topical application is best. It can be applied as and when needed for on-the-spot relief from red, swollen and painful tendons.
Though cannabidiol is regulated in the UK and considered safe to use, you should always buy from a reputable retailer who can prove the contents of their products. Look for high-quality hemp that is grown organically with natural ingredients.
If you're just starting out on your CBD journey, then no doubt you'll have lots of questions. We are here to help - visit us in store or chat to us online for advice and guidance on choosing the right products and finding a routine that works for you.
- Johnson, Jon, Medical News Today [online] Does CBD oil work for chronic pain management? [updated 4 Nov 2020; cited 12 Oct 2021] Available from: https://bit.ly/3AtRWN7
- Arthritis Foundation [online] Patients tell us about CBD use [updated 8 Aug 2019; cited 12 Oct 2021] Available from: https://bit.ly/3vb9QmT