Tendons are rope-like structures made of collagen fibers that join the muscles to the bones, which means that as you go about your day to day chores, your tendons take more heat than even the bones and the muscles.
Add to this the fact that they are not particularly elastic yet offer a spring like mechanism, which keeps the joints and the bones moving in the right direction, and it easy to understand why inflamed, torn and broken tendons are common place.
When subjected to constant stress or a sudden acute insult, tendons will often tear. You can compare this effect to the fraying of a rope that is put through more strain than it can handle or one that gets damaged over time. Much like the threads of the frayed rope, the collagen fibers of the tendons snap.
Of course, this does not mean that the tendon completely gives way; just that it gets weakened due to the breaking of the collagen strands. Now, unlike a rope, the problem with the ripped collagen fibers is that they inevitably lead to an inflammatory response from the body, as do all injuries.
Which Areas Of The Body Are Prone To Tendon Damage?
Broken tendons are painful and often result in an ongoing pain. While tendons in any part of the body can break, the parts we use the most are more likely to suffer from broken or pulled tendons.
Areas that are vulnerable to broken tendons include elbows, shoulders, hips, wrists, knee, ankle, and heel. When it comes to healing broken, torn out or pulled tendons, essential oils are known to do a commendable job.
Compared to medicines and other popular therapies, they are fastest at healing broken tendons. Before we delve into how essential oils can be useful in healing broken tendons, let’s understand what causes them in first place.
What Causes Torn & Ruptured Tendons?
- Injury or trauma including sprains and strains;
- Overusing a muscle too much; and
Sudden injury or an accident might pull a tendon causing unbearable pain and trauma. In such situation, first thing that is recommended is rest. Rest will also allow the essential oils to do their work in the best possible manner.
It is easy to overuse a muscle by suddenly doing something that the muscle is not used to. In addition, not warming up and cooling down properly before and after a workout leads to lactic acid build up, which expands through the muscles affected and brings about broken tendons, pain and stiffness.
Stress and anxiety can also make the muscles tense, especially in the shoulder and neck area, and therefore cause broken tendons.
Stress and anxiety can also make the muscles tense, especially in the shoulder and neck area, and therefore causing broken tendons.
Facts About Torn & Ruptured Tendons
The two images below show 17 facts about broken tendons.
How Can Essential Oils Help With A Torn Tendon And The Pain That Results From Tendon Strain And Rupture?
Unlike modern medicine, alternative therapies are not just about quick and temporary control of the pain. Essential oils offer multi-pronged benefits that help to deal with the core cause of the tendon pain as well as all the symptoms of the condition.
So, they work as both prevention and treatment. Here is how essential oils can be used in a systematic manner to deal with tendinopathy:
- The inflammation: Essential oils are remarkably effective when used against inflammation. They not only bring down the swelling but also speed up the removal of nitric oxide and accumulated lymph fluids. Furthermore, these extracts act on the inflammatory mechanism itself by modulating the immune system to limit the release of inflammatory proteins.
- The healing: With inflammatory modulators out of the scene and the toxins and accumulated fluids gone, there is a lower risk of a heightened immune response. So, the tissue heals faster. Plus, some essential oils actually support the quick regeneration of connective tissue.
- The pain: When inflammation is brought under control, pain begins to spiral down. Along with pain goes away the stress caused by it, which causes cortisol levels to plunge, further reducing the risk of widespread inflammation in the body.
- The need to move: Because essential oils control pain on the spot, without impacting gastric or liver health like OTC painkillers, they present a pain and side effect free way to start stretching and working out the injured tendon. This along with the ability of essential oils to boost circulation, helps the tendon to heal into a stronger version of its former self.
How To Use Essential Oils For A Torn & Ruptured Tendon And Other Problems Related To Tendon Health?
One of the prime benefits of using essential oils is that they can be integrated in multiple ways in the treatment plan. For example:
- Pain relief on the triple: A blend that contains heating and cooling oils can offer quick relief from pain, no matter how severe it is.
- Soothing those sore tendons: When used as massage oils, essential oil blends work towards preventing the aggravation of an existing condition as well as towards healing the damage that has already been done.
- Bathe to heal those tendons: If the dull pain is radiating to the surrounding areas, a soothing essential oil soak can help to alleviate the pain and the inevitable mental distress caused by it.
- The hot and the cold of it: Instead of regular cold and heat therapy, when essential oils are added to the mix, they not only bring down inflammation more rapidly but also increase the rate of tissue regeneration significantly.
- Keeping things in place: In case of broken tendons, the connective strands need to be held in place to allow them to recover faster. A poultice can get the job done, but if you want more from the herbs, adding essential oils to the mix can do the trick.
- Taking away the stress: Finally, the relaxing and calming scent of these oils can help to fight off the sleep problems/insomnia brought on by the pain. Of course, they also help to soothe frayed nerves just as they do frayed collagen fibers
Best 4 Essential Oils For Torn & Ruptured Tendons
Keeping that in mind, here are some of the best essential oils to use for healing broken tendons and eliminating the pain:
Lemongrass is a superlative oil for healing tendons. It regenerates the connective tissue, repairs the broken tendons and helps in regulating the blood flow.
Marjoram helps with muscle spasms / discomfort, rheumatism, strains and sprains. It reduces the tension between muscles and tendons, thus helping in the repair of broken tendons.
Wintergreen is helpful in rheumatism and muscular soreness and discomfort. It is also known for its ability to alleviate pain in muscle tissues, offering a cortisone like action due to its high content of methyl salicylate.
Wintergreen is also an all-natural anti-inflammatory. If you believe muscle soreness is the cause for your frequent instances of broken tendons, wintergreen is the oil to use.
In addition to what peppermint is popularly known for (irritable bowel syndrome, colds, headaches, sore muscles, sinus congestion and much more) I generally use it to intensify the effect of other oils I am using.
Oregano, lemon, lavender, helichrysum, cypress, birch, rosemary and sweet basil are some other essential oils to consider for the healing of broken tendons.
Recommended Recipes For The Best Possible Relief In Broken, Torn & Ruptured Tendons
Recipe 1: For Broken Tendons
Mix 2-3 drops each of wintergreen, birch and lemongrass in 2 tsp of jojoba or sweet almond oil and apply on the damaged tissue. Layering the impacted area with 2 drops peppermint after a couple of minutes might help “drive” the essential oils deeper within the cells. Using a warm compress can also be beneficial. Follow this procedure 2-3 times daily until muscle soreness is reduced.
Recipe 2: For Torn & Ruptured Tendons
Put in your carrier oil (use 2 ounces of fractionated coconut oil):
- 10 drops of peppermint
- 7 drops of marjoram
- 5 drops of oregano
- 6 drops of rosemary
- 3 drops of cypress
Mix all the ingredients in a dark colored bottle and roll it back and forth for a minute or so to warm the essential oils and mix them properly. Use this blend straight out of the bottle and gently massage on the damaged tendon.
You can also apply this using a warm cloth. In order to open the pores, place the warm cloth over the impacted area for few minutes. Thereafter, apply the blend and massage for at least 5 minutes. Make use of a spray bottle if the injury is too distressing to massage. For serious injuries, add 2-3 drops of helichrysum.
Essential Oils For Tendon Pain
Tendon pain is more deep seated than muscle pain and typically on or around the joints. The best way to describe it would be a dull, deep ache that gets sharper when the affected area/joint is moved.
Depending on how intense the injury/inflammation is, the area right above/around the affected tendon may be tender to touch and will feel warm. Although the swelling in case of tendon strain, tear and inflammation is mild, the pain and the swelling can build up over time.
The development may often seem sudden because people tend to ignore/get used to the discomfort in the initial stages, given its dullness. In some cases, calcium deposits may eventually become a part of the ailment’s spectrum and that is when things go from dull ache to excruciating agony.
That said, pain is always a red flag raised by the body, a clear indication of trouble about to hit. Hence, it is best tackled sooner than later. So, even if the soreness is mild at first, try this healing, pain relieving blend.
Ingredients for the pain relief blend
- 5 drops each eucalyptus and peppermint
- 3 drops German chamomile
- 4 drops Lemon
- 2 drops oregano
- 30 ml carrier oil (virgin olive, mustard seed or sweet almond)
Mix all the oils together and store in a dark glass bottle, away from direct exposure to sunlight, heat and moisture. You will only need a few drops of this blend for each use. Remember to put the cap back on tight after use.
If the pain is a new development, start by soothing the area with a cold pack. Although you can use a regular cold pack or even a bag of frozen peas on the area, I recommend this arctic cool concoction:
Fill a large salad bowl half way through with water. Add a heaped tablespoon of Himalayan pink salt or sea salt to it. Stir till the crystals dissolve. Mix 2 drops peppermint and 3 drops geranium oil with a teaspoon of milk and add to the water.
Throw in 8-10 ice cubes or enough to get the level of water to a few inches below the rim. Stir the “arctic cool” concoction and soak a small towel in it, wring gently and use this to treat the sore area. For the first 48 hours, use this three times a day.
Wipe the treated area dry and then follow immediately with the pain relief blend. Apply using gentle, circular strokes with minimum downward pressure. Cover the entire affected area, even going a few inches beyond it.
Essential Oils For Tendon Inflammation
The link between pain and inflammation is both complex and cyclic. Inflammation causes swelling and as the bulging tissue presses against the other structures, pain comes into the picture. But as the intensity of the pain increases, so does the inflammation. More inflammation leads to more pain and the vicious cycle continues unless stopped at some point.
Also, persistent inflammation can lead to chronic pain and heightened nerve response to the discomfort. Think of it this way, constant inflammation calls for the nerves to continuously send pain signals to the brain. Over time, these receptors develop heightened sensitivity to pain impulses.
Once this happens, even light stimulation, which would otherwise/normally not be painful leads to discomfort. The heightened nerve excitability (hyperalgesia) is often a result of damage to some CNS components.
So to cut a long story short, inflammation should be dealt with immediately and here is a blend that will help you to do just that:
Ingredients for the inflammation-relief blend
- 5 drops copaiba and thyme
- 7 drops each myrrh and German chamomile
- 3 drops cinnamon (cinnamon bark oil)
- 8 drops each of palma rosa, turmeric and mandarin
- 30 ml carrier oil (fractionated coconut or calendula infused)
- 10 ml flaxseed oil
Making the blend simply involves mixing all the oils together and storing them in an amber/blue glass bottle. Depending on just how sore the area is to touch, apply the oil as you would an ointment or use it to massage the sore bits. Don’t play rough house with your joints; if there is inflammation, they have already been through a fair bit of suffering.
The ministrations are meant to gently stimulate circulation and aid in the removal of accumulated toxins and metabolic waste. So, massage with upward strokes, facilitating the faster and more efficient movement of lymphatic fluids. Use this blend twice a day for 2 weeks.
For chronic inflammation, dilute further by using 80 ml carrier oil with the same quantity of essential oils and continue to use for up to 2 months then take a break of 1-2 weeks.
Whether the inflammation is acute or chronic, for one week, use a night time oil bandage as such:
Make a blend by mixing together 30 ml coconut oil (fractionated will do if virgin isn’t available) with 1 heaped tsp licorice root powder, 6 drops each of peppermint and lavender oils, 4 drops sweet basil and 2 drops clove oil.
You will need enough gauze bandage to go around the sore joint/area a few times, some plastic wrap and crepe/compression bandage. Generously apply the blend on the affected joint. Add some more carrier oil to what remains and soak the gauze bandage in it.
Wrap the affected joint with the oil-soaked bandage and then with a round of dry gauze bandage. To keep the oil from being soaked up by your clothes/bed cover, cover the area with some plastic wrap and finally restrict mobility with the use of crepe bandage, but don’t wrap it too tight. You are not trying to restrict blood flow here.
Leave it on overnight. After seven days stop this treatment and continue only with the inflammation-relief blend. You can reuse the oil bandage treatment whenever the pain is too intense.
Essential Oils For Tendon Repair
The problem with tendons is that they are simply not as metabolically active as the muscles, which means that they don’t get as much blood supply as the muscles. Unfortunately, lower oxygenation and lesser availability of blood means slower healing and repair time. This is one of the reasons for the chronic nature of tendon injuries.
Also, lower metabolic activity equates to the slower clearing of toxins and accumulated fluids. This greatly increases the risk of inflammation and further slows down the repair process. So, when you are dealing with a tendon tear or any kind of micro or macro trauma involving the tendons, the first order of the day should be to boost circulation.
Next in line is, of course, inflammation control and finally, you also need to offer help from the outside to speed the synthesis of collagen in the affected area.
Initially, rest is certainly recommended, but once the affected tendon is on the mend, gentle stretches and exercises can help much to ensure that once healed, the tendon is as strong as or even stronger than what it used to be. Here is two pronged approach that can help.
The tendon repair blend
- 10 drops wintergreen and lemon
- 12 drops palo santo (or Frankincense)
- 6 drops thyme
- 8 drops each sweet marjoram and basil
- 75 ml carrier oil
Mix the oils and store in a dark glass bottle. Use as you would a massage oil on the affected tendon, joint and the surrounding areas. Massage in upward direction but don’t press down too hard.
Use this blend twice a day for best results till the tendon heals completely. You can apply this blend before stretching the healing tendon.
A poultice to help speed the recovery
- 1 tbsp golden seal root powder
- 1 tbsp green tea (regular green tea leaves, matcha or any other herbal infusion with green tea in it)
- 1 inch piece of ginger
- 1 tsp carrier oil
- 4 drops each of turmeric and geranium essential oil
Put all the ingredients (all the dry powders and the oils) in the food processor with a few tablespoons of warm water. Process for 1-2 minutes till you get a smooth paste. Apply on the affected part in a thick layer and cover with gauze strips soaked in green tea or lemon hydrosol. Cover with cling wrap and then with crepe tape.
Place a heating pad on the bandaged area, treating the sore tendon to heat therapy for about 20 minutes. Let the poultice stay in place for 2-3 hours then remove and wash the area with warm water. Using this poultice once a day significantly speeds up the healing process. The poultice can be used both in the resting and the stretching phases of recovery.
That said, you can stop using it once the pain becomes tolerable, which is a clear sign of recovery. But, continue using the healing oil blend till complete recovery is achieved. Typically, using the poultice for 4-5 days after an injury or strain on the tendon will be enough to get you to the halfway point in the recovery process.
Keeping the pain in control as you heal
Stretching a tendon on its way to recovery after a tear/rupture is hardly a pleasurable task. Of course, there will be pain, and it can be quite the deterrent. So, deal with it as soon as it hits by mixing 6 drops each of black pepper and peppermint oils and 4 drops each of lavender and cypress essential oils in 30 ml of a carrier oil of your choice.
Store in a bottle with a roller ball head. Use immediately after stretching or even before to keep the pain in control. In case of intense pain, add 5 drops of wintergreen oil to the blend. But this one should be reserved only for when the pain is too much to bear.
Essential Oils For Tendon Degeneration Due To Autoimmune Disorders
The problem with tendon degeneration that results from auto-immune ailments or chronic strain is that the condition does not always involve inflammation, certainly not after the initial phase.
Although the pain is chronic and often intense, tendon biopsies have revealed that in such cases, there is no inflammation but the presence of a significantly higher amount of the neurotransmitter glutamate in the affected area.
Despite this, NSAIDs and steroid injections are often recommended for chronic tendinopathies of the Achilles and patellar tendons. Needless to say, at best these only offer temporary relief from the pain. Unfortunately, when you look for information on essential oils for such conditions, there is a lot of repetition of inaccuracies.
The logic here is if you are not dealing with an inflammatory condition, anti-inflammatory oils may not help much if they don’t influence the levels of glutamate and glutamate receptors in any way.
Yes, pain relief is needed but this should not come at the cost of immune stimulation, particularly if an auto-immune disorder is to be blamed for the degeneration of the connective tissue. In fact, stimulating the immune system will cause further harm.
So, here is a blend that can control the pain without boosting the immune system. It contains oils that speed up the healing of connective tissue as well as those that keep a check on glutamate levels and glutamate receptors. You will need:
- 5 drops each of turmeric and coriander
- 4 drops each of oregano and ginger
- 6 drops juniper berry
- 8 drops each of bergamot and lavender
- 60 ml carrier oil (Black seed oil/ arnica infused oil preferred)
Mix the oils and store in a dark glass bottle. Use twice a day when the pain is intense and just once for the deep dull ache that often results from such conditions.
If the pain is intense, use a mixture of 5 drops each of laurel leaf and cinnamon leaf, 6 drops calamus root and 7 drops peppermint essential oils in 30 ml carrier oil. You can use this blend in combination with the one above, but space the applications 4-5 hours apart.
Do a patch test for both blends before using them. If you intend to use them continuously, always take a break for 1 week after 4 weeks of consistent application to give your body the time to purge out the leftover bioactive compounds from the system.
Damage control bath
Because auto-immune related tendon issues are not just limited to one area/joint of the body, here is a “damage-control” bath that will assist in healing without impacting the immune response in any way. You will need:
- 1 cup Epsom salt
- ½ cup Himalayan pink salt/sea salt
- 4 drops Clary sage
- 5 drops each geranium and Roman chamomile
- 1 tsp milk (dairy/plant)
Mix the essential oils with 1 tsp of milk and set aside. Draw a hot bath and mix the salts and the milk-oil blend in the water, while the tub is half way full. Agitate the water to dissolve the salt crystals and disperse the oils.
Fill the tub all the way and agitate the water one more time before soaking yourself in its healing goodness for 20-30 minutes. Do this every alternate day when the pain is intense and 2 to 3 times a week once the pain dulls.
Handling the trauma of pain
Even on its own, pain, whether chronic or acute, leads to stress. Then, there are all those sleepless nights that add to the mental distress. Put these together, and you end up with sky rocketing cortisol levels. The bad news is that cortisol can greatly impede the healing process by adding to the body’s inflammatory response.
So, when you are battling an injury of any kind, it is crucial to keep your stress levels in check. Fortunately, essential oils make quick work of lowering cortisol levels in the body. The best part is that the right blend can help you to take that trip to dreamland, despite the hurdle of pain.
- For day time use, opt for a blend that contains 3 drops of lime and 2 drops of sandalwood essential oils. Use in a reed diffuser or in aromatherapy jewelry or simply put a few drops on a handkerchief, and this will keep you going through the day, despite the pain.
For night, diffuse vetiver and lavender essential oils in 1:1 proportion. An ultrasonic diffuser works best for this blend but don’t keep it on for more than 15-30 minutes
Few Other Tips On The Application Of Essential Oils For Maximum Relief
- You can expect relief using a single oil or a blend of multiple oils.
- In order to spread the oil over a larger space, use carrier oils like Coconut and Olive oil.
- You may use a hot / cool moist towel to help essential oils penetrate deeper. Alternatively, a heat pack or a cold pack can be used depending on your injury.
If you have strained, sprained or torn a tendon, essential oils can take the pain out of the healing procedure and make it less tedious. I personally recommend the tips mentioned above to speed up the healing and make the repair process easier for your body.
Recommended Product For Tendon Inflammation & Pain
The all-natural L’orpur Pain Relief blend contains a blend of essential and carrier oils in a proprietary mix specifically design to target all pain areas. All you need is apply a few drops to the affected area twice daily for maximum relief. No measuring, blending, mixing, diluting, etc. is required, thus saving you time and money!