Alternatives to Opioids for Achilles Tendinitis
Achilles tendinitis is a common medical condition characterized by discomfort and pain near the heel. It is an Achilles tendon injury that commonly occurs in people who increase their running duration. The condition can also occur in people who play sports, like basketball and tennis.
Achilles tendinitis cause pain above the heel or in the back of the leg after sports activity like running. Most often, the condition begins as a mild ache, but pain can increase if the patient fails to seek proper treatment. Severe pain can result from stair climbing, prolonged running, and sprinting.
Common symptoms of Achilles tendinitis include stiffness and tenderness in the tendon or muscle of the heel. Call your health provider if you feel pain around the tendon. It is crucial to seek immediate treatment if you experience serve pain. Most often, severe pain is due to a ruptured or torn Achilles tendon.
Self-care measures such as rest, reduced sports activity, heat or cold compresses, and over-the-counter (OCT) drugs can relieve pain associated with tendinitis. However, if your symptoms are persistent, it is wise to seek medical attention immediately.
Medications: Most often, your doctor will prescribe NSAIDs, such as Advil, Morin IB, and ibuprofen, to relieve pain. Studies show that NSAIDs like naproxen and aspirin can also provide short-term pain relief. If these medications fail to provide comfort, you may take stronger drugs like opioids to reduce inflammation and pain.
Exercises: Certain strengthening and stretching exercises prescribed by therapists can promote healing and repair ruptured Achilles tendon. Strengthening exercises support structures in your legs and repair damaged cells.
Orthotic Devices: You can use a wedge or shoe insert to keep your heel elevated. That way, you can reduce strain on the damaged tendon. Wedges cushion the heel and reduce the pressure or force exerted on the damaged tendon.
Surgery: Conservative treatment options like NSAIDs, exercises, injections, and orthotic devices do not provide long-term pain relief. That’s why your health provider will advise you to undergo surgery to repair the torn Achilles tendon.
Gastrocnemius recession is the most common surgical procedure use to lengthen the calf muscles, which leads to less or no pain. However, you have to undergo a rehabilitation period of 2-3 months that involves physical therapy exercises and pain-relieving drugs like opioids.
Dangers of Opioids for Achilles Tendinitis
Two major categories of medications used in the Achilles tendons are analgesics, such as NSAIDs and opioids. Although opioids can reduce inflammation and pain, it causes a wide range of side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, indigestion, fatigue, dizziness, and drowsiness.
Studies show that long-term use of opioids can result in liver damage. These drugs can also cause gastrointestinal distress, sedation, addiction, and dependency. Therefore, it is best to look for alternative treatment options that do not lead to adverse effects. Otherwise, you can experience further health complications and feel more pain or discomfort.
Laser Therapy Treatment for Achilles Tendinitis
Laser therapy is a painless, non-invasive, and safe treatment option. It is a great alternative to medications, including NSAIDs and opioids, and invasive options like injections and surgeries. Laser therapy uses a low-level light that penetrates deep inside your Achilles tendon’s tissues and triggers cellular mechanisms to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
Promotes Healing of Ruptured Tendon
Laser light stimulates fibroblasts to increase collagen production that leads to tendon repair and healing. The increased fibroblast activity in the Achilles tendon allows the cells to undergo self-repair. As a result, you experience less discomfort and pain in your heel.
Increases Anti-inflammatory Activity
Numerous research studies have confirmed the anti-inflammatory benefits of laser therapy for a wide range of overuse injury conditions, including Achilles tendinitis. The photons entering your Achilles tendon causes vasodilation, which increases blood circulation and lymphatic drainage to reduce edema. Therefore, it reduces swelling in your heel caused by inflammation and bruising while speeding the recovery process.
Long-term Pain Relief
A few sessions of laser therapy can provide long-term pain relief. However, the number of sessions depends on the severity of your condition. It decreases pain and discomfort by blocking signals to the central and peripheral nervous system. The wavelength blocks the pain signals in your Achilles tendon and allows you to feel calm and relaxed. Lastly, laser therapy produces no side effects like opioids, NSAIDs, and surgery.
Contact Us Today
Get in touch with the team at OrthoLazer in Newburgh, NY today to discuss your questions and health issues to discover if OrthoLazer’s M8 Robotic Laser Therapy is the correct treatment for your needs.
We can then book you in to see our specialist pain relief physician at our Newburgh practice that can personalize the program for your specific needs, begin the pain relief process which will have significant impact on improving your quality of life.