It's Tendonitis, Not Joint Pain


Tendonitis is an unbelievably common pain syndrome which can strike in many different areas of the anatomy.  The condition is sometimes diagnosed as tendonalgia or tendon pain.

Tendonalgia is typically a chronic disorder which affects one or more of the tendons of the body and is one of the most prevalent of all psychosomatic pain syndromes.  A vast majority of tendon symptoms are misdiagnosed as coming from the nearby joint.  This helps explain why many of the therapies used for these incorrectly identified joint concerns fail.

This essay examines one of the most widely suffered chronic pain syndromes and it psychogenic origins.

What is Tendonitis?

Tendonalgia is characterized by pain and possible inflammation in one or more bodily tendons. Tendons are the sinewy connective tissues which attach muscle to bone and are found all over the human anatomy.  The most common locations for tendon pain are experienced in the wrist, knee, shoulder, ankles, fingers and hips.

Tendonalgia is often misdiagnosed as another painful condition, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis, torn meniscus or torn rotator cuff, depending on the area affected by the tendon pain.

As previously discussed, tendons exist in the major joints and since pain is elicited upon movement, physicians often blame the joint itself for enacting the suffering. Diagnostic imaging will usually substantiate this theory with the evidence of arthritis in the joint.

Meanwhile, the patient may not know that arthritis is normal and universal in all the major joints of the body and that the structural changes are likely to be coincidental to the agonizing expression that is actually affecting their tendons.

Tendonitis Causes

Tendon pain can be caused by overuse or abuse of any affected area. These types of tendonalgias typically resolve by themselves, with no treatment necessary, and do not cause long lasting symptoms.

Minor or moderate injury to the tendons is possible, especially during significant trauma or athletic events. Tendons can only stretch so far before they might develop small rips or complete tears. These more serious events might necessitate medical, or even surgical treatment, to fully resolve.

Some chronic tendonalgia concerns are a result of simple oxygen deprivation to the affected region. This ischemic process can affect the nerves, muscles, ligaments and tendons in the bodily area, individually or as a group.

Most ischemic pain syndromes are driven by a psychosomatic symptom imperative and are therefore typically misdiagnosed by care providers as stemming from a structural source.

Tendonitis Advice

Dr. John Sarno is famous for equating tendonalgia with his tension myositis syndrome diagnosis. He theorizes that tendon pain is a common back pain substitute symptom and a TMS equivalent.

As a drummer for many years, I had hand and wrist pain for most of my early life. I inquired with several doctors about these pains and most simply dismissed them as coming from overuse. Not one used the word tendonitis. Sometimes, these pains were very severe, especially in the years prior to my developing severe acute back pain at age 16.

As a teenager, the carpal tunnel diagnostic fury was beginning and at least several doctors thought that was the reason for my horrible wrist pain. Thank God I never bought into that diagnosis and pursued the recommended surgical treatment.

Well, the tendon pain in my wrists went away for good after my back pain began. This proves the link between the 2 psychosomatic pain syndromes and reinforces Dr. Sarno’s theory.

In the many years since the resolution of my wrist pain, I have been diagnosed with a wide range of concerns due to martial arts injuries, which I ignored and basically treated as tendonalgia syndromes. My shoulders were an occasional problem and my knees were very bad.

I was diagnosed with a torn meniscus twice from martial arts training, but always thought the structural tear was coincidental and that the pain was from tendonalgia. I never pursued treatment for my knees and they are fine now.

I recently had a bad set back of TMS in my left elbow, also due to what I thought was a martial arts injury. That pain resolved in a few weeks once I realized the true emotional issues driving the symptom imperative.

The bottom line comes down to this: Tendonitis is a sinister and extremely common painful condition which can strike virtually anywhere in the body. Doctors love to make it far more than it truly is, so that they can put you in some long-term or drastic treatment regimen or even perform unnecessary surgery.

I recommend that patients consider the idea of treating all possible tendonalgias with knowledge therapy. It has no risks and no costs. It also does not preclude any additional medical care which may be needed if the approach fails you. Nothing to lose here by trying!

Back Pain > Psychologically Induced Pain Syndromes > Tendonitis