Tennis elbow is not restricted to just tennis players, in fact I see it more often in people who don't play tennis at all. Clients often remark that they experience a sharp pain on the outer elbow, worse when gripping and holding items. Tennis elbow or "Lateral epicondylitis" is a simple overuse stress injury of the forearm extensors. Depending on how severe or chronic your case is, it can be easily treated and managed, and although its not part of the spine its another thing we're well versed in treating.
This type of problem can occur at any age, but is most common between the ages of 35 and 50. Predictably, it is more common in your dominant arm but can affect both. The biggest misconception about this type of elbow pain is you don’t have to be a tennis player to get this condition. In fact it is just as common in people who repetitively overuse their forearm muscles when gripping such as office workers or tradespeople.
A huge contributing factor to this condition which can be easily forgotten is referred pain from the neck or shoulder. This can either mimic symptoms of tennis elbow, or most commonly there is a combination of elbow and neck, shoulder or thoracic spine issues. A thorough examination by your Chiropractor will determine if you have any referred pain from your neck and shoulder or if your elbow pain is isolated. This will assist in a more direct approach to your problem and a speedier recovery.
Tennis elbow and it’s symptoms:
Typically, this condition presents as pain at or just below the lateral epicondyle- that is, the pointy part on the outside of your elbow. Generally people experience pain with gripping, lifting or wringing activities which cause tension over the tendon Clinically, we often find people suffering this condition have weak and/or tight forearm muscles and stiff elbow and wrist joints.
There is a wide variation in the severity of this condition and how long the symptoms may last for. As with any injury, it is best that we see you as soon as possible to start your recovery and prevention.
6 Steps to treating tennis elbow pain:
Initial management of this condition is through pain relieving techniques such as soft tissue massage, joint mobilisations, stretching tight nerves and muscles, dry needling, heat and/or cold therapy and taping. We also recommend tennis elbow braces to our clients as they can be effective in relieving pain.
1) Soft tissue massage
2) Joint mobilisation of the wrist and elbow.
4) Cold/ Hot therapy
5) Dry needling
6) Strapping or Brace support.
Management and prevention of tennis elbow
Of utmost importance in managing this condition is a progressive strengthening program. Tendons require gradual load in order to heal correctly, so it is very important to continue to strengthen your muscles even if your pain is gone. At this phase of your rehabilitation, it is also important to look at contributing factors such as workstation setup and your posture. If you have some referred pain, assessing your pillow may also be necessary to ensure that your whole body is always in optimal alignment.
Want to find out more? Or you're not sure if you have tennis elbow or how to properly treat it? Contact us today for an obligation free conversation. We're here to help.