Treatment for tennis elbow
Treatment for tennis elbow is not simple, and following a protocol will most likely give no benefits to a patient. There are many treatments for tennis elbow, but its precise etiology or root cause has not yet been determined. That is why there is no specific drug to cure this ailment permanently. However, several treatment options for tennis elbow have been medically adopted to manage its tennis elbow symptoms. Usually, treatment for tennis elbow starts with more straightforward and conservative measures, then moves on to more complex procedures.
Since tennis elbow is most common among manual laborers and sports athletes, lifestyle modification is believed to be critical in preventing its recurrence. If a person’s right hand is his dominant hand, he can use his left hand more when doing work. For athletes, especially tennis players, using correctly sized racquets is recommended. Passive exercise to improve blood circulation is also advised.
Anti-inflammatory Drugs and Steroids
Medications with anti-inflammatory action are given to patients to control pain and inflammation. For a lot of patients, elbow pain responds well to anti-inflammatory drugs. Cortisone or steroid injections are given if changing lifestyles and taking anti-inflammatory drugs are insufficient to improve this condition. It is a powerful drug that inhibits the inflammatory process.
An elbow brace is also one of the treatments for tennis elbow; it is a device worn on the forearm directly beneath the elbow. This works by redirecting the pull of the irritated muscles and transferring the pressure directly under the brace instead of the pressure exerted on the worn-out tendons.
Removing a section of the damaged tendon or releasing its attachment is a surgical intervention for the tennis elbow that has been done successfully. However, the need for surgery is usually not expected, as most patients improve without difficulty while using the more conventional types of treatment.
Shock Wave treatment
This is a new type of treatment for tennis elbow. It breaks up scar tissue and accumulates dead cells around the elbow joints. This is done by sending shock waves to the affected area. It is non-invasive and an alternative to surgery.
However, the best treatment for tennis elbow is a natural treatment that focuses on the cause of the problem and uses different exercises you can do at home without too much difficulty to not only take away the pain but also prevent tennis elbow pain from reoccurring.
What is a tennis elbow?
Tennis elbow, referred to as lateral epicondylitis or pain in the lateral elbow, is a common condition that spans in severity from inflammation of the elbow tendons to an actual tear within the tendon.
People with tennis elbow experience pain during wrist extension due to repetitive use that strains the two elbow tendons that extend to the wrist. Certain activities, which include lifting a coffee mug or jug of milk, can cause elbow pain associated with lateral epicondylitis.
The lateral epicondylitis region of the elbow has two tendons, the ECRL and the ECRB. These tendons go down the arm and attach to two bones in the wrist and hand. The ECRL and the ECRB work to pull the wrist and hand upward for an extension. When a person has a tennis elbow, there is a limited blood supply where the two tendons attach to the elbow. This makes it harder for the body to heal or recover from tendonitis once it begins. It also helps to explain the chronic nature of this condition.
Tennis elbow frequently results from an overuse injury to the epicondyles of the elbow joint. It happens when the muscles, ligaments, and tendons around the elbow joint are strained due to repetitive or enormous activity. Tennis elbow can also happen after hitting or bashing an elbow.
What causes tennis elbow?
Tennis elbow is caused by activities that put a constant strain on the muscles around your elbow. In tennis, hitting a backhand puts a little strain on the muscles in your forearm that contract when you hit the ball. When your technique is poor or you grip the racket too tightly, the tendons connecting your forearm muscles to your elbow become more stressful. This can lead to small tears in the tendons.
Other tennis elbow causes are:
- You can get tennis elbows by playing other racket sports like squash or racquetball.
- Cutting down trees with a chainsaw
- Playing some types of musical instruments
- Kitchen work, such as cutting with a knife
- Working on cars
- Working on an assembly line
- Another tennis elbow cause is a direct blow to your elbow, making the tendons swell.
Who is at high risk of developing tennis elbow?
Based on the occupation or sport that a person is engaged in, two significant groups of people are susceptible to tennis elbow:
People engage in everyday physical work.
There is a strong correlation between the type of activity a person engages in and tennis elbow; since manual labor involves lifting heavy weights or involves more than everyday stress on the wrist, arm, and elbow, people like laborers, carpenters, and plumbers are usually a high-risk category for tennis elbow. Tasks that involve long periods of wrist and elbow movement, like painting, can also lead to tennis elbow.
Apart from manual laborers, there are also weight lifters who are a part of this high-risk category, especially professional weight lifters who have been lifting weights since a very young age and make themselves susceptible to tennis elbow.
Tennis elbow got its name because tennis players were among the first groups to report the issue, but this does not imply that only tennis players suffer from it. However, people who are engaged in racquet sports like badminton are also equally susceptible to tennis elbow. Tennis elbow has also affected athletes in more weight-focused sports like the shot put and discus throw.
Since certain activities are more likely to affect a particular part of the elbow or arm, the symptoms experienced by people suffering from tennis elbow also vary. In contrast, pain outside the elbow is a common symptom. Other than that, the symptoms can vary from shooting pain in the forearm to pain while lifting weights or during simple activities like wrenching.
Depending on the particular tendon group that is damaged and other deciding factors, the differential diagnosis of tennis elbow is divided into categories like anconeus compartment syndrome, bursitis, cervical radiculopathy, radio-humeral joint dysfunction, lateral epicondyle avulsion, musculocutaneous nerve entrapment, non-union of a radial neck fracture, osteoarthritis, posterior interosseous syndrome, posterolateral rotatory instability, radial nerve tension, radial tunnel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, strained lateral collateral ligaments, and snapping plicae syndrome.
The only thing to remember is that tennis elbow is curable, and when diagnosed on time, the time taken to recover is less.
What are tennis elbow symptoms?
The most common tennis elbow symptoms are an ache and stiffness on the outside of your elbow. Over time, from a few weeks to a few months, the ache turns into constant pain. The outside of your elbow may be too painful to touch.
Other tennis elbow symptoms are:
- Pain located outside of your elbow that could extend into your forearm and wrist
- Loss of strength in your forearm
- The offset of pain when you extend your wrist
- Pain during specific movements that call for contracting the muscles in your hand (shaking hands, opening jars)
- Not being able to lift or hold small objects
Tennis elbow symptoms can get worse over the following weeks and, in some cases, even months, and if you don´t take the appropriate steps to deal with your problem, you will find that even after being cleared of it, the tennis elbow symptoms will return at some point or another. If you have been suffering from this for weeks, it is advisable to go to your doctor and get his professional advice.
Natural Treatment for Tennis Elbow
Natural treatment for tennis elbow involves exercises, acupuncture, and home remedies that can be easily achieved. These natural treatments for tennis elbow have been proven more effective than other treatments for tennis elbow. More importantly, any form of natural treatment for tennis elbow is safe and causes no side effects.
Listed below are different Natural treatments for tennis elbow
Exercises for tennis elbow is one of the most essential parts of the natural treatment for tennis elbow
Exercises for tennis elbow are one of the natural remedies for tennis elbow. Below are three simple exercises for tennis elbow you can perform to help increase the range of motion, decrease stiffness, and improve the mobility and strength of your injured muscles and tendons.
- To achieve this exercise for tennis elbow, you will need a can of soup or 1 liter of soda. Place a soup can or 1 liter of soda in your hand with your palm facing downwards toward the floor. Support your forearm at the edge of a table or on your knee so that only your hand can move. Let the wrist slowly go past parallel to almost 90 degrees with your forearm, and then slowly come back up to parallel with the floor.
- To achieve this exercise for tennis elbow, I recommend you use a hammer, wrench, or something you can get an excellent grip on. Once you have something in your hand with your forearm supported by the arm of a chair, knee, or coffee table, Rotate the hand to a palm-down position, return to the start position (hammer perpendicular to the floor), rotate to a palm-up position, and repeat.
- To achieve this exercise for tennis elbow, interweave a thick rubber band around all five fingers. Keeping your elbow as straight as possible [but if you feel pain when you completely straighten your arm, only straighten as far as you can without pain], try to straighten and spread your fingers outwards as if you were going to catch a softball. Hold for three seconds, then let your fingers relax naturally; do not close your hand completely. For added resistance, use a second rubber band. Repeat for 25 repetitions for three sets.
Home remedies for tennis elbow—the most popular approach to natural Treatment for tennis elbow
Home remedies for tennis elbow are easy to achieve at home; listed below are home remedies for tennis elbow you can try today:
- It may seem like a simple treatment, but it’s one of the most effective home remedies for tennis elbow if there is too much irritation or inflammation in the elbow area. Resting your arm and not subjecting it to the movements that triggered the inflammation and pain will help. You can still do your daily activities if you avoid movements and motions that could further irritate the tendons. When you resume your activity, do so slowly, and stop if you start to feel that familiar pain.
- Ice packs on your elbow are one of the treatments for tennis elbow at home that can help reduce inflammation and pain. Don’t apply ice directly to your skin, which can damage it. Wrap the ice in a cloth or towel. Hold the ice pack in place for about 15 to 20 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day.
- Massage for tennis elbow is a natural remedy for tennis elbow that has been practiced and proven to be effective in relieving symptoms of tennis elbow. Proper massage for tennis elbow will improve blood flow and reduce inflammation, which are keys to reducing pain associated with severe tennis elbow.
Consume a lot of fruits.
- Fruits like pineapple are high in vitamins, which can help speed up recovery.
Note: Learning proper technique when performing activities is crucial for treating tennis elbow and ensuring it does not return.
Acupuncture for tennis elbow: traditional oriental natural Treatment for tennis elbow
Acupuncture for tennis elbow is one of the natural remedies for tennis elbow that effectively treats and reduces symptoms of tennis elbow by allowing more natural energy (Qi) to flow throughout the body.
Acupuncture is a popular treatment for tennis elbow. It involves using fine needles to correct the flow of qi, or energy, in the body. It is a painless treatment for tennis elbow, and many people find it very relaxing.
Acupuncture for tennis elbow is mainly used to provide pain relief. Studies have shown that acupuncture relieves tennis elbow pain significantly longer than other tennis elbow treatments and improves the pain level. If you don’t like the thought of needles, laser acupuncture is an excellent alternative to traditional acupuncture.
Acupuncture for tennis elbow, in combination with massage therapy, is effective for curing tennis elbow, a.k.a. lateral epicondylitis. Recent clinical studies were performed on ninety participants at the Science and Experiment Center of Guangzhou Physical Education Institute.
The athletes who received acupuncture combined with massage treatment showed the best improvement compared to those who received physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medicines. No adverse symptoms or side effects occurred. The trial determined that acupuncture and meridian massage are safe and highly effective for treating lateral epicondylitis.
Acupuncture techniques like classic, ear, and electric acupuncture, along with TCM massage, have been shown to treat lateral epicondylitis in the past.
For acupuncture treatment of tennis elbow, we recommend starting therapy as soon as the first symptoms manifest so that we can resolve the problem quickly. When patients come for treatment in the earlier stages of tennis elbow, we can often cure them with just a few procedures. Our success rate is high even when the condition is in the chronic stage, but the earlier you start treatment, the less you suffer. We typically insert several needles all over the affected ligament and use acupoints on distant body parts to reduce pain and inflammation systemically. Also, for a better result, we supply our patients with the traditional Chinese cream Zheng Gu Shui, an effective topical cream for tendonitis.
Acupuncture for tennis elbow works, even when all other medical interventions have failed.
Conclusion on natural treatment for tennis elbow
A holistic natural treatment for tennis elbow is effective, safe, and affordable. In most cases, patients receiving lateral tendinitis treatment recover fast and can continue their sports and work activities.
David Wu, LAc, provides acupuncture treatment at the Philadelphia Acupuncture Clinic. He is well-trained in traditional Chinese medicine and has long experience treating patients with different pain syndromes.