Even if you have never stepped foot onto a court before, you may end up with tennis elbow. Occurring along the muscle that allows extension of the wrist, it is a painful condition that can linger for weeks or months.
Previously, tennis elbow primarily showed up in athletes. Due to the increased interest in physical fitness, tennis elbow is being found in everyday exercisers, as well as people who perform work-related repetitive motion.
Tennis elbow presents several symptoms. Pain will occur on the outside of the elbow an inch or so down from the bony part.
There may also be pain when the individual tries to extend the hand and fingers against resistance. Extreme weakness in the wrist is another symptom.
I have been diagnosed with tennis elbow. Now what?
Tennis elbow is often difficult to diagnose, which can delay treatment. A correct diagnosis of tennis elbow is the first step towards being able to treat the condition and rehab the afflicted area. From there, a variety of treatments for tennis elbow are available.
Passive remedies like rest, ice, and arm braces are critical components to healing tennis elbow. Take measures to reduce the movements that aggravate the pain, and use ice at regular intervals to help minimize pain and inflammation.
An arm brace supports and stabilizes the area to promote healing. These remedies assist greatly in treating the condition, especially in the beginning.
Active remedies consist of stretching and strengthening exercises, and are vital aspects of improving the condition. Individuals suffering from tennis elbow should begin an exercise regimen as soon as the pain allows.
Follow a doctor’s recommendation for the rehabilitative program exercises. The goal is to build strength.
An individual dealing with tennis elbow may utilize a variety of medicinal remedies to manage pain and inflammation. Over-the-counter pain relievers and steroid injections are commonly used to treat the condition. Following doctor’s orders when taking medications is strongly recommended.
Additional treatment also provides vast improvements in tennis elbow, and these treatments have gained favor in the last few years due to their effectiveness. Regimens of massage therapy, dry needling, ultrasound and electrical stimulation work to reduce inflammation and pain and promote the body’s restorative healing process.
Another remedy that offers strong benefits to treating tennis elbow is chiropractic care. A chiropractor assesses the condition, then lays out a plan to promote healing.
Treatment often includes working to align the bones and treating the surrounding joints so they function at maximum capacity, and can “take up the slack” of the injured area while it heals. Chiropractic care serves the dual purpose of treating the condition directly, and healing the areas around the injury so that the body continues to strengthen and renew.
In a very small number of cases, the only remedy for tennis elbow is surgery. This is considered as the last straw, once all other forms of treatment have been exhausted.
The best way to treat tennis elbow is to avoid it in the first place. Be sure to stretch before exercising, consistently perform strengthening exercises, employ correct techniques and proper equipment during physical activity, and don’t overexert your arms (this goes for your entire body, by the way) during physical activity.
If you are diagnosed with tennis elbow, it’s essential to understand the variety of treatment options available. The best course is often a blend of more than one remedy. Physical therapy should be part of your healing process, as it helps decrease pain, reduce healing time, and offers a non-medicinal approach to treating the body as a whole.
If you have any questions; call Dr. Cohen’s office at 410-686-8400.