Tennis elbow is the term used to refer to inflammation within the tendons that connect the forearm muscles to the outer elbow. This painful condition occurs when the tendons of the elbow are overworked, generally due to repetitive motions of the wrist and the arm. It often affects the outside of the elbow bone or the lateral epicondyle.
You don’t have to be a tennis player to suffer tennis elbow. The condition is common among people engaged in jobs such as carpentry, plumbing, painting and manual labor which require them to repetitively use their forearm muscles.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
One of the most common symptoms associated with this condition is a burning pain sensation on the outside of elbow. The pain can radiate into the forearm and wrist. Other symptoms include
- Wrist weakness
- Tenderness outside the elbow
- Pain when gripping, lifting and carrying
- Difficulty in extending the forearm fully
- Chronic pain when lifting or bending the arm
Elbow pain and discomfort can worsen due to repetitive use of forearms or if left untreated. So if you experience pain and tenderness on the outside of your elbow, consult a physician.
The type of treatment for elbow pain would depend on the severity of the condition and how it affects a patient’s day-to-day life.
Chiropractic care is one of the most effective methods to manage the condition. This approach reduces inflammation, improves joint flexibility, helps manage pain, and allows the damaged tendons to heal more quickly. Chiropractic treatment could also include modalities such as ultrasound, electrotherapy, massage, hot and cold treatments, and exercises.
- Ice and Heat application – This treatment method provides short-term relief for pain and muscle stiffness. Ice packs help to lower inflammation and heat packs provide muscle relaxation.
- Massage Therapy – This method can be used to heal and strengthen the affected areas and to increase blood circulation to the surrounding tissues, thereby reducing muscle stiffness.
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) – TENS uses a low-voltage electric stimulation that interacts with the sensory nervous system to eliminate pain.
- Exercise – Exercise helps to reduce muscle stiffness and improves joint flexibility. They also speed up the healing of damaged tendons and strengthen them to prevent future damage. Generally, gentle stretching and strengthening exercises are recommended for tennis elbow.
At an established multispecialty health care center, chiropractors perform a thorough evaluation of the patient to arrive at a proper diagnosis. This allows them to develop customized treatment plans to help patients restore function and well-being.