Are you experiencing elbow pain like you’ve never felt before? Do you play a lot of tennis or partake in a regular activity where your elbow and forearm are active?
If so, you may have a condition known as tennis elbow. Medically known as lateral epicondylitis.
When it comes to treating tennis elbow, you’ll want to relieve pain, not temporarily, but permanently, and knowing how to treat and relieve tennis elbow pain at home is a good starting point along with visiting a physician. But first, let’s go over exactly what tennis elbow is and what the causes and symptoms are.
What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is a chronic injury that occurs when there is stress, strain or inflammation to the muscles, tendons or ligaments around the elbow joint and forearm.
Small tears, called micro tears, form in the tendons and muscles that control the movement of the forearm, which can cause a restriction of movement, inflammation and pain.
If left untreated, this can lead to the formation of scar tissue and calcium deposits, which can put so much pressure on the muscles and nerves that they cut off the blood flow and pinch the nerves responsible for controlling the muscles in the forearm.
What Causes Tennis Elbow?
By far the most common cause of tennis elbow is overuse. Any action that places a repetitive and prolonged strain on the forearm muscles, coupled with inadequate rest, will strain and overwork those muscles and associated soft tissues.
There are also many other causes, like a direct injury, such as a bump or fall onto the elbow.
Poor technique will also contribute to the condition, such as using ill-fitted equipment, like tennis racquets, golf clubs, work tools, etc.
Signs and Symptoms
Pain is the most common and obvious symptom associated with tennis elbow. Pain is most often experienced on the outside of the upper forearm, but can also be experienced anywhere from the elbow joint to the wrist.
Weakness, stiffness and a general restriction of movement are also quite common in sufferers of tennis elbow. Even tingling and numbness can be experienced.
Individuals that experience tennis elbow complain that they have trouble even completing daily tasks such as washing their hair or vacuuming their house which takes a toll on their lifestyle and habits.
So how can you relieve tennis elbow at home before your next match? Below are some great tips to help get you swinging the racket again!
USE LIGHT WEIGHT
You want to do tennis elbow exercises with light weights. Do nothing more than one or two pounds at a time.
Start with tennis elbow exercises that involve light twists of the arm- like bicep curls. The goal with tennis elbow exercises is to strengthen the arms and the tendons. The more the muscles are strengthened, the better off they will be.
Always consult with your doctor or specialist before starting any new exercises or weight training when you have a prolonged injury.
REST MAY BE BEST
Rest may be best because you have been putting your arm through strenuous activity. So you may need to start the process of recovery with some rest time.
Take a period off to rest your fingers, your wrists, as well as forearms on a daily basis. All of these muscles and the tendons that connect them, have to get some time to heal up.
It may be tennis that is causing the issue, or golf, or it could even be what you are doing for work. The soreness is real and the longer you continue to damage the tendons, the more severe the issue becomes. It may take weeks of rest, or even months before the healing process is there which is why it’s best to see a specialist.
Be sure to seek medical attention should your tennis elbow or related tennis elbow exercises cause you added pain.
TREAT WITH ICE AND COLD PACKS
You can also do a lot of good with ice or cold packs. You may have to use the ice or cold packs many times over the course of a day. Try to keep the treatments to around 15-minutes maximum.
One way you can avoid excessive cold on your skin is to use a cloth between the ice and your arm.
You may also find that heat can assist, from a hot tub or a bath. Whatever is going to help to relieve the pain, go with it!
USE ELBOW BRACES
Another way to help relieve pain from tennis elbow at home is to get support from braces. They are necessary to assist you in the recovery process. It is also essential to allow you to continue to do what you love.
The braces are helpful because they give you extra support and help you counter the force on your arm when you twist it.
For example, say you swing a racket hard, those tendons are going to stretch, causing pain.
The elbow strap on an elbow brace will help counter that, so the pressure is not on the tendons as much. The pressure load gets spread out more so that the tendon can heal and not get any worse.
After time on the tennis court or golf course, try to keep your arm elevated. After doing strenuous activity the swelling is going to become the most severe when all of the blood is allowed to rush down to where the tendon is damaged. To reduce the pain and swelling in your wrist and forearm, elevate and ice!
STRETCH IT OUT
When it comes to tennis elbow you would be amazed at how much good you can do by merely stretching before you start any exercise; and we’re not just talking about stretching before you play tennis.
You may be doing something as simple as washing dishes in the kitchen and find that it is aggravating the tendon. You can take action to try and prepare the muscles for anything by stretching first.
Lightly stretch out the hands, the wrists and the forearms; the more you warm-up and stretch the more your muscles will be prepared for the exertion you will put them through. Make sure to stop immediately if you feel pain.
Always check with your doctor before doing any stretching or exercises to make sure it does not conflict with any current treatment you may be already getting.
SEEK A DOCTOR!
Professional guidance, assistance, and treatment will always trump exercises and treatment you can do solo.
You never want to treat tennis elbow entirely on your own. All the at-home therapies and tips we gave above are a great starting point before an initial consultation but, you’ll want to consult with a doctor in the event it is more severe.
Initially doctors prescribe rest, bracing, non-steroidal medications, and steroid injections. However, these treatments often do not work and the patient is left in pain and unable to enjoy activities.
In many cases, when the patient fails to improve with medications, splinting, and rest, that’s when surgery is recommended. However, this is often not successful, and causes the patient more pain and stress. That’s where the specialists at Southcoast Medical come in!
Located in Aiken, SC., Southcoast Medical has helped countless individuals that have suffered from tennis elbow by doing cell therapy treatments like PRP or amniotic injections.
These treatments use a different approach, using your own cells to try to heal the injured tissue.
It can resolve the problems causing pain and can be a very affordable solution to a long term problem.
It can also help you avoid surgery and return to the active lifestyle you once had.
As a tennis elbow sufferer, you want that elbow pain gone, and as soon as possible! Our job is to help you beat the condition and get back out on the court without pain as soon as possible!
To learn more about which treatment is best for you, schedule a consultation online or call to set up an insurance covered, no-obligation visit (803)226-0102.
Together, we can get you back in action on the court!