Tennis elbow is a known ailment in many households. Did you know it is one of the most misleading diagnoses in medicine? That’s because the name infers that the pain can only present in tennis players. Only about 5-10% of tennis elbow actually comes from tennis players! Most times this condition is found in workers who perform repetitive motions with their wrist and elbows. What is it? Tennis elbow is pain on the outside of your elbow. While elbow pain can be common in many people, it doesn’t have to be a hobby or career-ending condition.
What is tennis elbow?
The elbow is made up of three bones. One upper arm bone (humerus) and two forearm bones (radius and ulna). Along the sides of the upper arm bone at the elbow, there are two bumps, called epicondyles. There are many muscles, ligaments, and tendons that attach to these bumps. The outside bump (lateral epicondyle) is where muscles from the forearm come up and attach, allowing the wrist to extend (go backward). Tennis elbow occurs when these muscles and tendons become damaged from overuse activity. The scientific name of tennis elbow is lateral epicondylitis (outside epicondyle inflammation).
With tennis elbow, the pain usually slowly increases. Tennis elbow most commonly occurs in your dominant arm, as that is the arm that is used most. Pain along the outside of the elbow is the most common symptom. The pain is usually made worse when trying to grip or carry objects such as a gallon of milk, a doorknob, a racquet, or a hammer. Some people may also experience wrist weakness, pain when bending the elbow, and pain when straightening the elbow.
While tennis elbow gives the illusion that it can only happen in tennis players, it is simply untrue. It commonly occurs in auto workers, painters, and plumbers…just to name a few.
Tennis Elbow Treatment
The good news of tennis elbow, it is estimated that more than 80% of cases will resolve without surgery.
Rest and bracing are often two of the first steps in treatment. Simply resting the arm can allow the muscles time to heal and reduce the strain placed upon them. An elbow brace can also be used over the insertion of the extensor muscle group. The brace can provide support to the muscles, decreasing pain, and inflammation. A wrist brace can also be used to help keep the wrist in proper alignment. This brace is commonly worn at night and designed for sleepers who tuck their hands under their head or pillow. These positions can put a strain on the wrist and elbow, increasing symptoms.
Does Chiropractic care help?
Chiropractic care can also be beneficial with a tennis elbow condition! As mentioned above, the muscles and tendons create movement in our wrist and elbow. By working on those muscles and creating movement in the joints, pain and inflammation can decrease as the normal range of motion is restored.
Manual and instrument-assisted massage therapy can also be performed over the extensor muscle group to help reduce adhesions within the musculature. This can decrease pain and inflammation and improve your range of motion.
Laser therapy can also be used on the elbow as well. The laser penetrates to a cellular level which encourages blood supply and nutrients to flood the area, decreasing inflammation and increasing range of motion.
Miller Sports & Family Chiropractic
Ready to get back to work pain-free? Want to play racquet sports again without increased elbow pain? Dr. Miller and Dr. Murdock are ready to help! With their thorough evaluation and treatment plan designed specifically for you, returning to what you love is possible! Contact the office today to begin the journey of being pain-free.