What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is similar to its counterpart, Golfer’s elbow. The primary differences between these conditions are the location of the pain and the activity that leads to injury. However, both conditions are caused by overuse of the muscles and tendons of the forearm, leading to inflammation and pain around the elbow joint, commonly called tendonitis. Tennis is one common cause of tendonitis, but many other sports and work related activities can cause the same problem.
The cause of tennis elbow can vary from a single violent action (acute injury) to, more commonly, a repetitive stress injury where an action is performed repeatedly and pain gradually develops. In an acute injury of the elbow, inflammation occurs without substantial tissue damage. However, in a repetitive stress situation a person may experience damage to the tendon and surrounding soft tissue causing tissue degeneration over time. Inflammation from acute injury often responds quickly to rest and anti-inflammatory treatment. However, if the injury is due to tendon tissue degeneration, treatment will be longer and will be focused on improving the strength of the tendon as well as rebuilding tissues.
Tennis Elbow Symptoms
With tennis elbow the pain is on the outside of the elbow and may radiate down the forearm into the wrist. It can be common to have pain and/or weakness when turning a door knob, holding a coffee cup or shaking hands.
Treatment for Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow does not usually cause any long-term disability. However, the condition may become stubborn and proper rehabilitation will help alleviate the symptoms and get you back to life again.
Rest and Reduce Inflammation: The first step a person should take if tendinitis is suspected is to stop the activities that cause the pain and inflammation. Use a topical cream containing Arnica to begin to reduce the inflammatory process quickly.
Laser Therapy to Heal the Damaged Tissue: Ending the pain caused by tennis elbow requires healing the damaged tissue. Class IV laser therapy is an excellent method for this, because it is presently the only form of therapy that can both reduce inflammation and heal tissue simultaneously. Laser treatments at Align Healing Center are done with the K-laser 1200 a Class IV Laser. This laser does not cut or burn but is gently absorbed by the tissue. During Laser Therapy the infrared laser light interacts with tissues at the cellular level, increasing metabolic activity and improving the transport of nutrients across the cell membrane. This initiates the production of cellular energy (ATP) that leads to a cascade of beneficial effects, increasing cellular function and health. This creates an optimal healing environment that reduces inflammation, swelling, muscle spasms, stiffness, scar tissue and pain.
Correct the Mechanics of Motion: Assessing the forearm, elbow, shoulder and spine for proper postural feedback is done to diagnose and correct improper alignment. After proper alignment is restored, specific muscular taping is applied to improve circulation and insure proper motion on a daily basis. Lastly, specific strengthening and stretching exercises are given. By strengthening the muscles and tendons involved with tennis elbow, you can prevent the problem from returning.
At Align Healing Center we are having great success not only treating tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow, but also treating plantar fasciitis, sciatica, shoulder and neck pain, migraines, arthritis, carpal tunnel, post surgical pain, sports injuries and more; even long-term residual pain. Arthritis and degenerative disc disease sufferers can see long term benefits from this treatment without any of the negative side effects experienced with the long term use of medications.
Dr. Niele Maimone, DC is the owner and founder of Align Healing Center in Danville, CA. She has been active in our natural health & wellness community since 1999. For more information or to set up a consult call 925.362.8283 or visit www.alignhealingcenter.com.