Tennis elbow. You've probably heard of this term, especially if you're a tennis player. A majority of people link it to an injury that stems from playing tennis; however, it can be attributed to other sports or activities as well. But, what exactly is tennis elbow, how do you treat it, and what are the common symptoms?
What Causes Tennis Elbow?
So, what exactly causes tennis elbow? You guessed it, playing tennis! Other sports like racquetball, squash, fencing, or even weight lifting, can also cause tennis elbow. Additionally, if you work in certain industries where you utilize this muscle frequently, you can injure it. For example, waiters in a restaurant carrying heavy trays might injure the muscles, painters, knitters, or even carpenters, might overuse the muscle, causing the sharp pain which is associated with tennis elbow.
The good news, is that the pain is usually self-healing. The bad news is that it requires rest and time (two things most of us are unwilling to give injuries). There are other treatment options that can help speed up the recovery period, however.
What are the Common Symptoms Linked to Tennis Elbow?
The most common symptom that people suffering from tennis elbow complain of is an ache or pain on the outside of the elbow. Additional symptoms you might feel which indicate you're suffering from tennis elbow include
Swelling or tenderness around the elbow
Pain in the muscles on the outside of the elbow
Shooting pain from the outside of the elbow (can shoot down to the wrist and forearms)
Difficulty gripping, twisting, lifting, or even shaking another person's hand.
The extent of the pain will vary for each individual and the severity of their injury. Symptoms typically linger from several weeks, and can last up to several months.
How Can You Prevent Tennis Elbow?
Eliminating the strain from the outside muscles of the elbow, is a primary way to help prevent these injuries. By using your shoulders and upper arms, you can balance the pressure and minimize the strain placed on the elbow. Lessening the strain placed on your arms will also help with injury prevention. Additional ways to prevent the injury include
Stretching and warming up properly before playing sports (or even doing heavy lifting jobs)
Avoiding bending and straightening the arm all the way
Smooth movements rather than jerking movements will help stabilize the elbow to prevent injuries
Ultimately, common sense will serve as your guide. If you feel strain, too much pressure, or over-utilization, step back.
What are the Best Treatment Options for Tennis Elbow?
Okay, you weren't able to prevent the injury, but you want to go about treating it and rehabbing it properly. So, what are your treatment options?
Cold Laser Therapy
MLS, or cold laser therapy, is an FDA-approved treatment option for managing and treating pain. The laser utilized is a low intensity laser, so the body's temperature doesn't increase during treatment. Tissues absorb light in the areas being treated which causes blood to rush to that area. This, in turn, helps speed up the healing process.
There are various forms of chiropractic care which help promote healing. Electrical muscle stimulation helps reduce tightness, minimize strain, and promote healing. Massage is another great way to help pinpoint treatment to the elbow. Utilizing proper stimulation and pressure points, a chiropractor can help improve range of motion and speed up the healing process safely.
Interested in treating your tennis elbow or other body and muscle aches and pains? to find out which forms of treatment will work best for you, and help you get back to your favorite sport, hobby, or work, in no time.