Tennis elbow (or as it is more technically known, lateral epicondylitis), is an inflammation resulting from degenerative changes occurring in your common extensor tendon. This tendon is connected to your elbow. When you have tennis elbow, the pain you will feel is primarily located on the outside of your elbow. Below is a description of the causes and treatments for tennis elbow.
Causes of Tennis Elbow
You can develop tennis elbow when you repeatedly overuse your wrist extensor muscles. Tennis elbow occurs when micro tears take place in the muscles and tendons. It can also be associated with arthritis in the elbow and a decrease of blood flow that damages and weakens the fibrous tissue in the tendons. When you have tennis elbow, continuing with the same activities will inhibit healing and may cause further damage.
Treatment for Tennis Elbow
The approach that most doctors recommend for dealing with tennis elbow is known as PRICE, which stands for Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. You as the patient are directed to minimize pain by avoiding the activities that aggravate the condition. Should this approach be insufficient, there are other things your doctor can try.
Your doctor may also send you to a licensed physical therapist who can treat the condition using strengthening exercises, stretching and massage. Any exercises performed are designed to increase your strength and flexibility in the affected area.
Using a Splint
In some cases, your doctor may suggest that you wear a splint for a time in order to relieve the stress on the involved tendons and muscles. Depending on the recommendation of the therapist, this splint could be pre-made or custom-made. Another splinting alternative is to use a tennis elbow brace to redistribute forces acting on the tendons and muscles. When doing this, it's important to keep in mind that problems with your nerves (tingling and numbness) can develop if the brace being used is too tight.
Although it's unusual, there are instances where a patient's tennis elbow is severe enough that surgery may be the best option. Usually, this surgery is done on an outpatient basis. In some cases, it is performed as open surgery, while in others the surgeon uses an arthroscopic technique. If you have to have surgery, during the postoperative period you will attend physical therapy to assist in your recovery process. As with the above, the goal of this physical therapy is to help strengthen the tendons and muscles in the affected area and to increase your flexibility.
If you have issues with tennis elbow, start by visiting a general physician like those at Mount Laurel Primary Care Physicians. They'll direct you from there.
I am one of those people who hates going to the doctor. In the past, I have relied on everything from cranberry juice to apple cider vinegar to fix my ails. As I get older though, I find that I need to rely more on traditional medicine than I did in the past. What I found out from my doctor is that I did not have to give up the holistic medicines I used. I could combine them. This blog is designed to help others focus on how to combing holistic treatments with traditional medicine in a safe and fun way.