Tennis Elbow: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

man suffering from Tennis Elbow

Though its name implies a sports related injury, tennis elbow isn’t just caused by playing tennis. It can have a number of different non-tennis related causes. The pain is caused by the overuse of specific movements in the arm, which cause acute pain and swelling. It is, in medical terms, a form of tendinitis.

Pains in the elbow are generally related to strains and sprains in joints, tendons, and ligaments. The condition known as tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is directly related to the overuse of forearms, elbows, or wrists, which is a factor that is exacerbated during the warmer months when people are outdoors and more active.

Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

If you perform repetitive motions with your thumb and first two fingers, or your job requires regular gripping actions, and you have felt pain in the knobby bone on the outside of your elbow, you are experiencing the symptoms of tennis elbow. The pain can also be felt in the upper and lower arm. A proper diagnosis, including an X-ray or MRI are needed when determining your condition and ruling out other factors.

Treatment of Tennis Elbow

In many situations, tennis elbow will begin to feel better on its own. This is especially true if the person ceases to engage in the activity that caused the pain in the first place. Otherwise, tennis elbow can be treated in several ways. Including:

Elbow Icing: Ice reduces pain and swelling. Icing tennis elbow 20 minutes at a time, every three to four hours for a few days at a time can significantly reduce pain.

Elbow Straps: Isolating elbow movement protects from further pain and injury to the joint.

Pain Relievers: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs), like naproxen, ibuprofen, or aspirin, will reduce pain and swelling short term. Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting this type of regimen.

For long term relief, we recommend supplements which help get to the root cause of the problem.

Exercise: Range of motion exercises reduce stiffness, increase mobility, and strengthen and stretch muscles. A doctor should help you decide what’s right for you.

Physical Therapy: Specialized treatment helps remedy pain and strengthen muscles.

Injections:  Steroid or pain relief injections can ease swelling and eliminate discomfort and pain. (These are a last resort and are usually not needed when you follow the other recommendations under the case of a chiropractor.)

Most people will find these treatments effective in treating the pain related to tennis elbow. However, in severe cases that have gone untreated, surgery may be the only option.

If you think you are experiencing symptoms of tennis elbow, and would like a complimentary consultation, contact us here at the Lake Pointe Chiropractic and Wellness Center for more information on how we can help you.