Despite its name, “tennis elbow” affects more than just tennis players. It’s a common affliction for anyone repetitively using their hands or arms. Regardless of the cause of the pain, it is felt around the outside of the elbow. Known also as lateral epicondylitis, it occurs with the strain and stress of a tendon pulling away from the knobby part of the bone and creating microtears. Fortunately, chiropractic methods are the best and most long-lasting treatment for this condition.
Usually affecting the dominant arm, the most common symptom of tennis elbow is pain that can radiate into the forearm and wrist and even result in weakened wrist joints to the point that holding a cup or turning a doorknob becomes difficult.
A bony bump can form on the outer part of the elbow, and the soft tissue supporting the elbow joint can become inflamed and aggravated with continued movement. This causes weakness and pain in the muscles connecting the outside of the elbow and the forearm. The pain can inhibit lifting or bending the arm, lessen arm strength, and cause difficulty when gripping or twisting objects.
Tennis elbow can be acute or chronic and most often is the inflammation or degeneration of elbow tendons from repetitive stress placed on the muscles of the forearms.
Chronic tennis elbow often affects non-athletes between the ages of 30 and 55. During aging, tendons degenerate, and normal tissues are replaced with irregular arrangements of scar tissue that make the area weaker and more prone to injury.
In general, tennis elbow occurs with repetitive movements and overuse of the wrist, hand, forearm, and/or elbow joint. Common activities are playing tennis and other sports requiring repetitive arm movements, constant computer usage requiring repetitive moving of the mouse that strains the muscles supporting the elbow joint, and home improvement or labor-heavy activities, such as carpentry, plumbing, painting, or even playing the violin.
Treatments for tennis elbow include both short-term pain relief and long-term health improvement of the tendons.
Short-term treatments include rest from the aggravating activities, pain medications, immobilization, stretching and flexibility exercises, steroid injections, and even some controversial shock wave therapies.
Long-term treatments aim to improve the health of the tendons and include strengthening exercises, physical therapy and massage, increasing anti-inflammatory foods in your diet, and using the right kinds of support (e.g., elbow strap, elbow brace, compression sleeve) while exercising.
Other less established treatments include ultrasonic tenotomy where the surgeon removes damaged tissue with ultrasound, plasma injections, acupuncture, and nitroglycerin patches.
Surgery is also an option, but not generally recommended unless symptoms have not improved after more than six months of other treatments because it involves removing diseased muscle and reattaching healthy muscle and requires physical therapy rehabilitation afterward.
Chiropractic care is the best treatment for tennis elbow symptoms because chiropractors examine and treat not only the elbow but also the rest of the arm.
“Tennis elbow can be treated effectively with advanced chiropractic adjustments of the arm,” notes Dr. Rick Gross of Quality Care Chiropractic. “We notice patients getting much more relief, strength, and function back in their elbow when we adjust their wrist, elbow, shoulder, and neck. If we only take care of the elbow, we miss out on the rest of the kinetic chain causing the problem.”
One great benefit of chiropractic treatment is that it addresses the root cause of the pain and inflammation rather than masking the issue like many other treatments. Chiropractors identify the cause of the pain and offer treatment for lasting relief, often by properly aligning the elbow joints for better functioning and reduced risk of injury. With this proper alignment, oxygen-rich blood and healthy nutrients can better flow to the area to reduce inflammation as well.
“Chiropractic adjustments are the most effective and most powerful for helping our patients. We use therapies like Kinesio tape, Graston deep tissue treatments, MLS Laser, and B3 Bands for exercising effectively during an injury,” offers Dr. Gross.
If you are experiencing this kind of elbow pain, comprehensive chiropractic treatment may be the answer, so contact us at Quality Care Chiropractic in Aurora, IL, at (630) 499-2225 to learn how we can help you reach your whole-body health.Schedule an Appointment