Tennis Elbow Treatment
Tennis Elbow Treatment Oakville – You’ve been diagnosed with Lateral Epicondylitis or Tennis Elbow and yet you haven’t swung a racket since Andre Agassi had hair.
Don’t worry, 90% of our Tennis Elbow patients have never picked up a racket, it’s just a name. In our Oakville chiropractic clinic, our Chiropractors are seeing a massive increase in Tennis Elbow patients every year. From cell phones to computers, carrying luggage to gardening – it’s the little repetitive things that usually bring about the pain of Tennis Elbow. Think you have Tennis Elbow? Call the clinic today!
What Is Tennis Elbow?
As we mentioned above, the fancy doctor name for Tennis Elbow is Lateral Epicondylitis. Regardless of what you want to call it, the condition is due to overuse and/or repetitive strain on the muscles that extend the wrist and fingers. This repetitive strain causes an inflammation in the tendons of these muscles, which are located on the outside aspect of the elbow. This build-up of inflammation makes it painful to use these muscles.
It’s not just athletes who develop this condition. In fact, office workers are the population we see this condition in the most. Typing and mousing all day may not seem strenuous, but those activities are A LOT of work for those muscles. Sitting at a desk for an 8 hour shift, and then going home and using your phone to text all night results in the wrist extensors working overtime.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
Pain associated with tennis elbow may remain local (i.e. – stay around the outside of the elbow) or it may radiate down the forearm into the hand. In more advanced cases, the pain may even start creeping higher above the elbow and into the upper arm. The pain is often described as dull and heavy/throbbing at rest, but quite sharp with movement.
It is typical for tennis elbow pain to be aggravated by everyday movements. Desk work, lifting your kids and twisting a jar lid can all hurt. Pain may also feel worse first thing in the morning. Certain sleeping positions may put the arm in positions that aren’t conducive to healing, and therefore trying to get the arm moving in the morning may be a struggle.
Due to the fact we use our hands and fingers for the majority of daily activities, tennis elbow can be a real burden. In addition to computer/mouse work being aggravating, lifting, turning a doorknob, holding a coffee cup or shaking someone’s hand may also be painful. Any activity that requires finger dexterity or gripping will likely be aggravating.
In addition to the pain, redness and swelling may be present. These symptoms are more typical in acute and/or severe cases of tennis elbow.
Do You Need Tests?
Probably not. The pain of tennis elbow can be significant enough that some of our patients wonder if they need imaging. Most of the time, we don’t think it’s necessary. Through a series of orthopaedic tests, and a thorough history, our chiropractors can get a good clinical picture without any imaging. They will try a course of conservative care before referring you to a doctor to get an ultrasound.
If after 6-10 treatments there hasn’t been significant improvement, you will be referred to your family doctor to get an ultrasound to rule out any condition that isn’t suitable for chiropractic care, or that may explain why you aren’t healing as expected.
What If It’s Not Tennis Elbow?
If your case of tennis elbow has been going on for more than a few weeks, then it is possible that the problem is tendonosis instead of tendonitis. The ‘itis’ part of tendonitis refers to an inflammatory process. The ‘osis’ part of tendonosis refers to a cellular change in the tendon. The inflammatory process is over, and the fibres of the tendon may be left in disarray and not function in the way a healthy tendon would.
Chiropractic Care For Tennis Elbow
It’s not surprising that our chiropractors treat a lot of cases of tennis elbow considering how much time people spend on their computers these days. There are a number of different treatment modalities that can be used to treat tennis elbow.
Soft Tissue Release
The muscles on the back of the forearm can feel very tight and painful. Our chiropractors will use their hands to massage the muscles and release the tension. Another option to treat the soft tissues is Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Massage. Using a tool, our chiropractors will dig into and massage the tendon to help prevent scar tissue from building up, and promoting the tendon healing in the proper orientation.
In some cases of tennis elbow, one of the joints in the elbow can become restricted and contribute to the pain. The radial head, which is the end of the radius bone in your forearm, can become stiff and uncomfortable. Chiropractors can adjust this joint, and ensure is moves efficiently and without pain.
IFC is an electrical modality that our chiropractors use to reduce pain andand inflammation around painful joints and muscles. The electrical stimulation helps to block pain signals and relieve some discomfort. Our machines use suction cups to hold conductors against the skin and stimulate the painful joint and/or muscle. The machine feels like tingling, and our patients love the results!
Acupuncture Treatment For Tennis Elbow
Acupuncture is one of the best ways to treat tennis elbow. In most cases, Dr. Jenn only needs to use 3-4 needles to make a positive impact on the pain associated with this condition. Acupuncture involves the insertion of very thin needles through the skin to impact the muscles and nerves in the area. The insertion of these needles helps increase blood flow to the area and helps clean up the chemical environment around nerves that can cause irritation and pain.
Acupuncture is not painful. In cases of acute pain, inserting the needles may feel achy, but once they have been fully inserted they should not cause any additional pain. In addition to traditional acupuncture, electrical stimulation can be applied to make the treatment even more effective. Acupuncture treatments last 12-15 minutes and can be included as part of a regular chiropractic visits.
Icing For Tennis Elbow
Ice is an important part of rehabilitating lateral epicondylitis. Tennis elbow involves the inflammation of the common extensor tendon of the elbow. Ice helps to constrict the blood vessels and pump inflammation away from the elbow. Ice should be applied to the area of your elbow or forearm on the thumb side. 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, 20 minutes on. Complete this cycle 1-3 times a day. Wrap up the ice in a thin towel so you protect your skin from frost burn. .
Bracing For Tennis Elbow
Our chiropractors recommend all patients with tennis elbow invest in both a Tennis Elbow Brace and a Wrist Guard. Wear the Tennis Elbow brace when you’re doing arm or hand activities throughout the day. If you have a desk job, leave the brace on during your work shift. Always remove the elbow brace at night.
Wear the Wrist Brace while your sleeping. The wrist brace does not need to be worn during the day. This brace will prevent your wrist from going into flexion while you sleep and allow the tendons that are flared up to heal.
You can find a link to purchase this wrist guard HERE
- Stop doing what’s causing your pain. Hanging drywall, painting, online gaming addictions, give your arm and hand a break for 3 to 4 days, and see if things clear up.
- Get in for treatment ASAP. The sooner we start the healing process the easier it will be to fix.
- Education will be a big part of prevention of future flare-ups. If the arm is not substantially better in 6 to 8 treatments we would ask your MD for an Ultrasound and get to the bottom of why it’s not healing normally.
Stretches and Exercises
Exercise is a very important part of the recovery process. The hands-on treatment offered by our chiropractors will stimulate healing and put you on the road to recovery. However, you will spend a maximum of 1-2 hours at the clinic every week during treatments, leaving the rest of the hours for you to take responsibility for your own healing.
Our chiropractors have put together a simple plan of stretches and exercises to help speed up the recovery process. These exercises can be completed on a daily basis, and will target the affected muscles. Building up strength in the wrist extensors is a critical part of recovery, both to reduce pain and prevent the condition from returning.