Tennis elbow is typically a problem with the soft tissues – muscles, tendons, and ligaments near the elbow area, but the pain can extend into your wrists and fingers as well. Often a strain on the tendon can cause small tears and this results in the pain you feel. If there is a fracture in the bone structure, different types of treatment are required. Often your expert pain physician will order imaging tests such as X-ray, ultrasound, or MRI if he or she suspects any bone damage. Sometimes there might be an underlying cause of elbow pain from a disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, but usually, you would experience pain in both elbows if that was the case.
How to Relieve Tennis Elbow Pain: How did I get Tennis Elbow?
Usually, the tennis elbow is a result of overuse of the muscle in your forearm. This strain can be caused by repetitive movements in a work situation, during a sports activity, or some repeated movements for daily activities at home. Although the name suggests that the injury is caused by racket sports, any repetitive movement such as using a mouse or typing on a computer, using carpentry tools, gardening, or even driving a car can be the source of the strain.
How to Relieve Tennis Elbow Pain: What are some things I can do at Home?
There are some things you can try at home to relieve tennis elbow symptoms. The sooner you begin these remedies, the more likely you will be successful in alleviating your pain.
- Stop the activity that is causing the pain and rest from it for at least several days. You can stop the activity itself or modify the action, so you are not using the arm that is giving you pain. For example, if hammering with your right arm is causing the pain, try using your left arm.
- Ice the area with ice packs for 20 minutes and then let the area warm up for 20 minutes. Complete this treatment several times during the day. The cold will reduce the swelling that could be causing a strain on the tendon.
- Try putting armbands around your arm close to your elbow. These bands reduce the pull on the injured tendon.
- Keep your elbow elevated to reduce any swelling.
- Take over-the-counter pain medication and anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Try a medicated rub in the area to promote blood flow to enhance the healing process.
How to Relieve Tennis Elbow Pain: What are some Nonintrusive Medical Treatments?
Another name for tennis elbow is lateral epicondylitis. With the tennis elbow, the pain is felt on the outside of the elbow. A similar situation can also occur on the inside of the elbow. This is commonly referred to as a golfer’s elbow. Medical treatment for both conditions is similar.
The first step in professional treatment is a proper diagnosis at a pain treatment clinic. Your expert pain physician will diagnose tennis elbow by examining the area, discussing when the pain happens, and reviewing your medications. Sometimes imaging techniques are used to determine if there is any bone damage. Once your pain doctor in New York or pain doctor in New Jersey establishes that your pain is a result of soft tissue damage, he or she can recommend some treatment options. Often a combination of nonintrusive treatments is very effective. Some of the choices follow.
- Massage: This is a targeted treatment designed to alleviate your pain. Massage not only relieves muscle tension, but it stimulates blood flow into the area. Your pain doctor will direct your therapist to maximize the effectiveness of the massage.
- Physical Therapy: Once again your pain doctor will direct the therapist to design a program of exercises to meet your needs. The physical therapist will train you to repeat these exercises at home so you can continue the healing process. Once your therapist discusses what activity is the source of your pain, he or she can suggest alternative ways to complete daily activities without causing further damage. Your therapist has been well informed about suggestions for many types of alternative approaches through courses from the American Academy of Physical Therapy. (AAPT).
- Acupuncture: This ancient practice involves placing very thin needles into targeted areas of your body to relieve pain. Many patients find pain relief from this practice.
- Prescription Medication: Your pain doctor is able to prescribe drugs that are more powerful than the over-the-counter variety. Medicine for pain relief and anti-inflammation is effective in eliminating or reducing pain.
- Injections: Your well-trained physician may suggest injections to relieve your pain and promote healing. Steroid injections near your elbow will deliver anti-inflammatory medication to the site of the problem. Similarly, you may also benefit from injections of pain medication.
How to Relieve Tennis Elbow Pain: Will an Operation Help Me?
Surgery: If your pain is not relieved by the less intrusive methods of medical care, then an operation is a possibility. Your surgeon will discuss the various options that are available to you. Often surgery can be performed with an arthroscope. This method is the least intrusive. Small incisions are made for a camera and miniature operating instruments. Tears in the tendons can be addressed. The effectiveness of this type of surgery runs from 85%-90% of cases.
There are more intrusive surgical options as well, but only a small percentage of people require this type of approach.
Understandably it is natural to feel nervous about any type of surgery. You can rest assured that your orthopedic surgeon is using the up-to-date methods for treatment when he or she is a member of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
- Tennis elbow is a prevalent type of injury for people with an active lifestyle such as racquet sports players, people who work with their hands such as gardeners and for people who engage in repetitive hand movements such as some musicians.
- Home remedies are very effective in reducing the pain from tennis elbow.
- When you seek medical assistance, you can find expert medical advice at pain treatment clinics.
- Your pain doctor in NY or pain doctor in NJ will suggest several different nonintrusive treatment options to relieve your pain.
- Surgery is possible once other methods have been tried.