Tennis elbow, or elbow tendonitis, is an extremely common type of pain in the joint of the upper forearm. It is caused by overuse of the arm’s extensor muscles, resulting in tendon and soft tissue damage. It is medically known as lateral epicondylitis because the damage is localized in the arm condyles, and is aggravated by sideways pressure.
The condition is popularly known as “tennis elbow” because it occurs in individuals who engage in activities requiring ballistic movements from the elbows to the wrists (like the sport of tennis). Other activities like bowling, skiing, mountain biking, and weightlifting can cause this physical problem. A continual strong grip and forearm tension pulls tendons across the bony structures of the arm, causing stretching damage. Tendons are semi-vascular, meaning they have little blood volume. As a result, this type of damage takes a long time to heal naturally.
Even non-athletic people can suffer from tennis elbow. Jobs in the manufacturing and packaging industries may overuse forearm muscles and tendons. Contractors, farm workers, window washers, and hairstylists might also suffer from this type of pain. People with chronic conditions like fibromyalgia can experience the sudden onset of lateral epicondylitis.
Persistent tennis elbow can cause intense pain, affecting mental and physical health. The pain can be great enough to prevent someone from participating in regular activities that require arm pushing and pulling motions. Even getting out of bed in the morning can be difficult. This constant pain puts the body into a defensive mode, and negatively affects a person’s overall outlook.
Tennis Elbow Treatment
While pain associated with tennis elbow can be temporarily alleviated with over the counter pain killers, drugs like ibuprofen or acetaminophen only mask the problem. In fact, some studies have shown that too many pain killers can weaken the soft tissues where the pain is occurring.
The best way to treat tennis elbow is through a concentrated effort to change movement styles. Ergonomic and therapeutic motions in the arm, over time, give the muscles and tendons a chance to heal and strengthen. This is not simply a matter of minimizing tennis elbow aggravation. It is a combination of purposeful motion, nutritional supplementation, nerve gliding, and blood flow stimulation helps overcome pain and start the healing process.
Complete physical therapy addressing new or persistent tennis elbow pain is available from Oriole Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Centre. If pain is affecting your quality of life, call us today at (416) 221-0744 to begin a healthful regimen for healing.