Got elbow pain?
Could be tennis elbow.
Hi, this is Dr. Andrew, Chiropractor from Cranbourne Family Chiropractic and Wellness Ctr.
In this article I want to talk about my experience managing a sometimes-complex condition, as a Chiropractor over this past 25years. My hope is for those of you who are finding elbow pain is stopping you in your life, these tips just might help.
First of all, what is tennis elbow?
Let’s look at some basic anatomy.Hold your arm outstretched palm facing forwards. Tennis elbow pain effects the outer part of the elbow usually a small 10c size area. This is called the common extensor origin and refers to a tendon insertion point. This tendon is common to all of your extensor muscles which are found on the back of your arm. These muscles help extend your arm at the elbow and wrist. For a variety of reasons people develop inflammation around this insertion point. We call this tendonitis.
How do patients present?
This is wide and varied, from an acute, short term presentation to literally months to years of chronic pain and debilitation.
Generally, the longer the condition has been around the worse it is, kind of obvious right?
Pain is felt at the outer part of the elbow sometimes radiating down the back of the arm.
A common positive test is pain felt at the elbow when you extend your ring finger against resistance.
What causes tennis elbow?
Tennis, specifically top spin is not the only cause. Anything that repetitively engages the extensor muscles may eventually cause tendonitis, e.g. using a mouse at the PC, a repetitive work activity or injury.
What’s actually going on?
Tendonitis means inflammation and swelling which also means pain. This arises due to micro-trauma to the tendon, a bit like paper cuts. The body tries to deal with this by laying down scar tissue but as you can imagine this is not as good as the original, less elastic, less pliable, less resistant to further injury.
Over time these paper cuts may coalesce to form a deeper defect and subsequent scarring.
Basically, the longer it’s been around the longer it’s going to take to get better and the more intervention.
Mobilizing and manipulating the shoulder, elbow and wrist helps alleviate bio-mechanical stress and load bearing on the soft tissues. Inflammation directly causes fixation, so this is very necessary. Your Chiro may use mechanical tools to affect this, e.g. an activator or neuro-mechanical impulse tool.
Soft tissue and myofascial release to the extensor muscles and help alleviate stress on the tendon and reset the muscles.
Electro-therapies, i.e. ultrasound, interferential, Lasor, tens, ultra-shockwave therapy etc.
- Using a tennis elbow splint. A word of advice make sure you know how to use this and when to use it. An over-used, ill-fitting strap can make things much worse.
- Home ice application.
- Home creams application.
- Home massage application.
- Home stretching application.
- Home strengthening application.
- Modifying known aggravations.
The bottom line:
If you’ve got elbow pain, no matter how long, a Chiropractor is well placed to help. Don’t leave it to mend on its own!
To get the best results you must adhere to a strict home routine. You must be committed.
Long term tennis elbow may need a higher level of treatment, i.e. ultra-shockwave therapy or even medical intervention, i.e. cortisone injections.
For more information or an appointment call us on 5998 4554.
About the Author:
Dr. Andrew Arnold is a Chiropractor and the Million Dollar Wellness Mentor.
Founder: 12 Keys Wellness Practice Workshop, Cranbourne Family Chiropractic and Wellness Centreand Million Dollar Wellness
Andrew is married to Dr. Linda Wilson, the Stress Specialist and has two children, Isaac and Bella. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.