Updated: Feb 23
Are you tired of the pain in your elbow when you lift your cup to drink your morning coffee? Tennis elbow pain can be so limiting, and you don’t need to be a tennis player to get it and to suffer from it!
At Courtenay Massage Therapy , we have helped countless patients overcome their tennis elbow pain. We treat the injury with different modalities which may include acupuncture, physiotherapy and a number of other advanced techniques.
Marc, one of our patients, was having difficulty even using his tennis racket. He could barely swing it in order to hit the ball. His elbow hurt terribly. After he came in for treatment, Marc’s therapist chose massage to ease the muscles in his arm and to relieve the pain he was feeling. The massage therapist also applied ice. After the treatment, Marc was able to lift his arm easier and his elbow pain was significantly reduced. He is back in the game and on the courts, and following the treatment plan designed for him to continue to recover. .
How to prevent tennis elbow pain from recurring?
To learn how you can fix your tennis elbow pain and to do exercises to prevent the pain from recurring, let’s look more closely at what is actually going on with your tennis elbow.
About Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow pain (Forearm Tendonitis or Lateral Epicondylitis) is pain on the outside of your elbow at the point where your tendon originates on the bone.
When you activate your tendons to use them for gripping or repetitive activities, the tendons in your forearm can get strained. To be clear, tendons are the long, tough tissues that connect muscles to bones in your elbow. They are not muscles, but work with the muscles in your forearm to straighten and bend your elbow. When the muscles in your forearm are overused, they become strained and they may also be inflamed at this point. This can cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in your forearm, especially when you move your wrist or grip or use your hand for repetitive activities.
Anyone can get tennis elbow, but it is most common among those who play racket sports. It often results from playing too much or too hard, or even just practicing without warming up properly.
It is much more likely to happen if you are doing these activities with poor posture or non-optimal biomechanics. If your head is forward on your spine it can pinch the nerve that is responsible for your forearm muscles to work. This pinch, over time, can weaken these muscles and put them at greater risk of developing tendonitis or tennis elbow pain.
Why is my elbow important?
Every part of your body is important. If you didn't have a nose, you wouldn't be able to breathe. If you didn't have a kidney, you'd die from toxins that would build up inside your body. But what about your elbow?
Most people don't tend to think about their elbows that often. However, they're a very important part of the body. You probably wouldn't be able to hold a pen if you didn't have one. If you broke your elbow, it could be very painful. So you shouldn’t forget about your elbows!
The elbow is the point of connection between your upper arm and your forearm and it allows you to bend it so you can rotate your wrist. It is very practical, allowing you to lift things up with your hands and to move your hands away from your body. The elbow is also very important for any athletic activity because it allows you to pitch, throw, or hit a ball. However, many athletes don't appreciate the importance of their elbow, until they are injured and lose its versatile functionality. If you frequently play ball and don't pay attention to elbow pain, you might end up like the many professional baseball players who had to give up their career due to chronic elbow pain. Be careful, and listen to your body!
And read on.
Why is neck mobility so important with elbow pain?
Do you look in the mirror and notice yourself slumping? Keeping a head forward posture puts an incredible strain on your neck. It creates an increase in extension between two of your neck vertebrae. This can create nerve pinching in the nerves that are responsible for your elbow muscles. So, it creates both pain and weakness of your elbow and forearm to have your posture so out of alignment.
Let’s look at how you can help yourself
How to fix your Tennis Elbow in 5 Steps
Step 1: Protect your elbow
You can protect your elbow while it recovers with these measures:
Limit activities - modify your activities to reduce the stress on your elbow while you are healing
Kinesiotape (KT Tape) - provides support for your elbow tendons which helps to rest your elbow naturally while you are healing. It also helps to manage and to reduce the swelling of your tennis elbow
Tennis elbow brace - wearing it can help to decrease your pain caused by tennis elbow and reduce the strain on tendons associated with your elbow joint
Step 2: Improve your posture
Keep this in mind as you sit, stand and move:
Hands-on mobilization and stretching of your neck, upper back, and shoulders will help to get your body moving in a more optimal way. Your physiotherapist can give you exercises to improve your posture and overcome the bad habits we all develop, especially due to all the sitting we do. The fix for your posture will include attention to stretching and core strength.
Many people have improved their posture with a simple tool, Posture Medic. The Posture Medic can help you improve your posture and strengthen your back and core muscles. By doing the stretches and exercises you can improve your posture, reduce pain and improve your overall health with the Posture Medic.
Exercise & Stretch
The Posture Medic is a posture reminding resistance band that helps you stretch, strengthen and stabilize your back. We developed a 6-week program to guide you towards better posture. You will learn how to stretch those tight muscles in your chest, neck and back. This increases your range of motion by loosening tight muscles, thus allowing you to straighten your back. Our strengthening exercises specifically target the muscles in your neck and back that help you maintain proper posture. These back and neck muscles are often overlooked when working out and are underutilized due to our poor posture.
Correct Your Posture
Throughout your busy day, you often end up slouching or hunching over without realizing it. This compresses your spine and tightens your chest and neck. Your upper back ends up weaker because it’s not engaged properly. And where does all this lead? Poor posture! And sometimes to pain. Posture Medic helps stabilize your posture by holding your shoulders further back and reminding you to “straighten up”. Wear the Posture Medic to help you develop the habit of straightening your back and shoulders. And you can do this without missing a beat!
Step 3: Reduce inflammation
Here are a few ways to reduce inflammation.
Mobilization and massage will decrease the inflammation and increase your circulation as well as increase the flexibility of the muscles and tendons.
Icing will decrease pain and swelling.
Eating fresh fruits and vegetables helps you reduce the chance of inflammation. In fact, avoiding processed foods also reduces your incidence of inflammation. .
Taking supplements that are known for reducing inflammation, including fish oil, curcumin as just two examples.
Also using topical anti inflammatories, like cryoderm that contain arnica are very helpful.
Step:4 Avoid heavy lifting
Keep these tips in mind when you lift any weights:
Lifting weights in the gym? Be sure to lift with your legs and not your back, or your elbow will suffer!
Picking up something and engaging your elbow? Be sure to bend your knees and tighten your core especially your abdominal muscles for support.
Picking up with your arms and engaging your arms, primarily? Keep your back straight and lift with your legs.
Heavy work at the gym? Go in with a plan in mind for daily workout and create a schedule that will keep you in shape with alternate rest and workout days for each muscle group!
We can’t emphasize enough that with any activity that involves lifting, especially a heavy object, it's important to be properly positioned. First, bend your knees to get into a squatting position. Next, place your hand on the object to support yourself. Then, lift it. It is important to be aware of the amount of weight you're lifting to avoid getting injured.
Step 5 : Natural Home Remedies.
This requires that you prepare some ingredients to help you combat this pain problem:
Have some aloe vera gel, vitamin E gel, castor oil, and some others you might like on hand. .
Regularly apply the aloe vera gel over the area in which you feel pain. Massage gently until it is absorbed.
Apply the castor oil regularly on the affected area and it will help heal the pain as it penetrates and warms the skin, and you anticipate relief.
Regular application of vitamin E is also known to assist a pleasant recovery from pain and discomfort.
Regular massage with a professional massage therapist will help treat your tennis elbow pain. The tips above may motivate you to enjoy the experience of keeping up your recovery and pain reduction with some self massage between your treatment appointments.
How long does it take for tennis elbow to heal?
Tendon injuries that are mild will take 6-8 weeks to heal. The longer time your elbow has been hurt the more likely it is that you have been compensating for it in your daily movement patterns. This is a factor in how long it will take your tennis elbow pain to heal.
Seek the help of a massage therapist who will recommend a customized treatment plan, and exercises to lift you out of tennis elbow pain and help speed your recovery.
To improve the speed of your recovery, consider the Tennis Elbow Recovery Kit.
The kit includes the basic tools you will need when recovering or rehabilitating an elbow injury or pain associated with the epicondylitis. The product selection was chosen based on their popularity with healthcare professionals. The kit offers savings over purchasing the products individually.
The Rally Active Tennis Elbow support
The CryoBlaze 5 x 10 hot & cold pack
One each of the CanDo Red and Green progressive resistance exercise bands
A CanDo band instruction sheet
The RED Flexbar by Theraband
A selection of trial size topical analgesics
This kit is designed to help manage pain during recovery and increase flexibility. We recommend you talk to a healthcare provider before beginning any new exercise routine.
If you are experiencing pain or stress, call us directly at 250-897-0069 or BOOK ONLINE. Alternatively, please use the CONTACT US page to request help with services or booking. We are here to help you.