Any repetitive activity that involves the muscles in the forearm, wrists, and elbow can lead to the painful condition, commonly referred to as tennis elbow. What most folks don’t realize is that, aside from tennis and other sports, tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis, is pretty common, affecting everyone from painters, gardeners, plumbers, carpenters and butchers to clerical and data entry workers, or anyone who uses a computer for extended periods of time.
What is Tennis Elbow?
The Mayo Clinic, defines lateral epicondylitis as “a painful condition that occurs when tendons in your elbow are overworked, usually by repetitive motions of the wrist and arm.” Over time, and especially if the muscles in the arm are not allowed the proper rest, the tendons connecting the forearm muscles to the outside of the elbow begin to suffer from chronic inflammation and, according to some scientists, microscopic tears. Although anyone can get tennis elbow, men and women are equally affected, most between the ages 30 to 50.
Living with tennis elbow
Individuals suffering from tennis elbow may feel weakness throughout their lower arm as well as pain that radiates from the outer part of the elbow, through the forearm, and down to the wrist.
Tennis elbow can be crippling, making everyday tasks like shaking hands, turning a doorknob, twisting the lid off a jar, or even just holding a mug of coffee painful and difficult to do. Using the computer can become very challenging.
Treating lateral epicondylitis
Some of the ways to help reduce the symptoms of tennis elbow include resting the muscles, making a lifestyle modification (adapting how you perform a task in order to reduce strain), icing, cortisone injections, braces, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy and steroids.
In some cases, surgery is required.
Here at BodyQuirks, we’ve found that stretching and massage, especially (using “Scrapey”) can be very effective in releasing the tightness in muscles and tendons and helping with the pain.
Tennis elbow stretch
Here’s a quick and easy stretch that can be done anywhere:
Stand with your arms at your side, shoulders relaxed, with your palms facing forward. Slowly rotate your thumbs inward until they are pointing behind you. Make a fist and flex it upwards. You should feel the stretch at the elbow, usually on both sides. Hold the stretch for 5 to 10 seconds and release, repeat 5 times, 2 or 3 times a day. If you are persistent, this stretch will go a long way to reducing the pain and inflammation of the elbow. Note: although most people get tennis elbow in only one arm (their dominant one), it’s a good idea to stretch both of them in order to keep them healthy.
Contact us today at 503-233-9030, to learn how we can use massage and stretching to help you get some relief from the pain and inconvenience of tennis elbow.