At Home Treatments for Tennis Elbow
Do you have pain and discomfort in your forearm? It could be something called Tennis Elbow Syndrome.
In this article, we'll be talking about exactly what you can do to help treat your Tennis Elbow Symptoms at home, as well as all you'd ever need to know about Tennis Elbow Syndrome.
Forearm Pain? Keep on reading to figure out everything you need to know!
Hey You! Looking for a certain part in the post? Use this table of contents to help guide you to where you want to be!
Table of Contents
What we discuss in the entirety of this post isn’t a substitute for medical advice – and is for educational purposes only! Please consult a physician if you have any concerns about your health that you feel like need to be addressed immediately!
What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis Elbow Syndrome is a form of overuse syndrome and like the name suggests, is it’s a condition that can occur from playing Tennis.
In fact, nearly 50% of tennis players experience this at some point in their life.
However it’s not just playing tennis that can lead to this painfully annoying condition.
Having to do the Back Hand motion in Tennis is usually the main contributor to forearm pains from Tennis Elbow Syndrome.
Most people that develop this condition aren’t even tennis players; the most common group of people tend to develop this overuse syndrome from repetitive gripping motions and constant wrist extension (imagine the motion of revving a motor cycle).
Tennis Elbow is one of the most common overuse syndromes in medical care, with 1-3% of the population having experienced it at some point.
Fortunately, 80% of people who do suffer from this annoying syndrome don’t require any formal treatment and will recover within a year.
However a year is quite a long time to be stuck with pain, discomfort, achiness, a lack of strength and more.
So let’s talk more about Tennis Elbow and how you can get rid of it fast.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
Here’s what you can expect if you have a case of Tennis Elbow.
|Symptoms of Tennis Elbow|
Pain that worsens with resisted extension of the middle finger.
Pain that worsens with resisted extension of the wrist.
Weakened Grip Strength.
Causes of Forearm & Elbow Pain
We talked about how one of the main reasons for Tennis Elbow Syndrome comes from repetitive overuse – especially repetitive gripping and wrist extension.
The reason why repetitive motions are so bad for us is because of the physiology of tension being applied to our muscles and tendons.
When we use our muscles and tendons for things like lifting boxes, scrubbing our toilets and cooking up a delicious lunch, it applies tension to our tendons and stretches them out.
Moving Boxes all day long could definitely lead to Tennis Elbow-like pains.
As the stress of tension & stretching becomes too much for our tendons to handle, microtears can begin to occur.
As more microtears begin to accumulate, this can lead to degenerative (bad environmental) changes within the tendon – which is formally known as tendinosis.
Microtears that don’t heal (properly) are what can cause the symptoms of Tennis Elbow; this leads to one not using that painful arm for daily activities.
The lack of use in those tendons and muscles lead to further weakening, pain and can result in an increased risk of injury.
This becomes a bad positive feedback loop cycle that continues over and over again.
Risk Factors for Tennis Elbow
Nearly half of those whom enjoy tennis tend to develop symptoms of Tennis Elbow Syndrome.
This is usually because of poor technique during a backhand hit in tennis, which strains the extensors of the elbow.
There is a clear cut association with those whose occupation involves any form of repetitive forearm and hand motions.
Therefore it only makes sense that we would see Tennis Elbow symptoms show up in people who work manual labour jobs – especially those that use heavy tools or have to repetitively grip or lift things.
Beyond just work and play, here are some more risk factors that can bring you down to a path of forearm discomfort and pain.
Perform Repetitive Forearm Motions
Repetitive Hand Movement
Red Flags for Forearm Pains
Most of the time Tennis Elbow isn’t a serious condition that can lead to more than just pain, discomfort and a lack of mobility.
However, sometimes there are conditions that can accompany the onset of Tennis Elbow Syndrome.
Here are some of those things you should definitely look out for.
Recent Violent Trauma
Minor Trauma with Osteoporosis
History of Cancer, Drug Abuse, HIV, immunosuppression or prolonged use of corticosteroids
Fever & Chills
Recent Bacterial Infection
Numbness, pins and needles in the Upper Body that's becoming worse
Pain that is there all the time, severe and becoming worse
*If you’re experiencing any of these, it’s highly recommended that you visit a medical professional as soon as possible!
Here’s one muscle that you should specifically learn a bit about.
After all, learning about human anatomy is just you learning about yourself right?
The extensor carpi radialis brevis is notorious for it’s involvement in Tennis Elbow.
Unfortunately, the anatomy of this muscle makes it more vulnerable to shearing forces in most movements that your arm can perform.
Highlighted in Orange is the muscle heavily implicated in Tennis Elbow Syndrome – the notorious ‘Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis’.
Image Source: Complete Anatomy App
How to Relieve Elbow & Forearm Pain Fast
Over 40 treatments have been described for tennis elbow and so many of are used routinely that there is clearly no single optimum treatment.
However, the best things that you can do for yourself aren’t too difficult to do and can be performed right in the comfort of your own home.
How to Massage Away Your Forearm Pain.
How to use a Massage Gun.
Before I showcase a little about on how to use a massage gun for tennis elbow, here’s the proper way to use a massage gun!
Massage guns have been superbly popular as of late, but there’s not much appropriate guidance in the way to use them. I hear lots of people saying it “feels awesome, but it’s also quite painful to use!”
Massage should never have to be painful! Deep tissue massages aren’t supposed to be painful!
Pain amps up your sympathetic nervous system, causing areas that are already sore and painful to be even more sensitive at times.
Going nice and slow, soft and smooth, taking your – these are all things you should consider doing to help smoothen your recovery.
How to use a Massage Gun for Tennis Elbow
You don’t need any expensive equipment to do some massage on yourself – even if you don’t have a massage gun, just running your fist or hands down your sore areas will help immensely!
Strengthening Exercises for Tennis Elbow
Forearm Strengthening Exercises
Let’s talk about each of the exercises in this video!
Scapular Strengthening Exercises
Working on creating a stable shoulder and set of muscles surrounding the shoulder blades should help with issues down the shoulder and into the arm.
So it makes sense that we’re working on muscles like the lower trapezius, the serratus anterior and rotator cuff muscles.
In this video, it’s important to remember to tuck your elbows in to isolate the external rotators more – and keeping these important rotator cuff muscles in check will create a more balanced set of muscles to properly go through your day.
The shoulder blade or scapula works with your humerus (long bone in your arm ending at your elbow, starting from your shoulder socket) to create the awesome 3D movement we can utilize in pitching, overhead pressing and itching our backs.
This all ties into using those muscles more, and giving a break to the smaller muscles in our forearms.
Mobility Exercises for Tennis Elbow Pain
Forearm Extensors Stretch (Perfect for Tennis Elbow!)
Do this a few times a day everyday to help reach that full painless range of motion.
Mobility Exercises for General Forearm & Wrist Pain
Here are some movements (and one massage) to help with your wrist and forearm pain!
One of the first steps to pain issues is to try and regain pain-free range of motion.
Moving your joints as far as they can before they hurt, and slowly pushing this limit will be superbly important for the first few steps in your therapy.
So let’s go through some of these movements!
It’s different for everyone – for some people you can find instant relief with these techniques.
However, a focus on the long-game may do you a whole lot better.
Frequently asked Questions on Tennis Elbow
There are more than 40 treatments described for Tennis Elbow; however there is no single best form of treatment.
A combination of therapies is more than likely the fastest way to cure tennis elbow – with physical therapy and massage usually being the most popular.
While being one of the most common overuse syndromes in primary medical care, 4 in 5 people who develop Tennis Elbow Syndrome don’t require any formal treatment and typically recover within a year.
Click here if you want to learn more about the timeline of healing Tennis Elbow.
Over 40 treatments have been formally described in many scientific studies, and despite the huge variety of them being used, there’s no consensus on the best form of treatment.
Tennis Elbow is usually not a serious condition which means that conservative treatment can usually do the job. Natural forms of treatment include Massage Therapy, Exercise Therapy, Strengthening & Stretching Exercises.
Physical Therapy is an excellent way to treat typically self-limiting conditions such as Tennis Elbow, otherwise known as Lateral Epicondylitis.
However, you do not necessarily need to have physical therapy for tennis elbow.
Many forms of treatment exist for Tennis Elbow, and physical therapy is just one of them. Any number of these treatments may be more suitable for you than the others based on your specific situation.
The best way to figure out whether Physical Therapy could benefit you is by consulting with a Health Care Professional.
Bracing your elbow when there’s pain in the area can help if you the issue lies in an activity that’s contributing to the pain, but is unavoidable.
If the repetitive strain is from manual labour, it’s sometimes unavoidable to have to keep doing it.
A brace could offset the amount of load in the elbow, making it suitable to use during sports activities or during repetitive work.
Need a little help?
Let’s say that doing it yourself doesn’t really work – that’s fine! Sometimes a little help will come along the way. You can always see a health care professional, wherever you are, and whether or not that’s a Registered Massage Therapist is up to you!
However, if you’re looking to have treatment with a health care professional about a pain problem or functional issue you have, and happen to live in the Greater Toronto Area, specifically Mississauga. You’re always welcome to come see me in person! You can book online with a click of a button!
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