How to Treat Tennis Elbow and Golfers Elbow
There is nothing worse than wanting to be active and having pain prevent you from doing the things you love. While the terms “tennis elbow” (lateral epicondylitis) and “golfers elbow” (medial epicondylitis) are quite common, they can affect anyone, not just people who play either sport. Some estimates say only 5% of people suffering with “tennis elbow” even play tennis. Here we will explain why you get Tennis Elbow and Golfers Elbow, and how to fix them.
According to Cyriax most cases of will spontaneously heal within one year. Great, just take one year off from doing any sports, lifting, or other activities that involve your elbow and it will heal! But wait, what I told you that getting back in the “game” could often happen in a matter of days? That’s what we’re going to talk about here.
What causes Tennis elbow & Golfers elbow?
There are multiple causes of tennis elbow but most often the wrist and finger extensor muscles develop small tears and trauma to the area, resulting in pain and swelling.
The trauma could have been a result of micro trauma over years and years, or one major event. The first key is to evaluate what is causing the pain and weakness.
Often times the Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis (ECRB) is the main location of the pain. This is associated with inhibited wrist extensor muscles, when checked via manual muscle testing.
Due to trauma muscles tend to not work as well as they can as a protective mechanism to prevent further injury. One issue though is the muscles don’t always return to their optimal function once the trauma has been removed. The receptors in the muscle, which measure muscle tension, neurologically inhibit the muscle from functioning correctly, and the only way to get the muscle working properly is to re-set the receptors in the muscle.
This “weakness” isn’t the type of weakness that one fixes by doing rehab exercises in the gym, but the muscle needs to be neurologically re-set so it has the ability to fire again optimally.
Due to the muscle trauma the ulna may become slightly subluxated (out of alignment) and need to be adjusted by a chiropractor to help restore proper movement of the elbow joint.
Compensation injuries causing Tennis & Golfers elbow:
While sometimes fixing an elbow injury can be as easy as working on the elbow, other times the issue is because of an injury in another part of the body which puts more stress on the elbow. Sometimes these root injuries can be in the shoulder, the neck, or even the opposite hip or knee. Without evaluating all of these areas for injuries one may never get the elbow better.
Nutritional effects on the Muscular Injuries:
In addition to musculoskeletal conditions causing elbow issues, the problem could be from ones nutrition. If one engages in any type of sport, exercise, or movement that involves the same motion done repetitively, it uses up ones fatty acids, typically Omega 3’s. Also if one has damaged the muscle, Carnitine could be needed for repair. If ligaments are damaged, manganese or LuRong may be needed. Also if one is eating a food that is causing inflammation in the body, then finding and eliminating the food sensitivities is needed so the body can decrease inflammation and allow the muscle to heal.
You need to remember though, not all supplements are created equally, and you should talk to someone trained in nutrition, especially Applied Kinesiology, before taking any.
What you can do at home?
In basic cases one can fix their Tennis elbow and Golfers elbow at home by working out trigger points. This can be painful though, and may need to be done multiple days in a row. Feel around the medial and lateral part of your elbow where your wrist muscles originate. See if you can find a tender spot, aka “trigger point”. Rub the trigger point very hard for 20-30 seconds. You can also follow the muscle down all the way to the wrist, and towards the shoulder, feeling for other trigger points, working on them in the same way.
In the simplest cases this alone will help speed up recovery and relieve the pain.
How to get rid of the pain and back in the game:
If working the trigger points alone doesn’t help then it’s time to be evaluated for what is causing your injury and how to fix it. I recommend seeing an Applied Kinesiologist who has been trained in manual muscle testing, which allows us to eliminate the guess work of what is
causing your issue, and know exactly which muscles are involves. Then doing a variety of therapies will help eliminate the pain and get you back to doing what you want to.
Pain and swelling doesn’t have to last a long time. In many cases doing this work can remove a majority of the pain and restricted range of motion after the first appointment! Athletes we treat are often able to return playing in days (some even the same day), vs the typical waiting game of weeks to months while hoping it heals on its own. No matter if your injury has been going on for 3 days or 3 months, it’s time to get rid of the pain and back to your normal life.
As always, email me at DrNoahLebowitz@gmail.com if you have any questions.
-Dr. Noah Lebowitz is a second generation Chiropractor and Applied Kinesiologist practicing in Tacoma / Seattle WA. Dr. Lebowitz treats the chronically ill patient with fatigue, intestinal issues, depression, autoimmune conditions, etc. The patients he sees have often seen many other doctors beforehand and are able to be helped using the unique protocol developed by Michael Lebowitz DC. He also works with professional athletes (including NHL and MLB All-Stars and MVP players) and amateurs working to optimize muscle function and nutrition helping decrease injuries and increase performance.