Being an athlete or staying active often means accepting a certain level of aches and pains, especially if you’re training for an event or pursuing a specific goal. Sometimes an ache or pain comes on gradually and relates to the activity (e.g., sore knees and running). Other times, it’s unexpected and seems to have nothing to do with the activity. “Tennis elbow” is such a pain.
“Tennis elbow” is the general term for a Repetitive Stress/Strain Injury (RSI) along the outside of the elbow. It’s called tennis elbow because historically more tennis players complained of the condition than other athletes. That said, any overuse of the arm, forearm, and hand muscles can bring on tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, as your doctor may call it. In fact, many people who do other sports or activities (like baseball, golf, weightlifting, or CrossFit™) can be diagnosed with lateral epicondylitis. Even those that don’t play sports but whose professions require continuous use of hands and arms, like carpenters, can experience tennis elbow.
Some of the symptoms you might experience are:
- Increased pain around the outside of the elbow
- Worse pain when gripping something or shaking hands
- Pain when lifting, using hand tools, opening jars, or using a toothbrush
- Reduced strength in the arm
If you believe you have a tennis elbow, see your doctor for an examination, MRI, and/or X-rays to confirm the condition. The recommended treatment plan can include all or some of the following: 1) Complete rest from the activities causing the pain; 2) A stabilizing brace; 3) Icing the area for 20 minutes up to three times per day, and 4) Elevating the area to reduce inflammation.
Including chiropractic adjustments can also help to reduce pain and encourage recovery. A chiropractor will usually exam the joints of the hand, wrist, elbow, shoulder, and neck and adjust as needed. When joints are not functioning as they should and bones are out of alignment, correcting the misalignments can assist in healing and restore the use of the arm sooner.
Tennis elbow doesn’t have to mean giving up the activities you enjoy. Following a treatment plan, including chiropractic adjustments and being patient can ensure you get back in the game sooner.
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