Take a look at your elbow. Turn the pointed part (the olecranon) of the elbow to face in front of you and look just before the end of your elbow. If you were to peer through your skin you’d see a tendon coming from your bone and meshing into your muscle. It is there that you feel the most pain with Tennis Elbow. It is possible for the pain to radiate through the forearm and wrist causing greater discomfort.
Many people can get Tennis Elbow and they don’t even have to be playing tennis! Tennis Elbow or Lateral epicondylitis is an inflammation of the tendon and muscle, there may even be a tear in the fibers of your muscle. You may feel pain or burning when you straiten the arm, lift heavier items up when your palm is facing the ground. You can get Tennis Elbow from:
- Poor technique (especially performing a tennis backhand)
- Typing on the computer and moving a mouse around
- Racquet sports
- Using screw drivers
- Waiting tables
- Over turning food with a spatchula
- Any form of consistent wrist twisting and griping
Will you always have this pain? You can create a chronic issue of your tennis elbow if you continue to strain your arm before it has healed or simply don’t treat it at all. If you want to be a big “macho man” and never treat your issue then, yes, you will continue to have pain in your arm.
The most important action for you to take is icing. You need to take the inflammation out of your arm and this will reduce your pain. Icing alone is not going to heal your arm. You need to give it a break or a rest from strenuous activities. You may want to see your doctor if the pain is unbearable. Most of the time you can tell if you have tennis elbow from your activity and symptoms i.e. where you hurt, but it could be more than just tennis elbow. If it’s more, then the doctor will need to do more testing. While you’re at the doctor’s office ask if massage is okay for your tennis elbow.
After icing, resting, and getting the okay from your doctor you should prevent tennis elbow from coming back by getting a massage. Massage will lubricate the fibers of the muscle so they’re not as stuck together and allow for more movement. Massage can prevent tears from occurring. Getting the okay from your doctor states that your body has healed the tears, if any, and massage won’t irritate your arm any further. Massage is also a great way to reduce the pain you feel while performing tasks that involve gripping or lifting.
For self massage you can take a tennis ball (no pun intended), golf ball, racquet ball, lacrosse ball (it’s the tool you swing that causes the pain, not the ball!), or Yoga Tune-up ball and place the ball on the floor in front of you. You can do this one forearm at a time or both at the same time. Start with the spot you looked at in the beginning of the article. Place your arm on the ball, palm up, and slowly make back and forth movements making your way to the wrist. This will probably be very tender, but in time and continuance of massage, it will become less and less tender every time.
Enjoy your rest and massage on your journey to a better elbow! Always be sure to ice after and drink a plethora of water!! Water is very important for healing.
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