How to Treat Tennis Elbow
“Tennis elbow? But I don’t even play tennis!”
Although it’s named after the sport, tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is a condition that anyone can get if they overuse an elbow, wrist, or forearm tendons repetitively. This can be sports like tennis, racquetball, golf, or baseball, but it can also be caused by repetitive motion in many occupations Professionals such as house painters, butchers, musicians, landscapers, mechanics, assembly-line workers, plumbers, grocery-store checkout workers, carpenters, and others can all be affected by tennis elbow.
The Cleveland Clinic says that tennis elbow affects one to three percent of the population, between three and nine million adults in the United States. That number increases to 10 to 50 percent if you play racquet sports. It affects more men than women and most often occurs between ages 30 and 50.
Read on to learn more about how to treat tennis elbow and how to relieve tennis elbow pain:
How to Treat Tennis Elbow
If you’ve been diagnosed with tennis elbow, here are some things you can do for tennis elbow pain relief and to reduce inflammation:
- Rest your arm: Avoid the repetitive motion that caused the condition if you can. This can be difficult if the motion is critical to your livelihood, but even a short period of rest can help. It may be possible for an expert to analyze your job tasks to find the best way to accomplish them while reducing stress to the injured area.
- Apply ice to the painful area: Do this for 15 to 20 minutes every four to six hours, with a cloth or towel between the ice pack and your skin. Physical therapists use gel packs, which don’t freeze as hard as ice and can be slightly molded around the elbow area. Once the initial injury starts to heal, heat may provide relief as well.
- Use a supportive brace on your elbow: There are different types of braces. Some of the most popular options resemble an elastic sleeve that covers your arm above and below the elbow, compressing the entire area. Others are straps you wear around your forearm, which give the muscles support and restrict their movement.
- Use a wrist splint at night: This gives your muscles and tendons a rest and keeps everything in place while you sleep.
- Take ibuprofen: In some cases, a doctor may recommend prescription-strength anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants at night. However, prolonged use of painkillers can have adverse effects on your body.
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- Use physical therapy: Physical therapists use heat therapy, cold therapy, ultrasound, massage, and specific exercises to help heal the injury and avoid re-injury. A physical therapist will give you stretches and exercises to do between sessions and at the end of the sessions. Keeping up with them will help you prevent further injury in the future.
- Injections: For severe symptoms, a doctor may recommend injections of cortisone, platelet-rich plasma, or Botox into the injured tendon.
- Surgery: As a last resort, surgery may be recommended. However, experts believe it should be used only if all the other treatments haven’t helped after six to 12 months or longer. Surgery will be followed by rehabilitation therapy.
How to Sleep with Tennis Elbow
The key to sleeping with tennis elbow is to avoid putting as much strain on the affected arm as possible. To do this, avoid sleeping on the side the injury is on by sticking to your other side or sleeping on your back. To keep yourself from moving too much while sleeping on your back, use pillows or folded blankets to keep both arms propped up like you’re sitting in a reclined armchair. This way, both your affected arm and spine are supported so you can minimize the pain and discomfort felt.
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If you have pain in your elbow, forearm, or wrist, get it checked out by a doctor. If he or she diagnoses you with tennis elbow, use the treatments above to find relief, making sure to pay particular attention to resting the affected arm. For safe, targeted temporary minor pain relief, you can use CBDMEDIC™ products like the Muscle & Joint Pain Relief Ointment with pain-relieving active ingredients such as menthol and camphor. Learn more about how Charlotte’s Web products can help by reading our blog post on repetitive strain injuries (RSIs), looking at our topical pain relief products, or contacting us directly.