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Tennis Elbow (or Lateral Epicondylitis)

What is tennis elbow (or lateral epicondylitis)?
Lateral epicondylitis is essentially pain on the outside of the elbow. It is an overuse injury that affects the tendons on the outside of the elbow.

It can be very painful at the elbow and often runs down the forearm. Pain often increases when you extend your wrist; hold onto items, or when you turn your wrist. Your arm may feel weak or easily tire while using your hands. Shaking hands or opening a glass jar are some activities that become very painful.

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What are the risk factors for lateral epicondylitis?
Lateral epicondylitis is an overuse injury caused by repeating simple activities over and over again. Ultimately, the muscles and tendons become injured and small tears develop. As the injury progresses, more of the tendon is injured and subsequently the pain increases. Seemingly simple activities such as using a screwdriver, reaching, holding, pulling, or cutting activities can cause tennis elbow. Anyone using their hands can develop lateral epicondylitis.

How can I treat tennis elbow at home?
Tennis elbow can be initially treated with ice, rest, and over the counter anti-inflammatory medications. If the pain continues, additional treatment may be required, particularly if the affected person cannot reduce their aggravating activities--such as working at computer as part of their job. It is common to have cycles of improvement and then painful aggravation, however. Rest and ice can help reduce the pain, but when the person returns to activity before the elbow is completely healed, and the elbow becomes reinjured.

What does in office treatment of lateral epicondylitis involve?
Advanced treatment focuses on reducing the muscles spasms and decreasing the inflammation through physiotherapy, stretching, prescribed exercises, and massage therapy. Proper treatment involves a medical provider actively working on the muscles and tendons through muscle therapy or by manual treatments such as the Graston Technique or Active Release Technique to further increase the speed of healing.

Occasionally, further intervention may be required, which include corticosteroid injection therapy or surgery. Your healthcare provider can make this assessment.

How can I further prevent tennis elbow?
Prevention includes changing the aggravating activities that hurt your tennis elbow, which may include as work, recreation, or home habits. Reviewing proper technique during these activities with your healthcare provider and then slowly building strength into the elbow muscles will prevent tennis elbow long-term.

Lateral epicondylitis (or tennis elbow) can be successfully treated to allow you to return your normal activities without pain. Call Alpha Chiropractic today at (480) 812-1800 to begin treatment for tennis elbow. For further information on the treatments mentioned, click on services provided link Services or Graston Technique.

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