Chiropractor Chandler AZ

Carson Robertson
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Tennis Elbow, or Lateral Epicondylitis

Tennis elbow, or as Lateral Epicondylitis as it's technically known, is an elbow injury resulting from isolated trauma to, or excessive exertion of, the arms and forearms. Over time, the tendons that attach to the lateral epicondyle—that is, a part of the humerus the outer part of the elbow—become stressed, which can lead to pain there and radiating up to the wrist.

Muscles involved in the everyday motions of extending your wrist, twisting your hand, or gripping all attach to the lateral epicondyle. When you have tennis elbow, you'll eventually experience sharp pain when shaking hands, turning a doorknob, or lifting a gallon of milk. Sports that involve swinging a bat or racquet can increase the strain on this area, hence its name.

Lateral Epicondylitis is a common condition among tennis players, weightlifters, or anyone involved in continuous arm and hand work. Some people develop acute symptoms after a weekend of increased activity, such as yard work or home-improvement projects.

Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

Although tennis elbow refers specifically to elbow pain, the term is often associated with achiness in the arms, as well as other symptoms:

  • Pain on the outer area of the elbow that may extend up or down the arms
  • Discomfort with wrist movements
  • Discomfort when extending the forearm
  • Pain when squeezing objects
  • Inability to firmly grasp or hold objects
  • The pain usually begins as tightness and stiffness in the forearms. It then progresses to dull pain and muscle tightness. Sharp pain is felt during specific activities that requiring flexing the affected muscles. This pain can sometimes be severe and limiting.

    elbow muscles edited
    Causes of Tennis Elbow

    Tennis elbow is very commonly the result of chronic repetitive movements. The strain on the muscles is increased with repetition or with an increased weight load. The volume of repeated activity overwhelms the muscles and tendons, leading to tendinitis. People often ignore feelings of mild pain and discomfort in order to continue with their activities, which can worsen the condition.

    There are several common causes of tennis elbow, including:

  • Cooking
  • Painting
  • Typing
  • Weaving or knitting
  • Lifting heavy items
  • Carpentry
  • Turning a screwdriver
  • Most people are surprised that these activities can cause elbow pain, but they all involve repetitive motions of the wrist and elbow. Some are more demanding than others, but it's the volume of activity that leads to the injury. Eventually the affected area has undergone several cycles of injury and aggravations, producing a very tender, swollen and painful elbow.

    Low Level Laser Treatments

    1. ACCELERATED TISSUE REPAIR AND CELL GROWTH

    Photons of light from lasers penetrate into tissue and accelerate cellular growth and reproduction. Laser therapy increases the energy available to the cell so it can work faster, better, and quickly get rid of waste products. When cells of tendons, ligaments, and muscles are exposed to laser light they repair and heal faster.

    2. FASTER WOUND HEALING

    Laser light increases collagen production by stimulating fibroblasts. Collagen is the building block of tissue repair and healing. Laser therapy increases fibroblast activity and therefore collagen production to speed healing.

    3. REDUCED FIBROUS TISSUE FORMATION

    Low level laser therapy decreases scar tissue formation. Scar tissue can be a source of chronic pain and poor healing. By eliminating excessive scar tissue and encouraging proper collagen production, painful scars and chronic pain is reduced.

    anti inflammation
    4. ANTI-INFLAMMATION

    Laser therapy causes vasodilatation (increases size of capillaries) which increases blood flow. The treatments also increases lymphatic drainage to decrease swelling or edema. Therefore, laser therapy reduces swelling caused by bruising or inflammation while speeding the recovery process.

    5. PAIN RELIEF

    Cold laser therapy decreases pain by blocking pain signals to the brain. Some nerve cells sense pain and send signals to the brain. Chronic pain can be caused by overly active pain nerves. Specific wavelengths help "shut off" the pain signals, thereby; eliminating your pain.

    Low level lasers are excellent at decreasing inflammation, which also increases pain nerve activity. Cold laser therapy also increases endorphins and enkephalins, which block pain signals and decrease pain sensation. Overall laser therapy reduces painful nerve signals and reducing your perceived pain.

    6. INCREASED BLOOD FLOW

    Blood carries nutrients and building blocks to the tissue, and carries waste products away. Increased blood flow to tissues increases and enhances cellular healing. Cold laser therapy increases the formation of capillaries in damaged tissue. Specific laser frequency also increases blood flow to the area treated, to enhance injury repair.

    7. INCREASED REPAIR AND REGENERATION

    Low level lasers increases enzyme activity to improve metabolic activity that affects cell repair and regeneration. The enzymes are turned on "high" to speed the healing.

    8. NERVE FUNCTION AND REPAIR

    Nerves heal very slowly. Lasers speed up this process. Damage to nerves causes numbness, pain, muscle weakness, and altered sensations. Laser therapy treatments enhance nerve function, healing, and reduce pain.

    9. INCREASED ENERGY PRODUCTION - ATP

    ATP is like gasoline for cells, it is the energy source that cells operate. Injured cells often have low levels of ATP, which decreases their ability to heal and repair. By increasing ATP and "gasoline storage levels," cells have more ATP for healing and repair. Increased mitochondrial production is very important with nerve pain.

    10. ACUPRESSURE AND TRIGGER POINTS

    Low level laser therapy decreases trigger points and stimulates acupuncture points to decrease muscle and joint pain.

    We combine low level laser therapy with a variety of techniques and treatments. Cold laser therapy can be used alone as a single treatment modality, or in conjunction with other Chiropractic, Physical Therapy, massage therapy, or medical treatments.

    Conservative Treatments

    Therapeutic treatments for addressing soft tissue injuries involve massage therapy, manual therapy, trigger point therapy, Graston Technique, or Active Release Technique. These treatments increase blood flow, decrease muscle spasms, enhance flexibility, speed healing, and promote proper tissue repair.

    soft tissue injuries

    When these treatments are incorporated into a treatment plan patients heal faster and are less likely to have long-term pain or soft tissue fibrosis or scar tissue in the injured muscle. These soft tissue treatments are incorporated with cold laser, therapeutic exercise, and flexibility programs.

    Treatment for shoulder injuries often requires a variety of exercises, stretches, conservative treatments, medical treatments, and home therapies. Shoulder injuries can become chronic if the appropriate steps are not taken.

    Elbow injuries often occur in people with severe or chronic shoulder injuries. People begin trying to alter their shoulder motions to protect it. Unfortunately these altered body mechanics tend to overwhelm the muscles and tendons around the elbow. People often develop a secondary cubital tunnel syndrome, lateral epicondylitis, tricep tendonitis, medial epicondylitis, pronator teres syndrome, double crush, carpal sprains, wrist tendinitis, de quervain's tendonitis, finger extensor strains, or carpal tunnel syndrome.

    Treatment for elbow injuries can be extensive if the tendinosis is severe. Mild strains can be treated at home with PRICE, home stretches, and exercises. Don't wait for damage to both the shoulder and elbow to seek treatment and therapy.

    Medical Treatments

    NSAIDs are often prescribed for the initial acute injury stages. In severe cases that involve multiple joint regions, muscle relaxers or oral steroids can be given. Trigger point injections, botox, or steroid injections can be treatment options. Pain management is not usually required unless stronger medications or joint injections are required for treatment.

    MRI and X-rays will not usually be ordered to evaluate mild to moderate muscle, tendon, and ligament injuries. Severe cases may utilize advanced imaging to rule out bone fractures, edema, nerve entrapments, tendon or muscle ruptures. NCV testing may be utilized in cases that also involve muscle, sensory, or reflex loss which indicates nerve damage.

    Spine model degeneration

    Cervical spinal disc bulges and herniations onto the spinal cord or nerve root produce different symptoms and location of symptoms. Pain radiating in the hand is one symptom; along with numbness, weakness, fatigue, loss of sensation, or reduced reflexes. Your chiropractor, physical therapist, occupational therapist, or physician will evaluate your condition and make a proper diagnosis and treatment recommendations. Ask them any questions you might have about your injury.

    Many people do have arthritis or degenerative changes in their elbow, wrist, finger, or thumb joints. Arthritis does not mean you will always have pain in the joints. Degenerative arthritis means the structural Integrity of the bones have changed which alters its gliding, sliding, and hinging motions. The more severe the arthritic changes the easier it becomes to aggravate the joint and produce pain. Low level laser therapy is excellent at decreasing pain and inflammation in arthritic hand and wrist joints.

    Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis will also slow healing and recovery time. People with severe arthritis can have no pain in a joint. In fact many times people blame their arthritis pain on tendinosis or tendonitis of the tendons that attach around the joint. Conservative treatment can improve hand and wrist pain; and people will have dramatically less pain in joints that have arthritic changes.

    In Conclusion

    The upper extremity works as a comprehensive unit performing many of the repetitive tasks at home, work, and recreational sports. Injuries to one area of the musculature often indicate that additional damage has been incurred by other muscles.

    Two hands On Exercise Ball Start Shoulder Stability Exercise

    Many therapeutic exercises can help restore proper strength and endurance to the elbow flexor muscles. Isometric exercises are often the initial treatment exercises. Followed by single plane rubber band exercises for elbow flexion, extension, pronation, and supination movements. Dynamic exercises involving stability ball push-ups can be performed on the wall or floor. The more unstable of the surface the more effort and stabilization is required of all the upper extremity muscles.

    Push-ups on a stability ball enhances neuromuscular learning throughout the neck, scapula, shoulder, upper arm, and lower arm muscles. Additional strength exercises can be found on the arm and shoulder strengthening pages.

    Our Chandler Chiropractic and Physical Therapy clinic treats patients with a variety of muscle, tendon, joint, and ligament injuries with a combination of cold laser, physiotherapy, and advanced muscle techniques. The clinic provides treatment for runners, tri-athletes, and weekend warriors in addition to common headache, neck, and back patients traditionally seen in Chiropractic, Physical Therapy, Massage Therapy clinics. We work with all ages and abilities of the residents in Phoenix, Tempe, Gilbert, Mesa, and Chandler AZ.