What I Did to Deal with My Tennis Elbow

Final 12 months I developed a horrible case of tennis elbow.

On the day of its preliminary onset, I awoke feeling tremendous. However by the afternoon, it felt like electrical shocks had been surging by my proper forearm, slightly below the elbow. It’s a tough feeling to explain, nevertheless it’s painful. 

I began to do some tennis elbow rehab workouts that I discovered on YouTube, however they didn’t appear to assist. I needed to take a break from my weightlifting for just a few weeks and located day by day upkeep actions painful to carry out. I used to be tremendous bummed.

A few month later, I awoke with the very same feeling in my left arm! I now had tennis elbow in each arms. Bogus! 

I lastly determined to go to a bodily therapist to see what they beneficial and related with Wire DeMoss at Vitality Remedy right here in Tulsa

Because of his teaching and remedy, I used to be lastly in a position to heal my tennis elbow. It took a very long time, although. My tennis elbow began in September 2021. It wasn’t till April 2022 that I might lastly say all of the ache from my tennis elbow was gone. That’s eight months.

Based mostly on my expertise with tennis elbow, I’ve concluded that it’s one of many dumbest accidents that may befall you.

It may be debilitating. I couldn’t choose up heavy issues for a number of months. Shaking palms with individuals would trigger a shock of ache to pulse down my arm. Opening doorways was painful. Even choosing up a cup made me wince.  

And it takes ceaselessly to heal as a result of it’s a tendon damage and tendon accidents are a booger to deal with. 

D – u – m – b. Dumb. 

For these of you who’re at present affected by or could sooner or later undergo from this dumb illness, I current to you the rehab protocol I used to heal it.

It labored for my case of tennis elbow. Perhaps it gives you some concepts on tips on how to deal with yours. 

What Is Tennis Elbow?

The scientific identify for tennis elbow is lateral epicondylitis. It’s a tendinopathy (tendon damage) of the extensor tendons on the surface of your elbow. It’s not tendonitis or easy irritation of the tendon. You possibly can deal with tendonitis in just a few days or perhaps weeks with some relaxation and Advil.

When you’ve gotten tennis elbow, the tendon tissue is broken. It’s breaking down. It’s brought on by the repetitive contraction of the forearm muscle tissue that you simply use to straighten and lift your hand and wrist. 

Whereas it’s referred to as tennis elbow as a result of tennis gamers usually get it, it could actually occur to anybody, like, for instance, middle-aged bloggers/podcasters who powerlift recreationally. For those who do one thing that causes the repeated contraction of your forearm muscle tissue, you’re liable to growing tennis elbow. Portray, driving screws, and utilizing a pc mouse quite a bit could cause tennis elbow. I feel mine got here partly from how I used to be sitting at my desk.

You’ll often expertise the ache of tennis elbow the place your forearm tendons connect to the surface of your elbow. In extreme instances, you’ll be able to have ache that spreads all the best way down your forearm. My tennis elbow began at my elbow and would shoot about midway down my forearm. 

You gained’t really feel ache on a regular basis when you’ve gotten tennis elbow. For those who hold your arm straight, you’ll be pain-free. Bending your hand backward, choosing up a cup, and turning a doorknob will often set off tennis elbow and create a surge of ache. Shaking palms may also do it. 

As a result of tennis elbow is a tendon damage, it’s going to take a very long time to heal. That’s as a result of not plenty of blood goes to your tendons, so the damage doesn’t get the nourishment it must rebuild.

Learn how to Rehab Your Tennis Elbow

Under I spotlight the rehab protocol I used for my tennis elbow:

Gradual reverse wrist curls. To heal your tennis elbow, it’s a must to strengthen your tendon. One of the best ways to try this is with reverse wrist curls. 

Begin with curling a actually gentle weight. I’m speaking “the two-pound rubber dumbbells you will get at CVS” gentle. You’ll be tempted to go heavier, however don’t. It would take you to the ache cave. 

Sit on a bench along with your CVS dumbbell and lean ahead. 

Maintain the dumbbell with an overhand grip (palm down) and relaxation your forearm in your knee.

Lengthen your hand again towards your forearm. If this hurts quite a bit, you need to use your free hand that can assist you get the load again. This a part of the motion isn’t that necessary in rehabbing your tennis elbow. 

Slowly decrease your hand again down. And after I say slowly, I imply slowly. It ought to take a ten-count to convey your hand again down — that is the place the magic occurs for tendinopathy rehab. Analysis has proven that sluggish, eccentric actions are what assist strengthen tendons essentially the most. So make the eccentric a part of the motion final so long as doable. 

Repeat for ten reps. 

Do three units. 

I did these each different day. As your tennis elbow begins to really feel higher, slowly add weight. 

You should purchase Therabands to do reverse wrist curls. Lots of people swear by them. I purchased them however most popular the dumbbells. To every their very own. Do what works for you. 

Wrist extension isometrics. Isometric holds are one other nice method to rehab tendinopathies. I used them when treating my adductor tendonosis. First, they produce a brief analgesic (pain-reducing) impact in your thoughts and physique. So isometrics take a little bit of the sting off your tennis elbow ache. Second, isometrics assist convey blood to and strengthen your tendon tissue. 

To carry out wrist extension isometrics, get in your palms and knees. 

Sit again in your heels and hold your elbows fully locked out. 

Lengthen your wrist and produce your fingers off the ground. Press the heel of your palm into the ground. It ought to really feel like your forearm is contracted, and also you’re urgent into the ground with the heel of your palm. Maintain that place for 30 seconds. That is the isometric contraction we’re searching for. 

Rock ahead and produce your fingers onto the ground. This may take your forearm out of contraction. 

Repeat for 5 reps. 

I did this each different day after my reverse wrist curls.

Cross-friction therapeutic massage. In accordance with Bob and Brad, “The Two Most Well-known Bodily Therapists on the Web,” cross friction therapeutic massage can assist velocity the therapeutic of tennis elbow.

The way in which they clarify it’s that when you’ve gotten tendinopathy, the tissue in your tendon is scarred and disorganized. Cross-friction therapeutic massage helps convey nourishing blood to your tendon, breaks down scar tissue, and helps reorganize the broken tendon. Whereas I’m doubtful you could manually manipulate your tendon tissues so that they line again up, the cross-friction therapeutic massage did appear to assist in therapeutic.

Discover the extensor muscle close to your elbow that hurts. 

Take two fingers in your different hand, press firmly down on the extensor muscle, after which transfer it backwards and forwards, perpendicular throughout the extensor tendon. It may be a bit of tender initially, however it’s going to begin feeling higher the longer you do it.

Carry out your cross-friction therapeutic massage for a couple of minutes. 

I used to be fairly liberal with the cross-friction therapeutic massage. I’d do it on a regular basis. At house; sitting in site visitors; standing in line on the put up workplace. My youngsters referred to as it “tendonizing.” It turned a working joke in my household that Dad was all the time tendonizing. Tendonizing labored, although! Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Gus and Scout. 

Change your desk setup. Whereas I don’t know what precisely triggered my tennis elbow, my hunch is that it needed to do with poor workstation ergonomics. I’m positive the best way I had my laptop computer arrange on my desk was inflicting my wrists to be in extension on a regular basis, which contributed to the tennis elbow. 

The factor that helped me was to get a Magic Keyboard for my laptop computer and place it in a keyboard tray beneath my desktop. This helped hold my elbows at a 90-degree angle, stopping my wrists from being in fixed contraction. 

I additionally purchased a vertical mouse. It places your wrist in a extra impartial place. It feels much more snug. 

I had been doing the wrist curls and isometrics for just a few months earlier than I up to date my desk setup. It wasn’t till I modified my desk setup with the keyboard tray and upright mouse that I observed an enchancment. Making my workspace extra ergonomic undoubtedly had an affect on my tennis elbow. 

The large takeaway right here is to search out the underlying reason for your tennis elbow and do what you’ll be able to to remove or mitigate it. 

Get again to common exercise as quickly as doable. When you’ve gotten tennis elbow, it hurts to do plenty of basic items. It may be particularly painful to train. Consequently, your preliminary impulse will doubtless be to take a break from all bodily exercise till your tennis elbow heals. That’s what I did when tennis elbow first hit me. 

However the analysis means that resting doesn’t do a lot for tendiopathies. In truth, resting can get in the best way of your tennis elbow therapeutic. 

To strengthen the tendon, you’ll want to put it underneath load. It is advisable use it. Movement is lotion! 

Along with having me carry out the above workouts, Wire was adamant that I get again underneath the barbell as quickly as doable. He defined that the load and motion would assist strengthen and get blood close to the tendon. 

Be affected person! Past the above workouts and environmental tweaksessentially the most useful recommendation I can provide you for rehabbing your tennis elbow is to be affected person. It gained’t get higher in a single day. It gained’t get higher in per week. It gained’t even get higher in a month. Anticipate it to take not less than three months earlier than you begin noticing an enchancment and as much as a 12 months to get well absolutely. From the time I began actively rehabbing my tennis elbow, it took six months for it to fully go away. 

It’s irritating. I keep in mind pondering, “Are these dopey little rehab workouts doing something?” It may not really feel like they’re, however they’re. Follow them. 

Additionally, when it begins to really feel higher, it is going to be gradual. It gained’t be sudden. You’ll even have days the place it feels prefer it’s getting higher, after which the following day, it’s going to really feel worse than ever. It’s two steps ahead, one step again. Attempt to not get too discouraged on these days when it feels such as you’re going backward in your restoration. 

Stuff That Would possibly Have Helped

After I visited Wire, we’d primarily deal with the strengthening workouts. We’d sometimes do some remedies which Wire described as extra “grey” — the analysis isn’t conclusive that the remedies assist, nevertheless it isn’t clear that they don’t, both, and so they don’t damage to attempt.

The 2 grey remedies we did had been dry needling and blood stream restriction:

Dry needling. Dry needling is akin to the Western model of acupuncture. Your PT will stick a needle within the space that hurts. It causes tiny muscle contractions, that are purported to assist in the therapeutic course of. That’s the idea, not less than.

We did dry needling just a few occasions on my tennis elbow. It felt good afterward. I don’t understand how a lot it contributed to my therapeutic. I feel I doubtless received an enormous placebo profit out of it. It simply felt good to really feel like I used to be proactively doing one thing to heal my tennis elbow. And after our podcast concerning the bizarre wonders of the placebo impact, I not low cost its energy. If it helps, it helps.

Blood stream restriction. This system was developed in Japan within the 60s and has grown in reputation amongst bodily therapists in recent times. 

You prohibit the blood stream to the injured space with a band or a pneumatic cuff. You then carry out low-intensity, high-rep muscle contraction workouts. The added stress of the blood stream restriction is meant to assist improve the therapeutic course of; after you launch the restriction, the affected space receives a rush of blood.

In my case, Wire would put a pneumatic cuff round my bicep. He had this fancy bodily therapist blood stream restriction rig that calibrates the stress exactly. I’d then do units of the reverse wrist curls at excessive reps. I’d begin with a set of 30 reps and relaxation for 30 seconds. I’d observe that up with 4 extra units of 15 reps, 30 seconds between every set. 

We solely did blood stream restriction just a few occasions. 

I’m undecided how a lot it helped. However once more, it was good to really feel like I used to be doing one thing. 

If in case you have tennis elbow, I don’t assume dry needling and blood stream restriction are mandatory. Don’t get me incorrect. I loved them. However whereas they made me really feel good afterwards, I’m undecided they did a lot total. And naturally they value cash. For those who determine to do these remedies, go to a licensed skilled to get them carried out. 

Concluding Ideas

Throughout my rehab course of, I didn’t use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen for the ache. Once more, tennis elbow isn’t an irritation downside. Your tendon is degraded. Advil gained’t assist.

I additionally didn’t get cortisone photographs. Based mostly on my analysis and speaking with Wire, cortisone photographs can present momentary ache reduction however don’t do a lot to strengthen and heal your tennis elbow, which is what you’ll want to do if you wish to remove the ache fully.

Visiting Wire was an enormous morale increase. He did an ideal job conserving me proactive in my rehabilitation, holding me accountable for doing my rehab workouts at house, and inspiring me after I was feeling notably down about my damage. For those who’ve been battling tennis elbow for some time, think about visiting a bodily therapist. 

Reverse wrist curls. Wrist extension isometrics. Cross-friction therapeutic massage. Practising higher ergonomics.

That was it. 

The most important factor, although, was time. 

Tennis elbow is a dumb damage that takes a stupidly very long time to get higher. 

For those who’re sensible, you’ll be proactive however affected person in coping with this dumbness. 

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