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Tennis elbow can be a painful condition that requires the right course of treatment and a commitment to physical therapy. Thankfully, there are numerous ways you can help treat and protect your elbow at home. This article will give you some insight into the exercises, recovery tools, and medications you should consider.
Tennis Elbow Basics
Tennis elbow basically refers to when the outer portion of your elbow becomes swollen, inflamed and painful to move. It gets its name given the fact that this injury is common for tennis players due to the repetitive swinging motion seen in the sport. However, many people can suffer from tennis elbow, including those in physical professions such as construction, logging or manufacturing.
Many people require physical therapy for this condition, but they can also perform exercises outside of their physical therapy visits to keep their elbow muscle tendons strong.
There is usually an initial healing period where you won't want to move your elbow, wrist or arm muscles much; however, once the pain subsides, you'll need to begin exercises designed not only to target elbow tendons, but also the muscles surrounding your elbow. One muscle you should target is your bicep muscle. To strengthen your bicep muscles, one of the best exercises is simple bicep curls with a pair of wrist weights or light dumbbells.
Simply stand straight with your arms resting at your side, and then use the strength of your bicep muscle to bring the weight upward in a full arc motion, making sure your hands are ultimately positioned near your chest. Then, slowly bring your arms back into a resting position while still maintaining the arc motion to complete a full repetition. The key to this exercise is to keep your elbows in a fixed position while you complete your arc in order to put the weight fully on your biceps. Perform 15 to 20 bicep curl reps for each arm.
You can also stretch your right arm across your chest, and then use your left arm to wrap around the outside of your right elbow just under you tricep muscle. Press inward to stretch the muscles near the elbow area and hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Repeat this step with your other arm until you feel your muscles warm up.
However, it's important to keep in mind that you should stop any exercise and consult your physical therapist if you feel any significant pain during these exercises.
During your healing period when you don't want to strain your elbow, it's important to use a counterforce brace when you want to grab things or twist your arm a certain way.
This brace straps to your forearm and helps apply even pressure throughout your arm, relieving strain on the tendons surrounding your elbow. It makes it easier for you to do your healing at home while still taking care of tasks that might stress your elbow otherwise. However, you should review proper use of a counterforce brace with a physical therapy specialist.
Dealing With Pain
If you have problems dealing with pain, treating your tennis elbow with an ice pack can help reduce swelling, but often you need something more. The most common painkillers used are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, but acetaminophen such as Aspirin can also help you beat back pain.
However, if your tennis elbow isn't getting better through physical therapy and your home treatments, your doctor or physical therapist might also recommend you use corticosteroid injections. These injections can help reduce inflammation over a longer period of time and possibly allow you to get back to normal in a short period of time. For more information, contact a physical therapist at Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital.Share
26 November 2014