Do you know about my new series called Anatomy Tuesdays? You can see the video and submit your own pain question about it here.
In this first series we will be covering tennis elbow in honor of the 2012 U.S. Open. Tennis elbow symptoms are actually more common in common every day workers than actual sports tennis players. Injuring the muscles surrounding the elbow joint and not receiving correct therapy for the injury can can reduce your healing time for your tennis elbow.
What is Tennis elbow?
A slight tare or inflammation of the muscle that originated at the elbow and attaches to the top of your hand. Per massage therapy educator Ben Benjamin says this about why you will not notice a tennis elbow injury until about two weeks after it happens. Read on: “At first the pain from tennis elbow is hardly discernible, but about two weeks after the injury, the pain noticeably increases. During this interim, the tendon has suffered hundreds of micro-tears with normal activity and/or sports, building a large V-shaped scar that begins to hurt.”
Wrist, hand, elbow, arm
Daily actions or activities that may indicate you have tennis elbow:
- opening a door
- shaking hands
- lift heavy objects
- swinging a hammer
- racquet ball
- playing the piano
- scrubbing or mopping floors
When left alone tennis elbow can heal on it’s own but it takes patients. The average healing time is 6 -12 months. This specific and long term injury is quite common in those that do repetative lifting of heavy objects or clicking of the mouse at a computer all day.
Healing options for tennis elbow
- Deep tissue massage, friction massage and trigger point therapy.
Friction massage is the application of firm pressure to the tendons, strumming the tendons back and forth like a musical instrument. This action will subside some of the pain and help to heal the injured tendon’s. It is very important to apply ice after friction massage to reduce the inflammation that was just caused. I offer this treatment to clients at my office and it has proven to work very well for many of them. For self-care at home I have them do hydro contrast therapy, which again has proven to cut the healing time down by a few months. I have also found that adding myofascial massage to the forearm works wonders.
- Ergonomic changes
Typically we hear the word ergonomics associated with computers and office life. In this case try switching your mouse to a thumb rolling mouse or ergonomic keyboard. Changing your chair height or even place a stool or box under your feet while at your desk can help as well. Resting your body from doing the repetitive action is key to recovery from your tennis elbow symptoms.
- Contrast Hydrotherapy
” Once the inflammation and swelling has gone down, you need to continue stimulating circulation to the area as much as possible. Do this with contrast hydrotherapy: the alternating application of heat and cold to the area really dramatically increases circulation to the area. By far the best method of doing this is in a double-sink: one filled with cold water, the other with hot water. You should do this regularly until you are fully healed. ” – Saveyourself.ca
“One of the basic principles of healing is that tissue must not be irritated while healing, but nevertheless still needs some moderate stimulation in order to move tissue fluids and to induce connective tissue reorganization. This is the “use it or lose it” principle — biologically, it’s terribly important to avoid tissue stagnancy.” – Paul Ingraham
Want to submit your own pain question? Go ahead and submit your simple one sentence question in the Anatomy Tuesday’s Form here. I’m waiting to hear from you!
Kristen Tammaro is a Licensed Massage Therapist in the state of Massachusetts, mentor and coach to other business owners and has a thriving successful massage therapy practice in her home town of Taunton MA.