Can Massage Cure Tennis Elbow?
Category: Health Posted: 13 Oct 2018
Posted: 13 Oct 2018
Serving ace after ace may wipe the smile off your opponents face, but overdo it, and you could be frowning too. Tennis elbow (medically known as lateral epicondylitis) is a common musculoskeletal condition that causes severe and continuing pain in the elbow and forearm. Massage therapy can help cure tennis elbow and speed up your path to serving pain free aces again.
Why Is It Called Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is a form of repetitive strain injury that occurs to the elbow and forearm. It is often caused when too much pressure is exerted onto those muscles again and again. Repeatedly smashing the ball during games of tennis, especially if your technique is not faultless, is a common cause for developing such conditions.
The condition can also be caused by various other activities in which elbow and forearm muscles are used heavily. Examples include other racquet sports, painting or even typing every day for long periods without adequate breaks.
How is Tennis Elbow Different to Golfer’s Elbow?
When the pain felt is on the outer side of the elbow it is called tennis elbow. If the pain is on the inside of the elbow, it is known as golfer’s elbow. Both injuries have the same underlying medical conditions. The difference arises from which area of the elbow muscles have become damaged. Tennis tends to exert more pressure onto the outer part of the elbow, whereas golf swings focus on inner elbow muscles.
How Can Tennis Elbow Be Cured?
Tennis elbow is a self-healing condition and the pain will reduce and disappear over time. It can take anything from a few weeks to two years for the pain to completely vanish, with most people taking around a year to feel completely recovered. It is however possible to reduce suffering sooner as well as speed up the natural recovery process by using certain treatments and massage therapy.
Treating Tennis Elbow With Massage Therapy
Tendons and ligaments are notoriously slow to heal. When parts of our bodies become damaged they need a regular supply of good nutrients brought to them through active blood flow to be able to recover and heal. The more healthy blood that flows past tendons and ligaments, the sooner they will recover.
One of the main benefits of receiving massage therapy is that the rate of blood circulation around the body is increased. This has a two-fold positive effect for recovering muscles. Firstly, nourishing chemicals are brought to injured areas quickly and regularly. Secondly, waste products such as excess lactate that often arise from muscle overuse are flushed away more frequently and effectively.
As well as the pain that is suffered from tennis elbow, many people also experience a lack of mobility around the elbow joint. Massage therapy for tennis elbow injuries includes gentle manipulation of muscles and the surrounding tissues. This can help bring flexibility to the area and improve movement. Acupressure style massages such as trigger point therapy and Shiatsu help pinpoint and release pressure in tight spots that often accumulate after strains and sprains.
If your condition is very severe, a doctor may also recommend specialist physiotherapy treatment. Whether you receive general massage or physiotherapy, your therapist will carefully assess of the state of muscle injury before performing any physio-style massage therapy to help relieve pain. Physiotherapists also often demonstrate suitable exercise routines that strengthen muscles to reduce the risk of future such injuries.
Self-help Tips For Treating Tennis Elbow
In addition to seeking help from a qualified massage therapist, you can try out some of the following techniques at home to help reduce the pain and improve your recovery time.
It is very important to take a break from whichever activity caused the injury in the first place. If you are unable to completely stop the activity, then think about ways in which you can adjust your technique so that less pressure is exerted on the elbow and forearm. For example, you may want to take lessons from a professional coach to improve your tennis swing so that it is smoother and inflicts less strain on your elbow.
Widely available cold packs can reduce swelling around the elbow and provide almost instant natural relief from pain whilst they are kept in place.
If your pain is only mild, then you can try over-the-counter medications such as paracetamol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen. Whilst not natural, they do provide effective pain relief quickly as and when needed, allowing you to get on with your day.
Medication should never be used consistently over a long period of time without medical approval. Natural remedial techniques such as regular massage therapy are a safer and better bet for your health over the long-term.