Medical Questions > Conditions and Diseases > Orthopedics Forum

Tennis elbow, can I do anything to promote healing?

36yo male. Avid weightlifter.
Many months ago I began to feel that pain every orthopedic doctor knows and loves, tennis elbow. Most likely my gym
Activities are the cause. I have been under the care of a specialist for 3 months now. He has given me a variety of wrist
And elbow braces, cortisone shots and Celebrex.
Although my tennis elbow is not horrible, it is definitely persistant. Most days it is not bad enough for anti inflamatories, and
It is never bad enough to prevent activity.
My concern is the lack of response I get when I discuss with my doctor about ways to promote healing. He says nothing but rest
Will do. Unfortunately there's no way I could not exersize or keep my arm stationary for a year. I find it impossible to believe that
There's nothing I can do to help promote healing myself such as exersizes or dare I say supplements.
I guess what I am asking is if anyone knows better treatment options other than standing still.

Question number two: why would my elbow be much more sore in the morning when I wake up? You would think that rest would make
It feel better right? Why does a good nights sleep make it hurt?
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First Helper harryc123
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replied February 27th, 2012
After bailing water out of my basement, I too came down with tennis elbow. I am a naturopath and massage therapist, so I believed these two areas would prove helpful. Massage to the area is helpful in bringing blood to the area and dispersing extrraneous fluid away. Try to get someone to massage the area esp. the attachments to bone (best to get a professional and try 30 min sessions instead of and hour and do them more often) These injuries do take a long time to heal (mine did take close to a year). The AM pain is due to inflammation in the tissue due to lack of movement during the night, perhaps you could take supplements and make dietary changes that would reduce inflammation (these are all over the internet). Wish there was a quick fix for you. Healing yourself takes time and effort on your part, best thing is that you sound motivated. Good luck!
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User Profile
replied February 27th, 2012
Especially eHealthy
harryc123,

As colliebrown stated, the reason that your elbow feels stiff and sore after a period of rest is because it is inflammed. That is the hallmark of inflammation - pain and stiffness after rest, which usually feels better with some light activity.

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is an inflammation of the muscle insertions on the lateral epicondyle of the distal humerus (outside of the elbow).


This is why the surgeon has been giving you antiinflammatory medicine. Celebrex is one of the COX-2 inhibitors. It is a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory medication (NSAID). The cortisone injections are a steroid medicine.

The Celebrex has to be taken daily, often for a long period of time (months or more), for the treatment of inflammatory disorders. It is not being used as a pain reliever, it is being used to treat the inflammation. If the inflammation goes down, then the pain should be less. But, it is not being used like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or an opioid pain medicine (codeine, hydrocodone, etc) which are just used to mask the pain, not treat the underlying cause. Celebrex also does not work when taken on an as needed basis, you have to take it daily, everyday, even when the elbow starts to feel better.

Unfortunately, the steroid injections have to be limited, usually to no more than three. After that, you run the risk of causing damage to the tissues, rather than helping them. Cortisone is good at eating up inflammation, but it can sometimes get a little overzealous, and damages normal tissue.

You can also follow colliebrown's recommendations of treating this naturally, with consumption of foods with antiinflammatory properties.


But, in the long run, what is it that heals lateral epicondylitis? REST.


Even in cases where patients end up having surgery, if they do not adequately rest the elbow after surgery, it will just come right back. After surgical debridement (whether it's done open or arthroscopically) the patients have to return to activity very gradually, under a very controlled therapy program. Even then, the success rate is not great. Especially if the patients return to the same activities, with the same poor biomechanics, that caused the problem in the first place.


We used to say, that if we could get patients off work (or whatever activity is causing it), to get them the rest they needed so the inflammation would go away, and then have them do the post-op therapy just as if they had surgery, we could get the same or better results. The US post office is one of the worst offenders. You can't get the patient off for therapy, unless they have had surgery. So, there is a lot of tennis elbow surgery done, when, if the patient could just do the rest and therapy, that would actually not be necessary.


But, again, there is just no way to speed up mother nature very much. You can try to treat the inflammation, but if you do not rest and change the activities that precipitated the problem in the first place, it will probably not do much good.

Sorry.


Hope your elbow feels better. Good luck.
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replied February 28th, 2012
Good info from colliebrown and Gaelic! You definitely need to have patience when rehabbing tennis elbow. If you must continue lifting, here's a few suggestions from a hand therapist (me!). Keep your elbows next to your side, and lift with palms up or thumbs up. Keep the grip light when holding objects. These tips help minimize the stress to the tendon at the elbow.
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replied February 29th, 2012
TYT, I'll use that myself, thanks! One more thing, Turmeric and it's active ingredient curcumin are very good natural anti-inflammatories (turmeric is what gives curry it's yellow color). You should ge to a reputable health food store and speak with the herbalist there for dosage, strength, etc. As always, you should check with your physician before supplementing to ensure that it does not interfere with your current therapy.
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replied April 10th, 2012
Tennis Elbow Racquet and Strings
Don't neglect the effect of your tennis equipment on the prevention of tennis elbow. When you are ready to play again be sure to use arm-friendly racquets and strings. These are typically not the lightweight beginner frames that actually promote tennis elbow. You really such be using a flexible racquet with an elastic string to get rid of the problem once and for all.
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replied October 21st, 2012
I don't know if this will help you because it sounds like you may have injured your elbow weightlifting, but I thought it was at least wort passing on what helped me heal my tennis elbow after 2 years of failed intervention using conventional means (ice, heat, rest, braces, injections, supplements, yadda yadda).

I happened upon this book "Healing back pain" by John Sarno and within 2 weeks I was totally healed (and shocked that it worked). In short, the book describes a condition, TMS, that brings about tension in the body through anxiety and other factors. The tension then causes the added strain on your muscles and tendons and basically once you realize all this the pain subsides.

If that sounds fairly crazy, I thought so too, except that it worked. I've been telling a few friends and family member about it and it's been working for everyone. Just check out the amazon reviews for the book.

I got the idea from a forum similar to this and did some more research and came across a Youtube video that was also really helpful that is some physician talking about how it helped him. If you want to see it, search for "507 The Magic of John Sarno and Gay Hendricks in Healing the Body".

It works more for people with chronic conditions where you've tried everything and had MRI's (like me) and everyone was just kind of baffled as to why you have the pain in the first place. So acute injuries are not really going to be helped by this book if they were obviously very damaging, but acute pain from seemingly minor injuries are frequently helped by the ideas in this book. Hope this helps!
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replied November 2nd, 2012
2 Stretching Exercises:

Wrist Flexor Stretch - Extend your arm in front of you with your palm up, and bend your wrist so that your fingers is pointing towards the floor. With your other hand, gently bend your wrist further until you feel a mild to moderate stretch in your forearm. Hold this position for about 20-30 seconds.

Wrist Extensor Stretch - Extend your arm in front of you with your palm down, and bend your wrist so that your fingers is pointing towards the floor. With your other hand, gently bend your wrist further until you feel a mild to moderate stretch in your forearm. Hold this position for about 20-30 seconds.

4 Strengthening Exercises:

Tennis Ball Squeeze - Hold a tennis ball in your hand, and squeeze the tennis ball for about 6 seconds. Then relax for about 10 seconds. You should repeat for 8-12 times. Remember to do the exercise on both hands.

Dumbbell Flexor wrist Curl - Hold a dumbbell in each hand and rest your arms and elbows on a bench or on your legs. The palm should be pointing up and your elbows in roughly 90 degrees angle. Bend the wrist so that the dumbbells moves towards the floor, and go back up again as high as possible. Finally, go back to the starting position. Do 8-12 repetitions for 3 sets.

Dumbbell Extension Wrist Curl - Hold a dumbbell in each hand and rest your arms and elbows on a bench or on your legs. The palm should be pointing down and your elbows in roughly 90 degrees angle. Bend the wrist so that the dumbbells moves towards the floor, and go back up again as high as possible. Finally, go back to the starting position. Do 8-12 repetitions for 3 sets.

Dumbbell Pronation and Supination - Hold a dumbbell in each hand and rest your arms and elbows on a bench or on your legs. Your thumbs has to point upwards. Turn the wrist inward as far as possible and then outward as far as possible. Do 8-12 repetitions for 3 sets.


Hope this helps!
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replied December 14th, 2012
You need to take into account the tennis racquet and strings that you are using. An arm-friendly racquet is typically heavier, head-light balance with a thinner beam. You may lose some power with this type of racquet but you will have more control and you can make up for some of your loss of power with an elastic string.
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replied September 19th, 2013
Currently im suffering from what seems to be tennis elbow i will know for sure when i go and have a check up... i dont want surgery though..I was reading here about tennis elbow which said orthotics are good for treatment and prevention and was just wondering if it was true that orthotic compression elbow supports help with tennis elbow or not? can anyone confirm this? Thanks
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replied November 9th, 2014
Turn your hand over! that is, palm up. Stop repetitive motions involving grasping and lifting with the palm down. Herky, jerky motions are the worst. By turning your palm up you will be using the large bicep muscle instead of the tiny perfundis. You should feel relief in 1 or 2 days.
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replied November 19th, 2014
Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is an inflammation of the muscle insertions on the lateral epicondyle of the distal humerus.
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replied March 12th, 2015
tennis elbow
It is a common misconception that the tendon (ECRB tendon) is inflamed. In fact there is mucoid fibro degeneration of the tendon.

There are no quick fixes. Stretching exercise programmes are the best. Failing that consider surgery. I would avoid injections as there is evidence that while there is some short term improvement in the long term it gets worse.
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replied March 28th, 2018
Experienced User
Once tennis elbow symptoms have become bad enough to cause you noticeable pain, the first step is to rest the area and stop repetitive movements that caused the condition in the first place. (3) You can use ice early on (especially following an injury) to help control swelling.
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replied April 26th, 2019
I've had tennis elbow in both arms for four months, right arm was the worst and I was beginning to struggle at my very manual work job. I started taking Turmeric capsules which astonishingly worked within a fortnight of taking them. I was awaiting two compression sleeves to arrive during that time which are the long McDavid make. I have been wearing them during work off and on since February this years and my left arm is now completely cured, with the right arm well on the mend. I have been amazed at just how well these two simple steps have sorted out an extremely painful injury in such a short period of time.
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