What's Tennis Elbow?

It's tennis season! So I thought it would be a good idea to talk about tennis elbow - pain on the outside of the elbow joint which often spreads into the forearm and wrist - & how Bowen Therapy should be considered as part of your rehabilitation plan.


What exactly is tennis elbow?

The clinical term for the condition is lateral epicondylitis, which describes inflammatory pain on the outside of the elbow (as opposed to golfer's elbow which involves pain on the inside). It is a type of repetitive strain injury caused by overuse or repeated action of the muscles of the forearm which leads to micro tears in the muscle fibres near the bony "epicondyle" on the outside of the joint, often experienced by, but not limited to, tennis or badminton players. The pain may travel down the forearm when lifting or bending your arm, gripping small objects like a pen & twisting your forearm, such as you would when turning a door handle or opening a jar. You may also find it difficult to fully extend your arm.


Lateral epicondylitis is not limited to sport - being a repetitive strain injury it can effect anyone even if your job involves sitting at a computer typing for many hours a day, or grooming dogs for a living or labouring on a building site to name but a few!


Tennis elbow is one of those conditions which is self-limiting - it will eventually resolve itself - but this can take up to 1 or 2 years in some cases which is clearly not ideal! Some things you can do to help yourself while suffering this condition is to stop the activity that is causing it (where possible - or wear an elbow support if it's not possible to do this). If you feel heat (inflammation) in the area you can apply apple cider vinegar compresses to help reduce the inflammation. Email me on elly@ellyadamstherapies.com for complete instructions on how to do this. Some people choose to visit their GP for treatment by painkillers, anti-inflammatories, steroid injections & in severe cases surgery. Physio may also be prescribed.


Bowen Therapy can be a very helpful technique in reducing your symptoms & in addressing the origins of your injury. As with most of the issues I come across in my clinic tennis elbow is quite often a result of instability or restricted movement in other areas of the body such as the shoulders, pelvis or even as far away as the jaw or ankles. The muscles & tendons in your forearm will naturally have to work harder if other muscles in the chain involved in creating & stabilizing the specific movement aren't functioning correctly eventually leading to overuse & strain type injury. The Bowen Technique is an amazing tool which can help address these compensatory patterns of movement & resolve your pain issues, helping you back on to the courts (or back into work!) to enjoy the rest of the season.

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