Tennis elbow is a painful condition which is, as the name suggests, most commonly associated with repetitive strain from sports such as tennis. It can occur from other sports, or from any activity or accident which results in damage to the tendons or the forearm. The damage can be caused by trauma, or by overuse.1
Tennis elbow can be quite distressing and can make the sufferer feel weak and sore. It can interfere not just with sporting activities but also with day to day life. The good news is that it is a condition that will usually get better over time, although there are some ways that you can give your body a helping hand as it heals.
Popular Remedies for Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow is also known as lateral epicondylitis. There are several common remedies for tennis elbow. In most cases, a doctor would recommend a simple treatment path:2
– The use of supports and straps
– Anti-inflammatory medications and pain relief
– Gentle physical therapy
– Corticosteroid injections to reduce pain and inflammation
– Surgery to repair the damaged tendon
The above are the most common remedies for tennis elbow. The final two treatments are considered the ‘last resort’ since there are limits to the number of steroid injections that a person can have in any one joint. Steroid injections are not typically given to younger people, since they reduce inflammation and can support healing, but are not guaranteed to solve the problem. Surgery can be used to repair damage to tendons and ligaments, but there are always risks with surgery, and the healing time can be significant.
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For this reason, natural remedies for tennis elbow are often a better choice. Many people can, and do, get better without resorting to NSAIDs on a long-term basis, or needing more invasive treatments.
Natural Treatments to Support Your Body
Natural remedies for tennis elbow are similar to the remedies used for many other sports injuries. Start with heat packs or cold compresses for pain relief and to bring down any inflammation. From there, try to avoid doing activities that will aggravate the injury, but do try to stay active and keep the joint mobile.
You may want to wear a support or strap on your forearm when you are exercising so that you can avoid making the injury worse. The strap will help to reduce the stress that the tendons are under during day to day activity.
Some people prefer to use essential oils for day to day pain management, instead of painkillers. Our Healthy blend contains Turmeric, which is a good anti-inflammatory and has several other potential health benefits.3 For those who prefer milder, more woody aromas, Sandalwood in the Forest blend is another good option for reducing inflammation.4
Exercises for Tennis Elbow
If you are certain that you have tennis elbow, and are cleared to perform light activities by your doctor, there are a number of exercises that you can do that may help to improve the strength and flexibility of the elbow. These exercises should be done slowly, with light weights, and you should not do them if they cause pain.5
– Wrist Flex: Straighten your arm with your palms facing down, and then using your other arm, flex your wrist downwards so that your hand is pulled towards your body. Pull until you feel the stretch, hold for 10-15 seconds, then release. Repeat 3 or four times on each side.
– Arm Curl: Keep your elbows close to your body, straighten your arms with your palms facing outwards, then bend your arms so that your hands touch your shoulders. Essentially, perform a biceps curl, but without holding a weight, or holding only a very small weight.
– Arm Rotation: Holding a lightweight (a small bottle of water or a tin of beans would do), start with your arms bent at 90 degrees, like the bottom of a biceps curl position. Rotate your arm so the palms of your hands are facing the other way, then rotate back again.
Do these exercises morning and night. Start with no weight, if you feel that your injury is severe, and work up to a moderate weight as your injury gets better. Be diligent with your rehab exercises. It can take a long time to see results but they will be helping you. Combine them with rest, relaxation, essential oils and good nutrition and you will have a good chance of getting better.
If Your Injury Isn’t Healing
If home remedies for tennis elbow do not help you, and you find that after a few weeks of rest and gentle rehab the condition does not get better, then you should consider seeing a doctor. There are other treatments for the condition which may help you to get better more quickly and make a full return to your sport or occupation.
It is easy to make mistakes when diagnosing injuries. The location of the pain is important. Many people make the mistake of assuming that any pain in the elbow is tennis elbow, when you may actually have something different, such as golfer’s elbow, which would require different rehab. Time and rest are still important for healing, but knowing exactly what you need to work on will help you to hurry the healing along. So, don’t be scared of going to the doctor if you think you need a helping hand with your injury.
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