6 Effective Ways to Treat Tennis Elbow
When you have tennis elbow, you experience pain around your elbow and forearm which is generally caused by injury or overuse. This can impact your ability to move your hands or wrists normally. While tennis elbow is most common in tennis players, other sports can also bring on this condition, including squash or racquetball. But sports isn’t the only thing that can cause it; working on a computer for several hours a day, for example, can also put you at greater risk for developing tennis elbow. The good news is, there are ways to ease its painful effects. Check out the following tips to treat your pain:
- RICE. This acronym stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Rest your elbow by stopping repetitive movements that caused the condition to begin with, and apply ice as soon as possible to ease swelling (ideally within 24 to 48 hours after swelling occurs.) Compress the area with a bandage, splint or brace to also help alleviate swelling and reduce blood flow, and elevate your elbow to keep inflammation from progressing.
- Avoid too many injections. Cortisone shots do provide pain relief, but the results are only temporary, and having routing injections can cause damage to your tendons.
- Apply heat. Use a heating pad or hot water bottle on your elbow to help improve blood flow to your injured muscles and tendons. For best results, apply heat twice a day in 10-minute intervals.
- Incorporate simple stretches. Tennis elbow occurs when the muscles of your forearm tighten, increasing tension on your tendons. Try extending your arm in front of you with the palm up, and then gently bend your wrist until you feel it stretching. Hold this position for 30 seconds, repeating the exercise four times.
- Massage. Getting a deep tissue massage helps increase blood flow and broad up scar tissue.
- Topical creams. Several prescription anti-inflammatory creams are available today, and they can be considerably better than oral medications because they don’t produce side effects. Talk to your doctor about one that may be right for you.
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