Tennis elbow is a type of injury caused by repetitive movement, where pain or soreness can be felt in the upper portion of one's forearm in the vicinity of the elbow. The name is derived from tennis players who commonly suffer this type of injury due to overusing the muscles around the elbow. Over time, the muscle tendons begin to tear, causing pain and irritation. This common injury can be nursed at home with the following treatments:
1. Rest the Injured Arm
Like carpal tunnel syndrome, one of the best ways to treat tennis elbow at home is to simply rest the injured arm. While it is important to avoid the activity responsible for the injury, you should not avoid using the affected arm completely. Normal, day-to-day functions of the injured arm can still be performed to avoid muscle atrophy, where the arm muscles begin to weaken because they aren't being used.
2. Ice the Affected Area
Ice packs can be used to alleviate any elbow pain or swelling in the affected area around the elbow. A good rule of thumb is to ice the injury for roughly 15 minutes, every few hours or at least several times a day. An ice pack or a plastic bag full of ice should be sufficient for icing down tennis elbow. Because of the nature of the injury, you may have to ice down the injured arm throughout the majority of the healing process. Once the inflammation has gone done, you can allow the arm to heal by itself.
3. Stretch the Forearm Muscles
Not only can proper stretching prevent tennis elbow from occurring, it can also help rehabilitate the affected arm. As you recover from tennis elbow and feel the arm pain begin to subside, it is important to perform the proper stretches to strengthen the weakened forearm muscles and increase flexibility to regain the arm's full range of motion. Here is a simple stretching exercise for rehabilitation:
- Straighten the injured arm completely.
- Push down on the hand of the affected arm with your freehand until you feel the muscles in your forearm begin to stretch.
4. Elevate to Reduce Swelling
Aside from ice, another effective home remedy to treat swelling caused by tennis elbow is to elevate the injured arm. By elevating the injury, the increase of blood in the injured area will travel back down the arm rather than gathering in the forearm. You'll want to prop your arm up against a cushioned area, like a few pillows, to keep it elevated above your heart.
5. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID)
NSAIDs are frequently used to treat any inflammation or pain caused by tennis elbow. A common NSAID that can be found in most homes is aspirin because of its effectiveness in reducing pain from headaches, and preventing heart attacks and strokes.
6. Changing Form or Technique
A great way to prevent tennis elbow from occurring would be to change the technique or form used for the motion that caused the injury. For example, a backhand stroke in tennis is commonly responsible for tennis elbow amongst tennis players. Have a skilled coach evaluate your form to help you create a proper swing that won't induce a tennis elbow injury.
7. Wear a Brace or Support Sling
A tennis elbow wrap or brace can be used to promote healing while alleviating pain. A support sling can be used to keep the arm elevated, while preventing any unnecessary movement that might exacerbate the injury. Just remember to remove the arm from the sling every so often for stretching to prevent muscle atrophy.
Performing a self-massage to treat tennis elbow can easily be done at home .There are two types of massages commonly used for tennis elbow, however, one of them may require a professional.
- Friction massage: Using your thumb, simply rub back and forth over the sore tendon, particularly the area that hurts the most. This is a simple massage that you can perform on yourself.
- Trigger point massage: This massage focuses on various trigger points rather than the actual area of pain to alleviate discomfort. Using the middle finger, locate the muscle inside the crease of the elbow and begin massaging. An experienced physical therapist may be required to locate the trigger points around the arm for this particular massage.
9. Add More Omega 3 to Your Diet
Try adding more omega 3 to your diet by eating more fish like tuna or salmon to help treat tennis elbow. Omega 3 is an important fatty acid with numerous health benefits - one of them being a reduction of inflammation, especially in the joints like the elbow.
Compression can help reduce any swelling associated with tennis elbow, which will speed up the healing process. You can wrap the affected arm in a bandage, but do not tie the wrap too tight. If you begin to feel any throbbing, unwrap the arm and loosen the bandage to prevent the blood circulation from being completely cut off.