You might not play tennis, but you might have tennis elbow. This is a common condition, and easily treatable when you see the right professional. Wearing a tennis elbow brace might help temporarily, but I have found a much more effective multifaceted approach.
Tennis elbow is also called lateral epicondylitis. The “itis” in epicondylitis is referring to an inflammatory condition of your elbow. With tennis elbow, there is no inflammation, so the NSAIDs will typically have zero effect on your elbow. The lateral epicondyle is a specific part of your arm where muscles are attached. This attachment point becomes degenerated.
The degeneration of this area is due to overuse. This over use is common in several occupations such as: carpenters, office workers, mechanics, plumbers, cashiers, bowlers, massage therapists, tennis players, or other occupations. The constant muscle contraction creates an anaerobic (with out oxygen) environment. This stimulates fibroblasts, a type of cell, that starts laying down scar tissue. This scar tissue then prevents the muscle from fully contracting, or fully relaxing.
You end up with a trigger point, or a knot in your muscle. So, braces will not break up the scar tissue, and neither will drugs. We have to mechanically disrupt the scar tissue to help the injured area regain full function. I do this with several techniques.
The picture above is from a patient I applied kinesio tape to at the end of the treatment. The patient developed his tennis elbow from riding motorcycles. At the first appointment, he was unable to shake my hand due to severe pain. I’ve treated him 4 times, and he is 70% better.
My treatment with this particular patient included:
1. Cold laser therapy / LLLT – This helps stimulate the cells to make energy, ATP, to accelerate the healing process. You can read more about my cold laser therapy in denver treatments and its effects on my other blog post.
2. Graston Technique – This treatment utilizes stainless steel tools that I use to gently scrape the affected muscle and common tendon. You can read more about my graston technique in denver treatments.
3. Kinesio Tape – The tape has an elastic quality, and also has a finger print like pattern on the underside. This combination of properties allows me to increase or decrease muscle tension, increase circulation, and help stabilize an area.
4. G5 Mechanical Massage – This is an industrial strength massager that no hands can replicate. It breaks up nasty trigger points, improves circulation and the function of the area. I apply the G5 to the back, neck, shoulder, and arm.
5. Chiropractic Adjustments – To help restore proper alignment and function to an area, I carefully manipulate the wrist, elbow shoulder, back, and the neck. Most people do not realize that we can adjust other joints than the spine. A good elbow adjustment can provide a tremendous amount of relief.
7. We have recently changed our approach in dealing with tennis elbow that is much more effective. We have purchased the EMS Swiss Dolorclast Shockwave therapy machine. This is a potent way in dealing with chronic degenerative conditions or tendinopathies. Our Shockwave therapy treatment in Denver only requires 3 treatments of shockwave. This save time and money for the patient. Our aforementioned approach worked well, but required about 6-12 treatments and now only requires 3 treatments.
Throw that worthless brace away, and go to your Denver chiropractor. We can help!
Author: Dr. Trent Artichoker MS, DC
Denver Chiropractic, LLC
3890 Federal Blvd Unit 1
Denver, CO 80211