Easy Home Pain Relief For Tennis Elbow Pain

The pain in the forearm known as tennis elbow can be relieved at home with some basic remedies and stretches.

The pain caused by strain in the forearm tendons commonly known as tennis elbow can be caused by a lot more than sport. Carrying a too-heavy briefcase or doing a repetitive motion that strains the ligaments on the outside of the elbow result in the same pain.

Any pain in the elbow caused by muscle strain is often referred to as tennis elbow, but actually there are three distinct places where such pain can exist and three labels for such pain. Tennis elbow affects the outside of the elbow, while golfer's elbow refers to pain on the inside of the elbow and bursitis is usually the cause of pain on the back of the elbow.

Tennis elbow (as well as the other muscle pains in the elbow) can be debilitating, making it hard to grasp even light objects such as a coffee cup and lasting as long as six to 12 weeks. The pain radiates down the arm to the wrist, and it can be painful to bend the arm and difficult to straighten it completely because of the damage to the tendons.

There are several ways to treat tennis elbow and to help prevent recurrences of this pain. Of course the simplest thing you can do to help ease the pain is to let your elbow rest. Don't try to stretch it out or do any kind of exercise that might make your pain worse. It's often recommended that patients abstain from tennis for three weeks after the pain sets in, and longer if it does not feel better after that time.

To speed up your recovery, look for a sports cream containing capsaicin, the component of hot peppers that makes them hot. Capsaicin has been found to interfere with pain receptors that send pain messages to the brain. This treatment doesn't actually help any inflammation you may have, but you will not feel the pain (or as much pain) after application.

Ice is another great remedy that can dull the pain and make you feel a little better. Buy an ice bag, or fill a zip-top bag with ice (or even use a bag of frozen vegetables) and apply to the elbow for about 10 or 15 minutes. You'll want to do this no more than four times a day and allow at least an hour between sessions.

Time is the main factor in healing muscle damage. There is no real quick fix; all you can do is relieve the pain as much as possible and be patient while waiting for your body to heal itself.

When you have healed you'll want to do everything possible to make sure the injury doesn't happen again. Stretching is a great help, whether your tennis elbow is from tennis or some other repetitive motion injury. Stretching your wrists can help ease forearm pain.

A quick stretch you can do anywhere is to straighten your arm, palm facing down, the lower your hand so your fingers are facing down. Press gently with the other hand on the front of your hand, holding for about 20 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

Another stretch involves holding your arm straight with the palm facing up. Place the other hand on top and press down as if you were trying to push your fingers down, but keep your hand straight. Again hold about 20 seconds on each side.

It can also be helpful to build strength in your arms by lifting weights (be gentle with yourself if you are coming off an injury), doing yoga or performing range of motion exercises with your wrist (like holding a hammer in your hand, bending your arm at the elbow and rotating your wrist like opening a doorknob, working through the range of motion for a minute or two each session).

And if you do play tennis, get a pro to look at your swing. Your form could be causing your injuries. And consider a composite racquet instead of metal; the metal racquets transmit more of the shock of the swing to your elbow. Also make sure your racquet isn't strung too tightly or too large for you.

Tennis elbow, whatever the cause, is an annoying and painful ailment. Take the time to heal and then to take care of yourself and be gentle with your body to lessen your chance of ending up on the sidelines again.

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