Burbank Sports Therapy Chiropractor, Doctor Simian Discusses the diffeerences and similarities in Golfer's Elbow and Tennis Elbow. These are both very simiar to one another but as a Chiropractor in Burbank, we see these two conditions in our office quite often. Below you will find a separate area for each that allows us to look in the Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments for these.
Tennis elbow refers to inflammation of the muscles and tendons on the outer part of the elbow. This is not isolated to only tennis players and is a condition that effects those who also perform physical labor or overuse a particular body part. Activities that require a lot of gripping or prolonged periods of gripping can irritate and stress the forearm muscles. If aggravated over a long period of time, it can cause these muscles to go into spasm irritating the bone on the outside of the elbow. Once this area is stressed, it will place pressure not only on the surrounding muscles, but the nerves as well. Repetitive movements can also attribute to this discomfort as this can also cause stress to the forearm muscles, primarily the forearm extensor muscles. The forearm extensors are the muscles used to be able to extend your wrist backwards.
Symptoms: Tennis elbow is inflammation of the lateral epicondyle (the bony part outside of the elbow) and can lead to a burning and achy type of sensation. Tingling is also felt sometimes traveling down the forearm to the hand causing weakness and decrease in grip strength. This is all due to compressive forces on the muscles causing a pinched nerve in the forearm which travels down to the hand. When a nerve is compressed, it can lead to muscular weakness and tingling. This can be an annoyance as we use our hands every day. It can affect basic tasks such as carrying bags of groceries or even writing. Usually there is also some type of swelling and tenderness to the region due to overuse. People sometimes use a wrist brace to help cock up the wrist taking pressure off the forearm extensors. This is generally fine with performing activities, but people tend to rely on them because it feels good then become dependent on the brace. It is important not to fall into this trap because the more you use these braces, the weaker the muscles can become so it is important to integrate treatment early. Every situation is different, but generally speaking these braces should only be used when performing “stressful” tasks and not used as long term care for the injury.
Rehab: Rest and ice can help with the initial acute stages of Tennis Elbow. Myofascial release, Graston, therapeutic ultrasound, and chiropractic adjustments can also help initiate movement within the joint and take pressure off of the surrounding muscles. Opening up the muscles in the forearm flexors and other muscles that attach to the elbow can help alleviate extra stress placed not only on the muscles, but on the elbow joint as well. Working not only the forearm extensors, but also the forearm flexors, biceps, and triceps can all help take stress off the elbow joint as they are all muscles that connect to the elbow. Passive therapies can be a good way to initiate treatment in the area as it is useful to flush out any type of inflammation in the area. Mobilizing the area is the next step to reintroduce normal motion in the joint and help it move rather than leaving it compressed and immobile. Proper stretching of the muscular region of the elbow can also help facilitate the healing process. Seeking treatment early can help establish a game plan moving forward in regards to how long the elbow needs to take to heal and the treatment protocol that will best help with the condition. The longer a person waits to seek out treatment, but more likely it is to turn into a chronic condition and can take much longer to heal.
This is a condition that causes pain and inflammation to the tendons that attach the forearm muscles to the bony part medial part of the elbow. This occurs when the muscles and tendons in the forearm are overused and is not exclusive to Golfers. This condition can affect anyone who consistently has their wrists flexed forwards or repetitively grips objects. People who perform a lot of computer work generally experience this type of problem at some point due to their wrists consistently being flexed forwards without any type of support. If your forearm flexors or wrists are consistently experiencing pressure due to typing on the keyboard, it can force these muscles to stiffen and lead to pain, weakness, and even numbness and tingling in the forearm or hand. Texting can also lead to pain not only in the forearm, but also in the hand. The more you overuse certain muscles, the more likely injury can occur whether it be a tight muscle or nerve irritation. We are all on our phones these days and while not only texting, but also consistently holding up our phones to our ears can also tighten up the forearm flexors potentially leading to a pinched nerve.
Causes: Golfer’s elbow, also called pitcher’s elbow, occurs with overuse of the muscles and tendons of the forearm, particularly the forearm flexors. The forearm flexors are the muscles that control you bending your wrist forwards. This condition can lead to a burning sensation and pain due to repeated stress in the elbow, wrist, and/or hand. Golfer’s elbow can lead to both pain and inflammation in the forearms and more commonly in the dominant hand. Causes can include gripping or swinging repetitively, using improper equipment such as a club that is too large or too small, improper lifting, not warming up before performing activities, or improper technique. All of these can contribute to extra stress placed on the medial epicondyle, the bone on the inside of the wrist, leading to Golfer’s elbow.
Symptoms: Pain and tenderness on the inside of the elbow. Burning and weakness in grip strength can also be felt in the forearm when these muscles are under stress and overused. Tingling and numbness can be experienced due to nerve compression in and around the elbow and forearms. When the muscles in the forearm becomes extremely tight, they can compress the nerves traveling down to the wrist and hand. This can lead to the symptoms described above such as decreased grip strength and irritation of the forearm muscles.
Treatment and rehab: Rest and ice can help with the initial acute stages of Golfer’s Elbow. Myofascial release, Graston, therapeutic ultrasound, and chiropractic adjustments can also help initiate movement within the joint and take pressure off the surrounding muscles. Having some type of wrist support while typing on the computer can help prevent extra stress and irritation on the forearm flexors. Stretching the forearm flexors by pulling our wrists backwards, to tolerance, can help loosen these muscles and open the entire region. Correct use of therapies and eventually implementing stretching and strengthening exercises after 3-4 weeks can help speed up the healing and recovery process. Mobilization and strengthening is important to integrate once you have moved out of the painful acute stage of the injury. Strengthening the area by performing wrist flexion exercises using a resistance band can help stabilize the region and help prevent future injury. The weaker a particular muscle is, the more likely injury can ensue. It is important to seek treatment from your healthcare provider early when experiencing Golfer’s elbow so it does not turn into a chronic condition. Once it becomes a chronic condition, it can take much longer to heal and also lead to other problems.
If you haven't been to our office or met our Chiropractor, Doctor Simian, give us a call! His experience treating athletes, auto accident victims, and those in need of pain relief have come from years of school and professional experience. If you are in the burbank or surrounding areas, let us know when you would like to setup an evaluation with our Chiropractor.
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Allied Pain and Wellness
1220 W Olive Ave Unit 1,
Burbank, CA 91506
Sunday & Monday: Closed