T Nation

Tennis Elbow... I Think


#1

I have a problem with what I believe is tennis elbow. This damned aging thing sucks lol. The tendon is the one that runs on the outside of the elbow and has been hurting now for almost two months. It hurts the worst in exercises like wide grip chins and curls. Bad enough now that I have stopped those all together. Bent over barbell rows also cause a lot of pain.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to start fixing this WITHOUT stopping lifting. My doctor said to quit lifting and give it a rest, but like most people on here, I have no intention of quitting lifting. I have stopped doing anything that really aggravates it but its just not getting better.

Has anyone tried those braces on the forearm that apply pressure to the tendon? Any suggestions would be very much appreciated... there are some very knowledgeable people on this forum.


#2

http://www.triggerpointbook.com/tennisel.htm

This should help..... this is what I did, and a couple of other people I know did to get rid of tennis elbow. The link gives you a brief overview, but the book has a much better explanation.

Hope this helps!

MD


#3

I stopped for a YEAR. a year of no training
and it helped.

Lots of people get it I have in both arms- and it can be quite painful.

you are going to have to change up some of what you do- or it will get worse.
for me most bicep or direct tricep work is out.
pullups and most pressing really kill it.

here are some things that helped

fish oil
MSM - someone turned me on to that.
ultrasound treatment
massage
ice, ice ice, ice.
lots of ice.

not doing shit that makes it worse.

kmc


#4

I have to start doing ice, I don't ever do that and thats pretty dumb. Thanks a lot for that link, I'll definitely check that out. Triceps dont seem to cause me much pain at all which is surprising. Its almost always back and bi's that kill. Thankfully not much for deads. Does anyone know if using something like ibuprofen before a workout helps? Not to mask pain but rather keep inflammation down, perhaps reducing that tendon aggravation? I dont like to take those things because they are hard on the stomach but if it helped before a train I would do it.

Thanks for the quick replies guys, i'll try the oil and MSM as well. I dont know much about ultrasound but I kind of thought it was gimicky. Perhaps i should re-evaluate that.


#5

You might want to check out Biotest's Curcumin 500. I've been using it for a few weeks and the pain in my elbow tendons is greatly reduced. More than just using ibuprofen. Band stretching and thorough warm ups help. I tried ultrasound and it was a waste of a lot of time in my case.


#6

My chiropractor told me the way to cure mine was to ice it 5 times a day. (yeah, right...) My brachial tendon was nightmare painful, and when I did "heavy" curls it felt like I was fracturing the bones in my forearms every time.
I had this problem occur before when I had slacked off from "regular" benching as I was doing more isolation type chest work at that time too.

I drastically lowered the amount of weight I had been curling, and even though it killed my ego it didn't kill my forearms anymore. I started benching again albeit with light weight as it initially caused the same pain as curling, but the pain eventually went away when benching. Curling was still an issue, and so were quite a few shoulder exercises too.

All I can say is; don't completely stop working your arms, just lower the weight until it doesn't hurt, and ice like crazy after working out. For me it has been around three months since I had the major pain start, and only three or so weeks since I can lift w/o misery. If I forget and try to do something too heavy, I get a "warning shot" from the tendon and I back the weight down immediately so I don't have to start all over again...

I have ignored a "warning shot" before, and paid dearly for doing so. I now REALLY listen to my body and will do whatever it takes to remain pain free. (within reason of course)


#7

From SportsMD on Twitter

AOSSM: Tennis Elbow Eases With Eccentric-Twist-of-Wrist Exercise http://bit.ly/2m2yUz

-uses the Thera-Band FlexBar


#8

Had the same issue.. I was able to attribute the pain to a couple of specific movements. I took ibuprofen, ice, lowered my weight and took a week off. When I returned to the gym I switched up my movements while decreasing the weights. After about a month the pain subsided and I am back in business. Good luck.


#9

I had it bad in wrists, forearms, and elbows. Like you, I could do deads, but back and bicep work hurt. I cut out curls, switched to neutral grip chins, went from wide barbell to Kroc rows. I iced like a madman. I used one of these: http://www.powerballs.com/. These things all helped and I could control the pain but not eliminate it.

That said, July 3rd I got cortisone (prednisone?) shot in my ass for poison oak and the tendinits disappeared overnight. It still hasn't returned, but I am holding my breath. I still do the other things and am hoping that I broke the cycle of inflamation.


#10

Sure seems like a common problem out there. All great advice and I appreciate everyone taking the time to explain what they've done. I have started to ice regularily and I think i'll try the ibuprofen before a back workout. I have trained very little this week just to give it a break and i'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can break the cycle of inflammation.


#11

So using that powerball didnt aggravate it any worse? Maybe I will try that and those wrist exercises and just stop when I feel any pain starting.


#12

I would go and see a physiotherapist. Tennis elbow can be misdiagnosed, for example the cervical spine referring to the elbow. A lot of the advice offered may help without actually fixing the problem.

If this is purely tennis elbow they should be able to set you up with a program to self manage with out to many treatments.


#13

Agreed. I've seen cervical spine problems radiate pain to the outer elbow, and very often in people who lift is entrapment of the anterior interossi nerve. This presents pain about an inch or two distal to where there is typical tennis elbow pain. Best treated by nerve flossing.

I always recommend to find an alternative exercise to the one that presents symptoms. Chins/pull downs with a neutral grip, Bis - dumbell curls. Sometimes a layoff is needed.


#14

I have had episodes of both tennis elbow AND golfer's elbow. :frowning: To get over mine, I

  • stopped all movements that inflamed the elbow

  • iced (with compression) MANY times per day and EVERY time it ached

  • soaked in epsom salt

  • took 800 mg IB 2X/day for 2 weeks. The high-dose IB, I have been told, is necessary to really break the inflammation. Take it on schedule, not in reaction to pain.

  • worked on extension/mobility in my thoracic spine. I foam rolled it, did trigger point work all around there with a tennis ball, and did the spinal stretches in Permanent Pain Relief by Ming Chew. Those spinal stretches reset the thoracic spine permanently into a better position. Disc compression of the nerve root was either causing or aggravating mine. The stretches in the above-mentioned book have you fully extending the thoracic spine while extending the arms, elbows, and wrists as much as possible, pushing the hands away from the body and contracting the opposing muscles.

Even if you stop causing more damage to the tendons, they take awhile to heal with their poor blood supply. If you keep inflaming them, it will only get worse and worse.


#15

I have been through serious bouts of this with both elbows. I have every grip/forarm device known to man. None of them worked for anything other than rehab after surgery. My forarms are pretty jacked though. I doubt I will have any elbow problems in the future. Expand you hand bands from Iron mind should be your first purchase once you have some relief. Don't mess with any of it until you have some relief.

I would start with a cortazone shot. This will fix the problem. The question then will be whether or not the pain (inflamation) comes back. For some people this does the trick. I went back for several of these. They only provided a couple months of relief but it is the easiest to try. Go to a really good ortho for this. Injecting shit into your elbow is painful. It's tight joint, so you'll want someone that knows what they are doing.

If that doesn't work, I would find someone that does prolotherapy. I did this after surgery on one of them failed to work. Insurance didn't cover it but it was worth the small fortune just to get some relief. This was after at least 3 year of constant pain in at least on elbow, even after stoping all lifting. Not a pleasant process but it worked for me after about 6 sessions. Make sure they have done tight joints before like the elbows, wrists, fingers, etc. You'll want someone that knows what they are doing. The elbow in not like shoulders or knees most people deal with.

Surgery sucked. Did it on both. Lateral release is what is called, I believe. This worked for one of mine but should be your last resort.

Was also going to try some sort of electromagnetic shock therapy if the Prolo didn't work. The same thing they use on heal spurs or someting.


#16

The problem with this is that direct work will give you relief. It starts to feel great once you have a pump but then it will be tight as hell the next day. Very easy to over do it with direct lower arm work. If you do, make sure it is extremely light and you come nowhere near failure. Get a pump and quit. I mentioned the rubber bands from Iron mind. Levers are anohter really good exercise for lower arm health. Just go light with a small baseball bat or a pipe. Inside out, ouside in, reverse curl with the pipe pointing straight out.


#17

I agree..I went through all kinds of self diagnosis and finally broke down and went to the professionals. it wasn't a quick fix but I have a manageable program that works. Good luck!


#18

thanks a lot for all the replies, everyone. I guess its off to physio for me. Its shitty today and i've pretty much taken it easy all week, only lower body. enough dicking around. I'll keep with those suggestions and see what the therapist has to say. As its been pointed out, perhaps its not even the problem I think it is.


#19

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#20

I have seen it clinically, and i would be particularly suspicious of anyone presenting with bilateral tennis elbow who also has poor thoracic mobility, forward head posture and spends a lot of time working at a desk.

Here are a couple of links, i have not read them in full but i think the second study follows up on the first. hope they are of some use :slightly_smiling:

http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1957126

http://www.istop.org/tenniselbow.html