The scientific terms might be a bit intimidating and it’s easy to assume that tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow have absolutely no relevance for those of us that aren’t really athletically inclined, but the reality is that anybody belonging to the human race (that’s all of us) could experience one (or both) of these conditions in the course of an ordinary lifetime.
Tennis elbow (recognized formally by physicians as lateral epicondylitis) and golfer’s elbow (better known as medial epicondylitis in medical circles) are widely recognized, although only a handful of individuals diagnosed with tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow get the condition from taking part in the namesake sports.
Both afflictions (medial epicondylitis and lateral epicondylitis) can recover naturally over time with minor treatment and rest, but there is no controversy that tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow may have a detrimental effect on the quality of life for the afflicted. Here’s a more detailed description on the two independent but very similar conditions.
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)– Tennis elbow is a pain that is concentrated on the outside of the arm, primarily where the forearm meets the elbow outside of the elbow. The condition is related to a muscle and tendons in the forearm which are attaching muscles directly to bones. Anytime the arm is continuously being used in a repetitive motion, the tendons at the elbow-end of a certain muscle (the extensor carpi radialis brevis) may develop small tears.
The effects of these tears can be inflammation, putting an added amount of stress on the rest of the arm as well as making the simple act of lifting and gripping objects painful. Left without treatment, the condition can transform into a chronic one.
Specialists estimate that tennis elbow can impact up to three percent of the adult population, primarily striking adults between the ages of 30 and 50.
Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis)– Golfer’s elbow also involves pain and inflammation in the tendons which connect the forearm to the elbow– in this case, on the inside of the elbow. The pain in golfer’s elbow is fixated the bony bump found on the inside of the elbow and might radiate into the forearm.
Golfer’s elbow is typically caused when muscles in the forearm are overused. These particular muscles allow a person to grasp objects, rotate the arm and flex the wrist– all actions used not only in golf but a variety of other activities. The repetitive actions involved in the acts of gripping, flexing and swinging can easily result in pulls or tears in the tendons.
A wide range of sports involving repetitive hand, wrist or forearm motions can result in golfer’s elbow. Sports presenting the risk most commonly include tennis, bowling, and baseball (sometimes referred to as pitcher’s elbow.) People frequently using screwdrivers, hammers, rakes, musical instruments, cooking tools and paintbrushes are also vulnerable to the condition.
Golfer’s elbow is less common than tennis elbow.
Both tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow are forms of elbow tendonitis. In tennis elbow the pain is focused on the outside of the elbow; in golfer’s elbow, the pain is concentrated on the inside of the elbow. In both of these situations, there is an elbow pain that could form over a few weeks or a few months into a chronic pain.
The outside of the elbow might become painful to the touch. Over time, the afflicted might find everyday activities such as lifting or gripping objects more challenging. Both arms could be affected.
Obtaining an accurate medical diagnosis of the problem can be simplicity itself. A doctor may ask a patient to execute some simple motions to check for tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow, including straightening the wrist against pressure, and checking for pain in parts of the arm. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan might also be prescribed to confirm a diagnosis.
The causes behind tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow might be numerous, but there is a consistent answer in the form of professional healthcare from a St. Clair Shores chiropractor or doctor of chiropractic as they are sometimes referred.
Chiropractors can often determine the precise cause of the condition, and initiate a treatment regimen to combat a condition that seldom resolves itself of its own accord. They may use spinal adjustments (also referred to as spinal manipulation) in a hands-on healing approach with their patients, or they might recommend using ultrasound therapy, hot and cold treatments, massage therapy, electrotherapy and home stretching exercises.
Getting back into the swing of things could be important factor in enjoying all that life has to offer. Successfully treating tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow may be a great start, and it could all begin with a call to the local chiropractor’s office.