The scientific terms may be a bit daunting and it’s easy to assume that tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow have no relevance for those of us that aren’t really athletically inclined, but the truth is that anyone belonging to the human race (that is all of us) may experience one (or even both) of these conditions throughout an average lifetime.
Tennis elbow (recognized formally by physicians as lateral epicondylitis) and golfer’s elbow (also known as medial epicondylitis in medical circles) are widely recognized, though only a small number of individuals diagnosed with tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow get the malady by taking part in the namesake sports.
Both of these conditions (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 can have a detrimental impact on the quality of life for the afflicted. Here’s a more detailed description on the two separate but very similar conditions.
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)– Tennis elbow is a pain which is focused on the outside of the arm, specifically where the forearm meets the elbow outside of the elbow. The condition is related to a muscle and tendons in the forearm that are attaching muscles directly to bones. When 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) could form small tears.
The result of these tears may be inflammation, putting an added level 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 could become a chronic one.
Experts estimate that tennis elbow can affect up to three percent of the adult population, specifically affecting adults between the ages of 30 and 50.
Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis)– Golfer’s elbow also consists of 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 commonly 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 easily result in golfer’s elbow. Sports presenting the risk most commonly include tennis, bowling, and baseball (sometimes known as pitcher’s elbow.) People commonly 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 types of elbow tendonitis. In tennis elbow the pain is concentrated 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 ache that can 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 may find daily activities like lifting or gripping objects more challenging. Both arms might be affected.
Obtaining an accurate diagnosis of the problem can be simplicity itself. A doctor might 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 could 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 health care from a Clinton Township chiropractor or doctor of chiropractic as they are sometimes referred.
Chiropractors can often determine the exact cause of the problem, and begin a treatment regimen to fight a condition that rarely 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 may recommend the use of ultrasound therapy, cold and hot treatments, massage therapy, electrotherapy and home stretching exercises.
Getting back into the swing of things could be an important factor in enjoying all that life has to offer. Effectively treating tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow may be a good start, and it could all begin with a call to the local chiropractor’s office.