Tennis elbow refers to a condition in which there is pain and inflammation around the area of the elbow, usually in the person’s dominant arm. Someone who has it may also have a hard time moving or utilizing his or her wrist and hand in the normal fashion. By the way, tennis elbow usually takes several weeks to develop.
Known as “lateral epicondylitis” in the realm of medicine, it got its name from the fact that it affects a lot of tennis players. However, you don’t have to play tennis just to get this painful condition — experts say that only 5 to 10 percent of tennis elbow sufferers actually play tennis.
Athletes involved in other sports like fencing and badminton may have tennis elbow, too. The same is true with non-athletes who engage in activities calling for repetitive arm movements such as plumbing, gardening, typing and knitting.
An inflamed tendon in the elbow is the root cause of tennis elbow. Because tendons actually heal very slowly, the symptoms associated with tennis elbow — pain, stiffness and inflammation around the elbow, intense pain that shoots towards the forearm especially when the arm is moved, difficulty in moving the wrist as well as hands, trouble with gripping or picking up things — tend to stay around for weeks or even months.
Painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs are usually prescribed by a doctor to someone who is bugged by tennis elbow. Fortunately, there are also numerous home remedies available that can help in easing the symptoms as well as accelerate the healing process of the affected elbow. Here are some of the best:
A very quick way to alleviate pain caused by tennis elbow is the application of ice. Such may be done for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, which may be performed several times daily. However, refrain from placing ice cubes directly on your skin. What you need to do is wrap them in a small towel and then place it on the elbow.
Alternating Hot and Cold
This home remedy is an excellent way to reduce pain and inflammation, as well as encourage speedy healing of the affected tendon. After 3 minutes, replace ice with a towel-wrapped bottle filled with hot water. Continue alternating hot and cold compresses for about 15 minutes. Repeat several times a day.
Everyone knows that ginger is an excellent anti-inflammatory agent. It’s for this reason why the regular intake of freshly-brewed ginger tea can help in easing the symptoms of tennis elbow. Simply allow a small piece of fresh ginger root to steep in a cup of boiling water for several minutes, add a teaspoon of honey or lemon, and then sip.
Another herb that’s so effective against inflammation is turmeric. Before going to bed, dissolve a teaspoon of turmeric in a glass of warm milk. You may also add a little honey if you want. Drinking this concoction will not only help relieve pain and inflammation, but also give you a good night’s sleep which is vital for healing.
Crush 3 to 4 garlic cloves and heat them in 2 tablespoons of mustard oil. Switch off the stove once browned. Allow to cool to room temperature and massage the oil on the affected elbow. Do this 2 to 3 times a day. Similarly, you may also include garlic in your diet to help combat inflammation as well as get the healing process going.
Consider having more oily fish such as salmon, trout, herring, sardines and tuna in your diet while you are recovering from tennis elbow. That’s because they contain phenomenal amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. These healthy fats have amazing anti-inflammatory properties, helping your tennis elbow to heal much faster.
For the first few days, make sure that you give your elbow much-needed rest. After a while, it’s a good idea to start performing gentle exercises in order to help ease both stiffness and inflammation. You may slowly stretch and bend the elbow, as well as turn your wrist clockwise and counterclockwise.