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Anyone had tennis elbow?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
If so, how did you treat it and how long did it last?

I've had pain in my elbow for about 6 weeks now. I saw the doctor about it on Monday and she confirmed it was tennis elbow and said to take painkillers (ibuprofen) to deal with the pain, but if they didn't work they could try steroid injections. She also printed out some notes about it which said that while steroids can give short term relief from pain, they can harm long term recovery so I'm not so keen on having them now. She pretty much told me that it might take up to 18 months to heal and that it is just a case of finding something to help with the pain while it heals. I can't say I'm thrilled at the idea of having it for that long. I walk with a crutch and use it in my right hand (it's my right elbow that I'm having the problem with) so I think that has caused or contributed to the tennis elbow. Problem is that I don't find it easy to use my other hand so I can't really stop doing the activity that has probably caused the problem in the first place. I've started taking painkillers and today have been using ibuprofen gel instead. Both have some effect but don't get rid of the pain completely.

I've had suggestions to try deep tissue massage and a chiropracter, but it seems to be a bit hit and miss as to what works. Anyone got any suggestions?
post #2 of 7
I had tennis elbow several years ago from holding retractors in surgery. I had PT for a couple of weeks and also had it injected. I was given a very strong NSAID, Arthrotec, which caused me to have acute renal insufficiency. After I quit taking the NSAID, my kidney function returned to normal, but the pain returned. I found that by doing the PT exercises and icing my elbow several times a day, the pain eventually went away. I'd say it took about 6 to 8 weeks. I did try that little tennis elbow splint, with the little air pillow. It didn't do anything for the pain, so I would just suggest not bothering with it!

Here is a link with the exercises that I did: http://www.nismat.org/ptcor/tennis_elbow/
I used a two pound dumbell. I supported the arm on my leg, with my hand extending over my knee, palm facing the floor. I held the weight, and raised my hand up at the wrist, held it, lowered my hand at the wrist, held it. I did this several times a day, and iced it afterward. This was the exercise that helped the most. The exercise that mimicked the action of turning a doorknob was excruciating, and I never was able to do that during PT. Now that my elbow is better, I don't have any pain with any movements.
post #3 of 7
I had it. It hurt so much it made it almost impossible to control my motorcycle properly.

Talked to my doctor, we decided it had to be the fact that I was using a standard mouse on the computer - moving my arm back and forth within a very short range of motion caused it.

I switched to an optical trackball mouse: now my arm sits in one place and I move the cursor with just my thumb.

Within a couple of weeks it lessened, then went away completely. No drugs, no PT, just a change of arm movement on a regular basis.

If you use a standard mouse, you may try swapping it out for a trackball, or even a stylus.
post #4 of 7
I've had it, and it got so bad I couldn't even pick up a coffee cup. I did quite a few things, but the thing that helped me the most was the splint. It rests the end of the tendon by pressing the tendon against the bone. Icing it also helped.

The real thing that helped was total rest, though, which must be hard with a crutch. I didn't do the things that made it bad in the first place - weeding the garden, mostly.
post #5 of 7
My elbow problems started acting up this fall. Most likely from all the gardening over the spring and summer. Raking and shoveling makes its flare up. I bought one of those bands shown above and if you wear it CONSISTENTLY it does help. I use ice and Ibuprofen if the pain gets really bad.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions. I've got ibuprofen in tablet form and as a gel to apply topically, but neither seem to help much. I've bought one of those straps today to see if it makes any difference. It's getting really annoying now as it's been 7-8 weeks I've had it and it isn't getting any better. Sometimes it doesn't hurt at all and at other times it hurts when I lift a glass of water. Several times last week I woke up in the morning with it hurting. It doesn't hurt consistently with the same movement though. I guess it will just take time.

Has anyone used a powerball?


I know someone who had an RSI type problem and found these very good.
post #7 of 7
The problem with ibuprofen, and why it may not be helping much, is it and many other NSAIDs take higher doses to be effect then what the OTC bottles suggest - or at least they do for serious inflammation.

Average for me on NSAIDs is 1000mgs a day... it comes with it's risks of course.
That said, naproxen/naprosyn seems to be a bit better then ibuprofen (personal experience) and it one of more typical ones prescribed. You could try that OTC and go a little higher on the dose, twice daily and see that helps more.
Always take NSAIDs with food and be careful/on the look out for possible stomach damage.
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