My elbow often hurts by the end of my workday and I’ve been told I have tennis elbow. I’ve never played tennis in my life! Can massage help me?
Whether you’re practicing your backhand serve for the US Open or plowing through your overflowing inbox after Labor Day, pay attention if you suffer a twinge of pain in your elbow – it could be tennis elbow.
Tennis elbow, technically known as lateral epicondylitis, is a condition which can affect office workers as well as tennis and other racquet sports players. Like carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow is a repetitive stress injury, caused by performing the same action again and again. It’s an irritation or inflammation of the common extensor tendons where they attach to the elbow.
This irritation is generally the result of overuse of the arm, elbow, wrist and/or hand, while gripping or carrying objects. In fact, less than 5% of tennis elbow diagnoses are attributed to playing tennis (though up to 50% of tennis players will get tennis elbow at some point). You can get tennis elbow just as easily from spending too much time clutching your mouse as hitting the courts.
The quickest path to relief for tennis elbow is rest, consistent therapeutic massage (a combination of deep tissue, to improve circulation and healing, and friction, to break down scar tissue, is recommended) and stretching exercises to regain mobility in the elbow. Together, these techniques improve flexibility, promote healing, and diminish pain.
So if your elbow hurts at the end of a long day on the tennis court or at the keyboard, massage could get you back up and swinging.
Eva Carey is a licensed massage therapist with 20+ years of experience, as well as Zeel’s New Jersey manager. Have a question for Eva? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.