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Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is an overuse injury from repetitive stress to the arm and elbow. Also commonly referred to as “golfer’s elbow” or “mouse elbow”. Tennis elbow massage is one treatment option that provides relief for tendon inflammation outside the elbow. With multiple types of massage and tools to choose from we’re here to explain all your options and how they can help you get better faster.
Tennis elbow is an injury that can take a long time to heal. Many people will start treatment with anti-inflammatory medications and find that the pain relief isn’t sufficient. A massage therapist will assess your pain and tenderness, looking at your forearm muscles, wrist, hand, and elbow. He or she will likely ask when your pain started and what makes it worse. From there a massage therapy plan will be developed unique to your situation.
Self-massage for tennis elbow pain can be a great way to reduce muscle tension and strain from home. Here are a few self-massage techniques for you to try.
This technique is intended to work the upper arm muscle called the triceps. This area tends to be a key player in tennis elbow. Start by lifting your affected arm and grabbing the underside of the upper arm with your thumb and finger. Make sure you are grabbing muscle and not only skin. Move the muscle between your thumb and finger massaging until you find a tender spot. When you find a tender spot work on that area, kneading the muscle up to 15 times.
This technique is intended to work on the anconeus muscle. Begin by holding the affected arm in a sling-like position. With the other hand place your finger on the tip of your elbow. Move your finger inward one to two centimeters. Tighten your arm muscles and slightly straighten your elbow. You should feel a small divot in your arm, that is where your anconeus muscle lays. Press your finger into the muscle to massage it.
Sometimes people aren’t able to perform self-massage and need the help of a professional. If you are in this situation you can seek the help of physical therapists or massage therapists. Your choice will likely depend on insurance coverage, availability of the therapist, and their specialty. Whichever route you decide on the therapist will provide tennis elbow treatment through a variety of massage techniques that we will discuss below.
Effleurage is a type of massage that uses the palms of the hands to perform long strokes to warm up the muscles before a deeper massage. It’s used in most traditional, or Swedish massages, and provides an overall sense of relaxation, increased blood circulation, and recovery. The light strokes can help move lymph fluid which deeper massages don’t do.
A trigger point is a tight area in the muscle that causes pain in that same area or another area. If trigger points cause pain in another area that is called referred pain. Used to alleviate the tight muscles and pain with deep pressure on tight muscles.
Similar to a deep tissue massage, transverse friction massage will work the elbow joint through massage of the surrounding muscles and at the site of pain. This technique is a great way to bring back your range of motion after your tendons and muscles are tightened up from the tennis elbow.
Ideally, sports massage is done before or after a workout or sporting event to help restore the body to optimum health. But many athletes and weekend warriors find that it can be beneficial anytime.
Fascia is a connective tissue that surrounds muscles. When fascia becomes tight it can cause muscle pain. Myofascial release works to soften the fascia restoring health to the muscles and reducing pain.
If you like to perform self-massage then using an elbow massage tool can be indispensable. There are so many different choices that we’ve narrowed it down to a few that we find to be multipurpose and easy to use. Check them out below!
If you’re trying to push deep into your muscle tissue then a massage ball might be exactly what you need. For tennis elbow, put your massage ball on your upper arm, lower arm, or shoulder muscles. Wedge the ball between you and a wall or another hard surface so that you can slowly move back and forth, pressing deeply into the muscles.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) unit blocks pain signals to provide relief to the user. TENS units are popular for many reasons: they’re portable, medication-free, and easy to use. For those who have tennis elbow, this can be a great option to use before an unavoidable painful activity or after you are experiencing pain to give you a little added relief.
If you have tight muscles and tendons that are making your tennis elbow worse than a foam roller could help you find relief. To use it on your arm or upper body, place the foam roller on the ground and lay on your side with your arm on top of the foam roller. Slowly, move your body up and down to press deeply into the muscle. Some people report that foam rolling sore muscles can cause discomfort, which is normal. However, pain is never normal and you should stop if you are experiencing any.
Massaging the area after a tennis elbow diagnosis can be done soon after the initial injury period. Since it’s unsafe to massage certain conditions or if blood clots are present, it’s always important to check with your doctor to clear you for massage. Your massage therapist will work with you to help you determine a safe massage schedule. It will likely be multiple times a week to help relax tense muscles.
Massage can be a safe and effective means to treat tennis elbow. This condition can take many months or longer to heal, therefore be patient with yourself and allow plenty of healing time. Use massage to help speed up healing time, getting you back to the activities you enjoy. As always, talk to your doctor before you start any new treatments, including massage to make sure it’s safe for your situation.
Sources:SHOP TENNIS ELBOW PRODUCTS
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