416 Ilam Road, Fendalton, Christchurch 8052

Clinic Hours: Monday - Friday 7am - 8pm

416 Ilam Road, Fendalton, Christchurch 8052

Clinic Hours: Monday-Friday 7am-8pm

Osteopathic Treatment of Tennis Elbow

Published by Better Health Osteopathy on 5 February 2023, Wrist Injuries

As the summer kicks in, we are seeing many more patients present to our clinic with tennis elbow, which we love to treat in our clinic.

Tennis elbow, medically knowns as lateral epicondylitis, is a common painful condition that causes pain and discomfort in the forearm muscles and at the elbow joint. It is caused by repetitive strain or overuse of the arm, wrist, and hand muscles during activities such as playing tennis, gripping objects, typing or holding your baby.

If you are suffering from tennis elbow, your osteopath can provide a correct diagnosis, help relieve your elbow and forearm pain, and prescribe rehabilitation exercises to prevent it from returning in the future.

In this post, we will discuss how osteopathic treatment for tennis elbow can deliver relief from your uncomfortable symptoms.

Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

Common symptoms of tennis elbow include tenderness around the outer part of the elbow, weakness in grip strength or difficulty turning doorknobs or opening jars. In addition, you may also experience swelling, stiffness or tight muscles in the elbow. Tennis elbow can be frustrating as it can be challenging to pinpoint the exact cause of your injury.

Who Does Tennis Elbow Affect?

Tennis elbow can affect any person, not just tennis payers.  It can also affect people of all ages, but it is most common in adults between 30 and 50. Tennis elbow sufferers often have repetitive jobs that can overwork the forearm muscles and can be susceptible to this condition. Painters, carpenters, chefs, surgeons, and parents with new babies have struggled with this condition in the past.

What Causes Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow is caused by repeated contraction of the muscles in the forearm and elbow. This repetitive strain can cause inflammation of the tendons that attach the forearm muscles to the bony protrusions on the outside of the elbow (the epicondyles). Frequent and intensive activities such as painting, tennis playing, gardening or any other activity that involves repetitive arm movement can cause this condition.

How Is This Condition Diagnosed?

Tennis elbow can usually be diagnosed through a physical examination by your Osteopath. Your Osteopath will examine the affected area and ask about your symptoms, medical history, and daily activities to determine what is causing the condition. In some cases, your Osteopath may refer you for further imaging, such as X-rays or Ultrasound, depending on your symptoms and rate of recovery.

Tennis Elbow Treatment – How Can An Osteopath Help?

At our clinic, we use a variety of techniques to treat tennis elbow. We may recommend soft tissue massage, manipulation, and stretching techniques to help reduce muscle tension and promote healing. We will also provide a tailor-made rehabilitation programme that stretches and strengthens the affected area.

Benefits of Osteopathic Treatment

Your Osteopath will focus on more than just the elbow area. They will examine the entire spine, shoulder, elbow and forearm muscles to determine the root cause of your pain and discomfort.

Osteopathic treatment aims to:

  • Enhance fast healing of your injury
  • Reduce your reliance on pain relief medications.
  • Reduce the need for surgery
  • Reduce the recurrence rate of the condition
  • Ensure optimal outcomes and a return to everyday activities as soon as possible.

Through this approach, your osteopath can help alleviate your tennis elbow symptoms, increase joint mobility, and address other areas of dysfunction in your body that may contribute to your injury.

Why Does Tennis Elbow Pain Last So Long?

At times, tennis elbow can take many months to heal. Sufferers tend to experience ongoing pain because it is tough to rest muscles that are activated in almost every move, such as typing, cleaning your house, and lifting your baby. As such, the healing process can take time as the strained muscle tissue requires adequate rest to repair itself.

If your symptoms haven’t improved after six to 12 months of extensive rehabilitation and osteopathic treatment, a referral will be made to an orthopaedic surgeon. However, surgery is only ever required in rare cases.

6 Tips for Managing Your Tennis Elbow Pain

  1. Rest: Take a break from any activities that are causing or exacerbating your pain.
  2. Ice: Apply an ice pack or cold compress to the affected area for up to 15 minutes at a time, several times a day.
  3. Compression: Wear an elbow brace or wrap to help reduce swelling and discomfort.
  4. Stretching: Perform light stretching and strength training exercises to help increase flexibility and muscle endurance of the forearm muscles.
  5. Visit an Osteopath: Seek treatment from a qualified osteopath for a correct diagnosis and to reduce pain. An individualised plan of care tailored to your needs and lifestyle. This may involve manual therapy, postural advice, exercise prescription or lifestyle modifications.

If you’re experiencing persistent elbow and forearm discomfort, then it may be time to book in with one of our experienced Osteopaths.  Contact the team at Better Health Osteopathy in Christchurch today. Call 027 755 5700 or book online.


Better Health Osteopathy

Lorraine Herity is the Clinic Director of Better Health Osteopathy in Christchurch, New Zealand. She previously worked in Osteopathic clinics in London and Ireland, before moving to New Zealand. Lorraine trained at the British School of Osteopathy in London, where she gained her Master of Osteopathy (M.Ost). Lorraine is a dedicated and passionate Osteopath. Her main aim is to help her patients regain their health and to return her patients back to their everyday activities, in as quick a time as possible. Lorraine is also a clinic tutor on the Osteopathic Course in Ara and relishes the opportunity to teach the next generation of osteopaths.