15 most effective treatments to relieve stubborn tennis elbow pain - Be My Healer
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15 most effective treatments to relieve stubborn tennis elbow pain

hand work tennis elbow treatment

Do you have tennis elbow pain? If you do, you are one of at least 6 million other people around the world looking for tennis elbow treatment and pain relief.

In this post, I will list everything I have seen that benefited tennis elbow conditions, whether it’s home remedies, exercises, products, or clinical or alternative treatment.

Things you can do for FREE

If you actively care for your pain elbow, you don’t need to spend a single penny to achieve full recovery in 4-8 weeks. The best strategy is to rest and protect your hurting elbow, help the muscles around your elbow to relax every other few days, and stick to the elbow exercise routine daily to secure your recovery progress.

wrist flexor and extensor stretch

Stretches and exercises

Stretching and exercising are a must-do if you expect a full recovery from tennis elbow pain. Please follow this link to find the most effective stretches and exercises for tennis elbow pain.

Ice massage

Tennis elbow is a type of tendonitis. It means that the pain is caused by inflammation processes in the tendon tissue. It is common sense to slap a bag of frozen corns and peas on your elbow to help slow the raging inflammation. A more efficient way to apply icing is through ice massage. This icing technique drive coldness deeper into the inflammation site and provides faster and more targeted pain relief.

  • Take a styrofoam cup and fill it halfway with water, then place it in the freezer until frozen

  • Tear the rim of the cup until a layer of ice is completely exposed like a popsicle. You can hold on to this ice cube with the remaining styrofoam

  • Rub the corner of the ice cube directly over the tender point on the outside of elbow, with constantly moving small circles

  • The sensations you should feel, in order, are extreme cold, burning, aching and then numbness

  • Stop the icing once your skin is completely numb, this should not take more than 5-7 minutes

Avoid icing over shallow bones to prevent frostbite. This is most effective during flare-ups, or right after intense work or sport activities.

Forearm hot bath

I know this sounds contradicting to the previous technique, but it is not. While you should icing directly over the inflamed muscle tendon on the outer elbow, you should relax the over-worked muscle belly in the forearm area. Soaking in hot water will improve blood circulation in the stiff and noded muscle belly, promoting tissue healing and reversing damage.

You can do this by soaking your hands and forearms in a bucket or baby tub filled with hot water to your preference for 10-15 minutes. This technique is best after a long work day. If your elbow is very sensitive and tender, remember to leave it out of the water.

Arm massage with a tennis ball

Rest your painful elbow on a firm surface in front of you. Use a tennis ball in the opposite hand to press firmly into your stiff forearm, biceps and triceps muscles. You can hold the pressure when you are pressing over a tender spot. You can also roll the tennis ball up and down along the muscle to loosen the fascia.

You can do this by yourself, or ask a loved one to help you out. Releasing the arm muscles on the painful side will help the muscle to function and recover faster.

Arm Gua Sha with scraper, spoon or butter knife

Gua sha or muscle scraping is one of the most effective ways to improve tissue texture, boost healing speed and provide lasting pain relief. Gua sha or scraping is normally done by a professional. However, if you and your family have a curious and brave soul, there is very little risk in trying gua sha or scraping at home. [Recommended reading: Gua sha: You will never look at bruising the same way again]

Pick your favorite tool among common kitchenware: pot scraper, table spoon or butter knife. Rest your painful arm on a firm surface in front of you. Tilt the tool of your choice so that it has about 45 degree angle with your skin, and start scraping.

Start with gentle, slow and long strokes to promote blood flow, then focus on spots that are more sore and stiff in your forearm, biceps and tricep muscles. Perform this home treatment within your comfort zone. You do not need to produce bruising like in a typical gua sha session. And if you feel comfortable with this technique, you can do this instead of the tennis ball massage.

Taking micro-breaks from work or activities

We cannot avoid using our arms and hands completely throughout the day. If your elbow pain intensifies after certain activities, the best plan of action is to take microbreaks from your task. To prevent your focus from numbing your pain and sense of time, set an alarm on your smartphone to remind you to break every 20-30 minutes. Spend 2-3 minutes to stretch your wrists and arms properly before continuing your work or activity.

Microbreaks prevent overloading of your muscles and compiling of microtraumas. Short and frequent breaks with stretching allows your muscles to regain blood flow and flexibility. Your body will thank you for the trouble in the evening, and in the long run.

high risk job

Products that are effective and affordable

Sometimes taking a break from a busy life is not entirely practical, especially when it comes to the usage of our arms and hands. Real life recovery from tennis elbow pain may feel like one step forward and 2 steps back. The longer you ignore the lack of recovery progress, the more effort and money you may end up investing in treatment when the pain cannot be ignored anymore. The following are some products that can be helpful to boost your chance with tennis elbow in a busy life.

Tennis elbow brace

In my opinion, a tennis elbow brace is the best purchase you can make to live your days with less pain from tennis elbow. Some people will argue that a tennis elbow brace will slow your healing because it makes you less aware of your pain and can allow you go on to do more damage to the injury. However, not everyone has the luxury of avoiding aggravating activities completely. If the tennis elbow brace allows you to keep your job, cook for your family and hold your newborn baby, then it is a lifesaver you’ll want to have.

Follow this link to find the best tennis elbow brace for your needs and budget.

Kinesio tape or KT tape

In most cases, taping is an alternative to wearing an elbow brace for tennis elbow pain relief. Taping is popular among athletes and sports players to relieve pain from all sorts of injuries. Tennis elbow taping is highly effective to unload the irritated muscle tendon, while providing the maximum amount of comfortable, cumbersome- free movements.

Kinesio tape and KT tape are two of the most popular brands of tapes out there. Although the accumulated price of taping can make some people cringe, it is worth it for athletes, highly active individuals and those with sensitive skin. You can find an athletic trainer, physical therapist, or chiropractor to get taped professionally, or learn to do it yourself too. There are also tons of videos online with detailed instructions on the proper ways to apply the tape for tennis elbow pain relief.


According to a study done by Phil Page in 2010, exercising with a Flexbar may result in fast pain relief and a functional recovery.

Penetrex cream for pain relief

Penetrex is a topical anti-inflammatory cream. It has become very popular among athletes, industrial workers and chronic arthritis patients due to its ability to drive active anti-inflammatory ingredients through skin into the painful tissues and achieve fast results.

Compared to cortisone injection, Penetrex is non-invasive with less side effects. I bought this cream for my father-in-law, who is a sushi chef, and he loved it.

Professional treatments

Cortisone injection in the extensor tendon

cortisone injection for tennis elbow

If you have been suffering from tennis elbow pain for over 4 months and your symptoms are getting worse, you may want to consider taking on your doctor’s offer to get cortisone injection in your elbow. Cortisone is a type of steroid that chemically stops the inflammation process in the injected local area. It does so by suppressing the local immune function, killing all the pain generating chemical processes. The pain relief effect may last any where from 2 days to 3 months. Protecting the injured muscle tendon is very important after the injection.

For some people, this injection is like a reset button, giving their body a new chance to embark on the right track to recovery. However, please keep in mind that the injection, though powerful, is nothing more than a temporary fix. It by no means replaces your ongoing effort to protect, treat and strengthen your elbow and forearm.


Acupuncture to arm for tennis elbow

Acupuncture, when done properly, has a similar effect to a cortisone shot and is drug free. A skilled acupuncturist uses needles to release a tension in your soft tissue and reset your body’s inflammatory process naturally. If you had good experience with acupuncture before for any conditions or purpose, you may find acupuncture helpful as well to relieve your tennis elbow pain.

Massage or gua sha therapy for tennis elbow

forearm massage for tennis elbow pain

Tennis elbow is a soft tissue overuse condition. Getting your soft tissues professionally treated through massage or gua sha will significantly improve your healing progress. Make sure your therapist includes your entire affected arm and shoulder as part of his or her treatment to facilitate proper function of the entire chain of mechanism.

Cold Laser therapy for tennis elbow tendonitis

In my opinion, cold lasers will become the next celebrity technology for pain relief. Due to its versatile nature, you can benefit from lasers in every aspect of your life. People have been using lasers for pain relief for decades, but with less than impressive consistency. It took developers a decade to refine the technology to provide pain relief safely and consistently. Now everything is just waiting for the research results to roll in.

I have been using a more up-to-date cold laser device on patients with pain and injuries, and it has had very promising results: decreasing sub-acute and chronic pains, especially for tennis elbow pain. If you want to avoid needles, chemicals, and skin irritations, cold laser treatment might be your lifesaver.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you find this post helpful.

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