Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is a prevalent condition causing pain around the outer part of the elbow when the tendons of the elbow become inflamed, swollen or torn. This article provides a comprehensive overview of tennis elbow, including its symptoms, causes, medical treatments, and alternative therapies. We will also explore the benefits of chiropractic care, particularly the Zone Technique, which may offer the best solution for managing and potentially curing tennis elbow.

Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow typically presents with the following symptoms:

  • Pain and Tenderness: Pain on the outer part of the elbow, which may extend into the forearm and wrist. This pain often worsens with activity and can make simple tasks, such as shaking hands or turning a doorknob, difficult.
  • Weakness: Difficulty in gripping or holding objects. This weakness can impact daily activities, from carrying groceries to lifting a cup of coffee.
  • Stiffness: Stiffness in the elbow, particularly in the morning. The stiffness may gradually improve with gentle movement, but can still restrict the range of motion.
  • Swelling: Inflammation around the affected area. Swelling can add to the discomfort and limit the elbow’s functionality.

Additional Symptoms

  • Radiating Pain: In some cases, the pain may radiate from the elbow down the forearm to the wrist. This can be accompanied by a burning sensation.
  • Difficulty with Finger Extension: Extending the fingers may become painful, especially against resistance.
  • Persistent Ache: A continuous, dull ache in the elbow that can last for months if untreated.

Causes of Tennis Elbow

The primary cause of tennis elbow is overuse and strain of the forearm muscles and tendons. Other contributing factors include:

  • Repetitive Motions: Activities that involve repetitive wrist and arm motions, such as tennis, painting, or typing. These activities can lead to small tears in the tendon, which accumulate over time.
  • Improper Technique: Using incorrect techniques during sports or manual work can stress the tendons. For example, improper backhand technique in tennis can put excessive strain on the forearm.
  • Age: It is most common in adults between the ages of 30 and 50. Tendons lose elasticity and become more susceptible to injury with age.
  • Occupation: Jobs that involve repetitive arm movements, such as carpentry, plumbing, and even computer work, can lead to overuse injuries.

Additional Risk Factors

  • Sports Participation: Beyond tennis, other racquet sports, weightlifting, and throwing sports can increase the risk.
  • Poor Equipment: Using equipment that is too heavy or not suited to the individual’s size and strength can contribute to the development of tennis elbow.
  • Underlying Health Conditions: Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes can predispose individuals to tendon injuries.

Medical Treatments for Tennis Elbow

Conventional treatments focus on relieving pain and inflammation, promoting healing, and preventing further injury:

  • Rest: Avoiding activities that exacerbate symptoms. It is crucial to give the tendon time to heal and prevent further irritation.
  • Medications: NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen, to reduce pain and inflammation. In severe cases, corticosteroid injections may be used to manage acute symptoms.
  • Physical Therapy: Exercises to strengthen the forearm muscles and improve flexibility. Physical therapists can also provide guidance on modifying activities to reduce strain.
  • Ice Therapy: Applying ice packs to reduce swelling. Ice should be applied several times a day for 15-20 minutes at a time.
  • Braces: Using braces to support the elbow and limit strain. Counterforce braces or straps can help distribute pressure away from the affected tendon.
  • Steroid Injections: In severe cases, corticosteroid injections may be used to reduce inflammation and provide short-term pain relief.

Advanced Medical Treatments

  • Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT): This non-invasive treatment uses shock waves to stimulate healing.
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections: PRP involves injecting a concentration of the patient’s own platelets into the affected area to promote tendon repair.
  • Surgery: In rare cases where conservative treatments fail, surgical intervention may be necessary to remove damaged tissue and promote healing.

Alternative and Non-Invasive Treatments

Several alternative therapies can help manage tennis elbow:

  • Acupuncture: Inserting needles into specific points to alleviate pain and inflammation. Acupuncture may also help improve blood flow to the affected area.
  • Massage Therapy: Therapeutic massage to improve blood flow, reduce muscle tension, and promote relaxation.
  • Herbal Remedies: Using anti-inflammatory herbs such as turmeric, ginger, and boswellia. These herbs can be taken as supplements or applied topically.
  • Ultrasound Therapy: Sound waves to promote healing. This treatment can help reduce inflammation and improve blood flow.
  • Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy: Injecting concentrated platelets to stimulate healing. PRP is thought to enhance the body’s natural healing processes.

Additional Alternative Treatments

  • Dry Needling: Similar to acupuncture, dry needling targets trigger points in the muscle to relieve pain and improve function.
  • Electrotherapy: Using electrical stimulation to reduce pain and promote healing.
  • Nutritional Supplements: Supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, and collagen may support tendon health and reduce inflammation.

Chiropractic Care for Tennis Elbow

Chiropractic care offers a holistic approach to managing tennis elbow by focusing on the alignment of the musculoskeletal system:

  • Spinal Alignment: Correcting misalignments to reduce nerve pressure and improve function. Proper spinal alignment can also improve overall posture and biomechanics.
  • Manual Adjustments: Adjustments to relieve stress on the elbow and promote healing. Chiropractors may also adjust the wrist and shoulder to ensure proper joint function.
  • Therapeutic Exercises: Strengthening exercises to support the affected tendons and improve flexibility. These exercises can help prevent future injuries.
  • Lifestyle Advice: Guidance on ergonomic adjustments and activity modifications to reduce strain on the elbow. Chiropractors may also provide advice on proper techniques for sports and daily activities.

The Zone Technique: A Specialized Chiropractic Approach

While typical chiropractic care provides significant benefits, the Zone Technique, developed by Dr. Peter Goldman, may offer the best results for eliminating symptoms and addressing the root cause of tennis elbow.

What is the Zone Technique?

The Zone Technique is a chiropractic method that focuses on balancing six body systems, known as zones: glandular, eliminative, nervous, digestive, muscular, and circulatory. Imbalances in these zones can lead to various health issues, including tennis elbow.

How Does the Zone Technique Work?

  • Assessment: The chiropractor assesses the patient’s zones by palpating specific points on the head.
  • Zone Balancing: Adjustments are made to specific areas of the spine and body to restore balance to the affected zones.
  • Follow-Up: Regular sessions help maintain balance and prevent recurrence.

Why the Zone Technique is Effective

  • Holistic Approach: Addresses multiple body systems to treat the root cause of symptoms. This approach ensures that all contributing factors to tennis elbow are addressed.
  • Personalized Care: Tailored treatments based on individual imbalances. Each session is customized to the patient’s unique needs and condition.
  • Comprehensive Healing: Promotes overall health and prevents future issues. By restoring balance to the body’s systems, the Zone Technique supports long-term wellness.


Tennis elbow can significantly impact daily activities and quality of life. Understanding its symptoms, causes, and available treatments is essential for effective management. While medical treatments and alternative therapies provide relief, chiropractic care, offers a unique and holistic approach that can reduce symptoms, significantly enhance performance and prevent future problems. Among the various chiropractic techniques, the Zone Technique stands out as an exceptional and comprehensive solution that fixes the problem instead of managing it. By addressing the root causes and promoting overall health, the Zone Technique stands out as the most effective option for those suffering from tennis elbow to achieve complete healing, optimal health and well-being.

Are You Ready to Heal?