From Tennis Elbow To Winning The Serve
Mrs. Pang, a petite, slim, and fit woman in her early forties came to my clinic for the first time complaining about a pain-full right elbow that had been with her for the last four weeks.
She was a keen tennis player and was frustrated to not only be unable to participate in her beloved sport activity, but even more so, to have constant pain and discomfort in the elbow, even at rest. The pain persisted even when washing, combing her hair, brushing her teeth, and tackling household chores like lifting pots and pans, and drinking from a mug.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
Typical tennis elbow is also known as a repetitive strain injury that may be caused by repetitive tasks, forceful exertions, vibrations or sustained by awkward positions. Mrs. Pang presented symptoms of a constant dull pain and discomfort in the right elbow, tenderness on outwards rotation of the forearm, pinching in the middle finger and thumb when writing, lifting medium size objects and a weak hand grip.
Before the actual treatment I placed the palm of my hand on the skin of the elbow and felt a slight heat in my hand. This is often an indication that there is inflammation. We then tested the actual comfortable range of motion of the elbow for the severity of her problems and to have a benchmark for even the slightest improvement of the treatment.
Gentle Tennis Elbow Treatment
The first step of the treatment process was to reduce the inflammation and to ease the muscles and the underlying structure. It created a feeling of calmness of the area and felt good for the client.
After applying light pressure to her forearm, underarm and some push-pulls with final delicate moves around the wrist to the thumb and little finger, it was time for the procedure to rest and to adjust. Almost immediately, Mrs. Pang involuntarily started to twist her arm and said that she felt an increased blood circulation entering into the forearm and hand, and felt a sense of warmness.
The Possible Downside Of Letting It Go Too Far
People with prolonged repetitive strain injuries in the arm often develop related shoulder and neck tightness, as they start to compensate with the shoulder, which in severe cases can pull the head into a forward position.
Mrs. Pang did not have any visible signs of a shoulder pull but I still wanted to assess the shoulder and neck for any tightness to ensure that an optimal outcome. She did indeed have tightness of the anterior shoulder and I made small gentle moves to help put the forearm into a slight rotation. We finished the session by releasing knotted neck muscles.
The first session was completed with only seven simple and gentle moves that created a light and easy feeling of the forearm. We topped off her visit by applying a non-stretchable strapping around the wrist for support, to be worn for the next three days.
The Work Isn’t Finished Once You Leave the Clinic
The aftercare was simple. I made the following recommendations:
- Stop wearing any kind of loose bracelets or objects around the right wrist, as they might irritate the nerve receptors by a constant rubbing and eventually negate the treatment.
- Apply cool pack three times daily for three minutes to reduce inflammation.
- Keep activity within comfortable range of motion.
- Stop playing tennis and listen to the body.
- Pain is the body’s own defense mechanism, trying to tell you what you shouldn’t do.
- Scheduled a second session within five days.
On the second visit I noticed that Mrs. Pang came without her bracelets and she brought me very good news. Great improvements with just a few symptoms remaining as: elbow tenderness on extreme out rotation, slight thumb and middle finger pinching and weaker grip compared to the left hand.
She was impressed and proudly announced that she now was able to do all her toiletries without any discomfort, and most household activities without any sharp pain in the elbow. A very successful outcome, and I credit this to Mrs. Pang having followed the suggested guidance, thus allowing the muscles and tendons to heal.
The second treatment was really short and almost identical to the first session and completed with a three-layer of strapping around the wrist. Very simple, very effective and very pleasant for the client!
Two weeks passed and Mrs. Pang called me for an appointment which got me a bit worried that some of the symptoms had returned by an unforeseen injury. However, when she returned to her third visit I was proved wrong.
Mrs. Pang walked through the door dressed in her full tennis gear with a big smile on her face, as if she had just been out playing or was on her way to a match.
The latter was the case. She was on her way to participate in a women double tennis match within the hours and wanted a booster treatment to reinforce the forearm and grip strength. Proudly she gave me a short resume of her present condition. After removing the wrist strapping and followed the cool-pack procedure three times a day each day, she had been free of any symptoms. No pain at all at rest or doing her daily chores.
Bonus Advice for Athletes
Before she left, we even spent some extra time looking at the importance of shoelace strapping. When being done in the right way, we avoid irritating the nerve receptors of the feet that can cause imbalance if strapped too tight and with the knot on a specific point. Being an eager sports person, it is important to have good stability to avoid unnecessary injuries.
With only two treatment sessions in just two weeks Mrs. Pang had recovered from repetitive muscular pain and discomfort and elbow inflammation with no drugs, no remedies and no stress. She was able to return to her beloved sport with confidence.
In the next few blogs, I will be giving you some more inspirational true stories from my book Pain Free, because I really think that they will bring you closer to understanding the meaning and purpose of what we do.
Do you have a similar story? Please share it with us.
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