Tennis elbow is a common complaint, not only in tennis players, but golfers and and anyone who does physical work with the arms. Symptoms are generally pain in the outside of the elbow made worse by gripping, pinching, and lifting activities. Most treatment gets focused on the elbow, but other things can contribute to tennis elbow.
- The Neck: Limitations of neck movement or instability in the neck can cause altered mechanics or nerve compression which can refer pain to the elbow. Restoring cervical mobility, stability and posture can relieve pressure and reduce elbow pain.
- The Shoulder: Poor shoulder strength and function can add tremendous stress to the elbow. Many shoulders have chronic reduced strength which, especially in sports such as tennis, golf, and swimming, causes increased repetitive stress on the elbow. Over time this can lead to elbow stress.
- The Thoracic Spine: The thoracic spine needs to rotate freely for optimal function in many of these same activities. Without free thoracic rotation, shoulder function and cervical function can both be affected.
- Radial Nerve: The radial nerve runs right through the same area as tennis elbow pain. Poor neurodynamic function or inflammation can mimic tennis elbow pain.
If you have lasting tennis elbow pain, and have focused your treatment primarily on the elbow, rest, and medications without success, you may want to have these other areas evaluated. They may be an underlying cause of your pain.