I am facing a fairly likely diagnosis of tennis elbow but I won't know for a couple of weeks. Tennis elbow is also known as lateral epicondylitis, an extremely painful inflammation of the tendons that are attached to the muscles in the arm, specifically the elbow.
It happens due to overuse of the elbow from repetitive behaviors like working on an assembly line or frequent participation in sports like golf and particularly tennis, hence the name.
But many people get this tennis elbow from something other than tennis or racquet sports, like carpenters or those who work all day long on a computer.
In my case, tennis is indeed the culprit and the pain is horrendous. A deep ache in the arm, especially when extending it or pulling it back by the elbow (which is exactly what I do when I play tennis, and I play a lot) and also when I flex my wrist back, as if revving up a motorbike.
These are all classic symptoms. It wakes me up at night and is getting worse. The onset was pretty sudden and recent but I will see a health care professional next week.
In the meantime, I wear a band and soldier on with tennis because like lots of players, I'm not prepared to give it up and I hope I never have to. The next month or so will let me know whether I can compete this summer, something I've been training for all winter.
A diagnosis is done by examination and finding out about a person's lifestyle, job and exercise habits. A physical examination is performed by asking the patient to perform movements and motions to test for pain and mobility, especially in the elbow, forearm and wrist areas. X-rays are not usually done because tennis elbow is not usually seen on scans.
EmpowHER's Tennis Elbow page advises the following treatment options:
"Rest: Do not do activities that cause pain. Do not play sports, especially tennis, until the pain is gone.
Ice: Apply ice or a cold pack to the outside of the elbow for 15-20 minutes, four times a day for several days. Wrap the ice or cold pack in a towel. Do not apply the ice directly to your skin.
Take one of the following drugs to help reduce inflammation and pain: