‘What are the best ways to help relieve tennis elbow pain?’

Mar 10, 2020
One reader is suffering from persistent pain on the outside of their elbow. Source: Getty

Q: What exercises should I do if I have tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow is a condition that causes pain around the outer part of the elbow — and no, you don’t have to play tennis to get it. It’s usually caused by overuse. If you have tennis elbow, you may have difficulty gripping or holding things with the affected arm. However, doing specific exercises can help ease the pain and speed up healing. Here are some exercises to try at home:

  • Neck mobility exercise: Turn the head side to side. Hold for a count of 10 seconds and repeat three to five times
  • Neck stretches: Bring your left ear lobe to the left shoulder (make sure the nose is pointing straight ahead). Hold for 30 seconds and repeat each side three times
  • Shoulder rotations: Gently roll the shoulders backwards. Do this 20 times
  • Shoulder blade squeeze: Shoulder blades should squeeze back and downwards. Do this 20 times
  • Triceps stretches: Bend your elbow across your chest and pull it towards your opposite shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat three times
  • Self massage: Massage the affected area gently. Do this for no more than two to five minutes
  • Grip strength exercises: Using a stress ball squeeze lightly. Do this 30 times.

So, why all these exercises?

Tennis elbow could be caused by a problem in the neck, shoulders, elbows, and wrists. So, if you do the above exercises, you have a higher chance of improving.

A few notes to consider

Repeat the above sequence twice a day. After five to seven days you should be able to work out which exercises help you the most. Continue this for a further 14 to 16 days. However, if there’s no change after a week, see your physiotherapist. And if any of the above exercises cause pain, then you’re pushing too hard.

It might also be worth trying the above sequence in a hydrotherapy pool. The weightlessness caused by the water helps the upper limb relax, therefore allowing it to heal faster.

If you have a question for Starts at 60’s health experts, email it to [email protected].

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

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