Tennis Elbow: How Shockwave Therapy Machines Can Help Your Recovery
Your arms are the most physically active part of your body next to your legs. You use them for a majority of the tasks you perform each day. Any damage or pain to your arms can cause you significant pain and lead to greatly reduced performance. Tennis elbow is one of these potentially debilitating conditions.
What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is a condition that does not only affect athletes. It is a condition characterized by the inflammation of the tendon that attaches your forearm muscles together on the outside of the elbow. This inflammation is caused by overworking the elbow with repetitive tasks.
Your elbow joins is made up of three bones: the upper arm bone called the humerus and the two bones in your forearm called the radius and ulna. These three bones are attached to each other with tendons (also called extensors because they are used to keep your wrist stable when you extend your arm), muscles and ligaments. The primary tendon affected by tennis elbow is the Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis (ECRB).
This condition affects athletes of most sports that involve racquets like the tennis it gets its name from. The inflammation is likely to occur due to improper form when performing strikes on the ball with these racquets.
But as mentioned earlier, tennis elbow does not only affect individuals who actively engage in sports. Studies have actually shown that auto mechanics, carpenters, and butchers are more likely to suffer from this condition. This is because the constant, similar motions required to perform these jobs like the act of turning the arm and wrist to tighten bolts and fasteners, or the act of bringing a cleaver down repeatedly leads to considerable strain on the tendons. Damage and inflammation of the elbow tendon can also be caused by the act of lifting heavy objects, which is also very common in these professions.
Tennis Elbow typically affects individuals between the ages of 30 to 50 but anyone, regardless of age has the risk of developing this inflammation if they perform repetitive arm movements as part of their work.
How do I know if I have Tennis Elbow?
The primary symptoms of tennis elbow are a weakness of grip and a burning pain in the upper part of the elbow. Typically, these symptoms creep up on you, slowly building intensity over the course of weeks or months. If you feel any of these sensations, consult your doctor to confirm whether or not you have the condition.
What Treatments are available for Tennis Elbow?
Treatment for tennis elbow can consist of the use of painkillers and steroids, physiotherapy involving particular wrist and arm exercises, as well as some orthopedic solutions like counter force braces. Treatment using these methods will usually take something like 6 months to up to 2 or more years before the tennis elbow is completely dealt with. In particularly severe cases, surgery may even be required.
However, multiple studies have shown that the use of a shockwave therapy machine in conjunction with these can help ease the pain of the other treatments as well as reduce recovery times significantly and avoid the possibility of surgery.
How does Shockwave Therapy Work?
Shockwave therapy has a number of clinically proven results in reducing chronic pain in tendons, muscles and ligaments, with patients normally reporting fairly quick recovery times through the use of a shockwave therapy machine like the Swiss DolorClast. While originally a technology meant to break down kidney and gall- stones, shockwave therapy machines meant to treat muscle and tendon injuries are less powerful.
The procedure is non-invasive and works by applying low frequency sound waves directly on the area to be treated. These waves are applied through a gel medium, somewhat like ultrasound. These sound waves help break down calcification caused by minor traumas in the tendons, reduce inflammation by stimulating mast cells, and a number of other effects that help alleviate pain and reduce further damage. This form of therapy is completely safe and does not require any painkillers.
Does Receiving Shockwave Therapy Hurt?
While the procedure does not require painkillers, the patient may feel mild to moderate pain in the treated area during the therapy. After using the shockwave therapy machine, the patient may also feel some soreness but this usually goes away within the following few hours and is not a debilitating issue. There have also been reports of temporary reddening but these dissipate within a few hours to a couple days as well.
Are There any Side Effects to Shockwave Therapy?
The use of shockwave therapy machines is completely safe for most healthy individuals and there are almost no side effects. However, people with high blood pressure or are taking blood thinners are not advised to pursue this procedure until they have properly dealt with these issues. Pregnant mothers are also not advised to make use of shockwave therapy.
Magne-tec is the exclusive distributor of the EMS Swiss DolorClast Shockwave Therapy Machine for all of Canada. The DolorClast is the first, safest and most effective machine for performing Shockwave Therapy. For any further questions you may have, contact us here.