Other treatment for
tennis elbow pain includes physical rehabilitation (rehab),
acupuncture, topical nitric oxide, shock wave therapy, and
transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
Physical rehab is combined with
tendon rest to restore flexibility and build muscle
strength. Rehab is needed after surgery too.
Other treatment choices
A physical rehab program includes:
- Relieving pain.
- Maintaining good
overall physical fitness.
- Exercises, including
stretching , and
- Learning new techniques for
certain movements; using equipment that best suits your ability, body size, and
strength; and limiting activities that require grasping or twisting arm
- Retraining and ergonomic changes at your work site. For
more information, see the topic
Complementary or alternative medicine treatments
Complementary or alternative treatments are
sometimes used along with traditional therapy to treat tennis elbow. Although
there is no solid scientific evidence that these therapies relieve pain and
restore elbow flexibility and strength, some people report them as helpful.
Complementary or alternative treatments may include:
- Acupuncture. Small studies report
tennis elbow relief after acupuncture treatment. But there is not enough strong evidence to support or refute
- Topical nitric oxide. In a patch form, nitric oxide is
applied to the elbow to speed recovery. This medicine has been used as a
treatment for tennis elbow for a short time. One study showed positive
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).
TENS is sometimes used to treat tennis elbow, usually in a physical therapy
- Extracorporeal shock wave therapy. A review of shock wave
therapy for tennis elbow had conflicting findings. Some studies reported that
shock wave therapy improved tennis elbow recovery. But others found that it
offered no therapeutic benefit when compared to
What to think about
A physical rehab program not
only helps heal injured tendons and muscles but also helps prevent further
Physical rehab combined with tendon rest is the main
tennis elbow treatment. Corticosteroid shots are only considered if several
weeks of rest and rehab have not reduced symptoms. Surgery may be considered
after 6 to 12 months of nonsurgical treatment.
If the type of work
you do is causing your injury,
an occupational therapist may help you change how you
are working or the kind of work that you do.
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
David Bardana, MD, FRCSC - Orthopedic Surgery, Sports Medicine
January 10, 2013
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