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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    I have had tennis elbow pain for many years

    I've had a tennis elbow injury now for 2-3 years. Sometimes it is just a dull ache. Sometimes I can barely use a mouse or even sleep. Normally it is somewhere in the middle. Lately, I've just been trying to ignore it, but that (not surprisingly) hasn't helped either. I work in IT and train in martial arts twice a week. Things I've tried: Total rest for 4 months. (mouse in left hand. Not using the arm at all in exercise) Seen a physio for many appointments. Followed recommended exercises. Physio said it wasn't really helping and sent me back to the GP. GP recommended and tried Cortisone injection. That relieved the pain fantastically well for about 2 months. But then it wore off. So.. what now? I feel I need to be seeing an orthopaedic surgeon. However, most of what I read and hear about tennis elbow is that surgery doesn't really help and can hurt. However, I'm starting to think I should have done it earlier... Hoping for some advice on what to try next?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Nathan Wong

    Physiotherapist

    Get back to your activities with physiotherapy designed to keep you out of the doctor's, out of pain, and out of medications. My goal is ... View Profile

    Unfortunately I don't know your name but nevertheless hi! As a physiotherapist who specializes (not in the clinical but in the business sense) on treating chronic pain and injuries, I'll answer the best I can but will have to be brief as I have no information about your medical history nor have I assessed you. 

    So to be brief - You're on the right track to say that an orthopedic surgeon is unlikely to help you at this stage if it is a true tennis elbow injury that you have. Tennis elbow is a condition of overuse of certain tendons in the elbow, which will heal and de-sensitize once what your body perceives as a threat is removed and the tissues are re-modeled properly.

    It is common at this stage that there are both compensations in the way you use the affected upper limb and soft tissue changes around the neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand that may be delaying the proper recovery of your elbow.

    Before considering surgery I would recommend seeing a physiotherapist who specializes in the upper limb, a manual therapist or an osteopath (a profession I highly respect with their holistic view of the body). They would be able to give you a good idea of what you need to do. 

    Another thing to look out for are practitioners who have been certified in the Selective Functional Movement Assessment, Neurokinetic Therapy, or Dr Spina's Functional Range Release.

    If you have anymore questions, please don't hesitate to contact us at siloamphysiotherapy@gmail.com or Neeta City Medical Dental & Specialists Center in Fairfield, NSW.

    Hope it helps and that you'll find the answers you're looking for!

    Nathan Wong BHSc MPhty Grad. Dip. Div

    Physiotherapist, Sports Trainer

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  • Christine Guirguis

    Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbal Medicine Practitioner

    Christine Guirguis studied at the University of Sydney and the University of Technology Sydney, obtaining degrees in medical science and health sciences in acupuncture and ... View Profile

    In the short term acupuncture can give you relatively fast relief from tennis elbow by reducing pain and local inflammation. In the medium term acupuncture provides more sustained relief by targeting trigger points in muscles in the forearm, arm, shoulder, upper back and neck that contribute to the tennis elbow. But for long-term results, acupuncture needs to be combined with physio exercises to strengthen weak muscles and stretch tight muscles which left unchecked produce jerky (even if subtle) movements of the joint which along with overuse cause the tennis elbow. 

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