Tennis and Chiropractic

Tennis is a sport in which extreme agility is necessary. Coordination is crucial. Joints and muscles must respond immediately with the appropriate amount of strength, tension, and stretch. The goal of our office is to improve the integrity of your brain and your nervous system. Your brain and nervous system directly control the exact length of every muscle spindle (which is really small) in your body. Coordination is modulated in particular by a part of the brain called the cerebellum. If signals to your brain are not high frequency symmetrical signals, dysfunction in your body is the result. The dysfunction in your body may be so mild that you do not even experience symptoms. Why not get proper signals to your brain through proper adjustments? The end result is a body which will function better. However, oftentimes tennis players are more concerned with a specific condition called tennis elbow.

Classic tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is an overuse or repetitive strain injury (RSI). You don't even have to play tennis to get tennis elbow. It is a condition affecting the lateral (outside) area of the elbow. Tennis elbow is a very common cause of elbow and forearm pain. It can cause mild to severe pain and may be aggravated by grasping, or wrist and finger motions. The pain may also radiate up the arm or down into the forearm.

Tennis elbow is very common among tennis players, especially those with a less than perfect backhand swing. Forty-five percent of tennis players who play or practice daily will experience tennis elbow. However, tennis elbow also afflicts carpenters, mechanics, office workers, cashiers, maids, and anyone else who performs repeated hammering, grasping, and rotary forearm motions.

Tennis elbow is diagnosed by clinical findings alone. There is local tenderness while pressing on the area and pain on contracting the involved muscles against resistance. The elbow range of motion is normal and there is no swelling. Unless severe degeneration has occurred, the elbow appears normal on an x-ray.

Elbow pain also can be caused by a variety of other reasons. Muscle strains, joint sprains, joint degeneration and inflammation, nerve involvement at the spine or anywhere along the course of the nerve are all possible culprits. More directly, muscle weakness due to nerve involvement can predispose a person to an injury such as tennis elbow; therefore, the neck area should be examined and if necessary treated while the elbow area is being treated.

In our office, we are proficient at extremity adjusting (shoulders, elbows, etc.) Sometimes the elbow is simply jammed in an improper position. Sometimes the discomfort is relieved in one simple adjustment. However, other times the condition involves cervical vertebrae (in the neck), or nerves in the brachial plexus (near the shoulder), or an impingement in the shoulder or elbow itself. So, whether you want to be pain free while playing casually or have a more fluid top spin, chiropractic care can help you get in better form. A complete exam will tell us which areas of your body are involved and can get you on your way to a pain free, stronger and improved game.

Tennis elbow, and all other cases of persistent pain and suspected injury, should be examined by a qualified practitioner who can diagnose the problem and initiate the proper treatment as soon as possible.