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What is tennis elbow?

“What is tennis elbow?” is a question that I am asked regularly in day to day practice, so I decided to write this blog to help to answer a few questions.

Image shows Dr Mykel Mason demonstrating where tennis elbow is located.

What is tennis elbow?

What causes the pain in tennis elbow?

The pain in tennis elbow is generally caused by the inflammation of the tendons around the elbow. Typically this is due to either overuse or chronic underuse.

I’ve never played tennis; why do I have tennis elbow?

When people get tennis elbow it is rarely actually associated with tennis. In my years in practice it can generally be attributed to a recent increase in a certain activity. Sometimes this is something as simple as typing, waitressing or manual work such as using a screwdriver.

What symptoms do people with tennis elbow have?

Tennis elbow is characterised by pain over the outside part of the elbow. This can be felt directly over the bony part of the elbow or within the muscles in the forearm. People also often experience weakness in the arm or hand and can sometimes struggle to grip things and resort to using their less dominant hand. This is because 75% of the time the dominant hand is the arm that is affected.

What can I do to help my tennis elbow?

The best things to do to help tennis elbow:

  • Rest the arm to help reduce the inflammation
  • Ice the area that is painful as this will help to reduce the inflammation quicker. Remember to not put ice directly on the skin as this can cause an ice burn.
  • Do not use heat in the acute phase (first three weeks or so) as this can increase the inflammation, therefore increasing discomfort.
  • Light stretching can be very useful to help realign the fibres. This is performed by flexing the wrist and applying light pressure on the back of your hand with the other hand. This is done with the arm stretched out straight (see image).
  • Light strengthening of the forearm once the acute pain has decreased.
  • If these don’t resolve the problem completely then consult a health professional such as a chiropractor, physiotherapist or a sports massage therapist.
Picture showing a forearm stretch for tennis elbow. Arm is out straight with wrist flexed and hand towards the floor with light pressure being placed over the hand with the opposite hand. Demonstrated by Eastbourne Doctor of Chiropractic Mykel Mason

In this photo you will see a forearm extensor stretch which should be held for around thirty seconds and repeated twice a couple of times a day.

Most cases should clear up within 4-6 weeks however if it hasn’t then consulting a professional is advised.

If you would like to get things checked out properly or if you have any further questions, please feel free to give me a ring at the clinic on 01323 722499.

Yours in health,

Mykel Mason your Eastbourne chiropractor


Therapeutic massage at Lushington Chiropractic – Janet Barber case study

Massage case study – A therapeutic massage at Lushington Chiropractic

Massages are incredibly popular as part of pamper packages to help people relax and unwind. However, massages can also play an important role in treating those suffering from pain and discomfort. Therapeutic massages are slightly different from those you might encounter at a spa or beauty clinic but the results can be profound. Here’s a case study relating to Janet Barber, who visited Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne to seek treatment for an ongoing elbow problem.


Janet Barber massage guest outside Lushington chiropractic before her massage with Andy Swan

Janet Barber massage guest outside Lushington Chiropractic before her massage with Andy Swan

Janet Barber was suffering from localised pain through the brachioradialis (forearm muscles) and the extensor Carpi radialis longus muscles, which control muscle movement at the wrist. She visited Lushington Chiropractic in Eastbourne for a consultation with Andy Swan, one of the clinic’s masseuses. On her initial visit, Andy took a history from Janet about her elbow pain in her right arm, she was unable to lift objects or reach without pain or discomfort.

She had a very limited range of motion with the arm, and so Andy used a combination of massage techniques such as soft tissue release. Soft tissue release or STR involves the therapist using manual pressure on a muscle to create a temporary false attachment point before taking the muscle into a pain-free stretch to untangle the muscle fibres. STR is used to increase range of movement, relieve pain, prevent, repair and manage injuries.

Andy also used Neuromuscular technique (N.M.T), which consists of alternating levels of concentrated pressure on the areas of muscle spasm. The massage therapy pressure is usually applied with the fingers, knuckles, or elbow and some cross friction on the forearm muscles. The purpose of cross friction massage is to maintain the mobility within the soft tissue structures of ligament, tendon, and muscle, preventing adherent scars from forming.

Janet visited Andy for regular treatment over a period of 4 weeks. By the end of the course of treatment, Janet had regained full use and function of the arm with no re-occurrence of the pain that had been hampering her daily activity.

A bit about Lushington Chiropractic:

The highly qualified and genuinely caring team at Lushington in Eastbourne have over 80 years’ of experience between them. They are an extremely professional and dedicated team who deliver the highest level of service with patients who appreciate the genuine, friendly atmosphere.