Tennis elbow.

Date: Tue, 27 Feb 1996 12:37:06 -0500
From: Patricia Harper <HarperP.AOL.COM>
Subject: Re: tennis elbow/pain relief

Dear Bob,

> I posted this once before and tried some of the options I was given but nothing has worked. I have a case of tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) I have tried homeopathics (ruta, hypericum, bellis, sulfur) nothing seems to work.
> I tried DMSO which helped a bit in the beginning but not much anymore. I have more pain at night. I feel better when the arm is flexed. I like to rub it or massage it. No noticable change when heat or cold is applied. What can I do?
> I would like to know what to take orally and what to use topically. What changes in diet might help. I am (was) and active 39 year old male, great health, heavy weightlifter (240lbs). I think this aggravation came from a change in lifting technique but has blossomed on its own.

Sometimes the bitterest pill to take is none at all. The only cure I know of for tennis elbow, is "tincture of time." Do not lift. Avoid all activities that stress your arm. Take up jogging for a while instead, or better yet, take up reading. Give your body time to heal. Perhaps not an easy prescription to meet, eh?

In the meantime, try the following on a daily basis for 2--4 weeks:

Internally, try eating a lot of oatmeal. Oats are very supportive to the muscles, joints and nerves and are traditionally used to heal and strengthen the body. I would take gruel or decoction of comfrey root. (The FDA questions the safety of Comfrey used internally, so I won't go so far as to recommend it, however, I consider it safe and would personally not hesitate to use lots of it.)

Externally, Comfrey can be applied as a poltice to the elbow: Make a thick decoction of chopped root, spoon onto a dishtowel, fold, and wrap around your elbow. You may wish to research the risks, or FDA's opinion, on DMSO, (which you mentioned that you are using anyway), but it is an excellent carrier to bring herbs into the body. To use, mix the strained comfrey decoction 50/50 with DMSO and massage into the joint.

You may wish to also try Chamomile (an infusion, used as above, and drunk as tea) to heal the nerves. St. John's Wort, not homeopathic hypericum, but an herbal oil or liniment, externally (tincture or tea internally) can be very effective in rebuilding the damaged nerves. It does take time.

These are supportive therapies, not instant cures. The Oat and Comfrey treatments are intended to accelerate the healing of muscles, bones and joints by helping your body rebuild the damaged tissue. The Oats, Chamomile and St. John's Wort are intended to help rebuild and strengthen the affected nerves.

For pain, in addition to over-the-counter and prescribed drugs, you may wish to try one of the following topical, essential oil treatments for temporary relief:

Oil of Wintergreen: This old-fashioned treatment is basically topical aspirin (do not use if you are allergic to aspirin). Avoid touching eyes and mucus membranes after application.

1 TBS Olive Oil with: 5 drops each of Roman Chamomile, lavender and bergamot (These are expensive to buy, you may be able to find a local aromatherapist who will compound it for you for much less than the cost of stock bottles.)

By the way, someone mentioned (with a smiley face) using opium poppy latex for pain. In the United States, it is a felony to score poppy heads in order to obtain latex, so beware of neighborhood busybodies if you try this. Even if the product is obtainable, it will probably be more constipating than pain relieving--ask your doctor for Codeine if you want to use an effective, opiate pain-killer.

From: Larry Barrick <barrick.AHCBSD1.OVNET.COM>

> I have a case of tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)


I am a Sports Massage Therapist and have worked with tennis elbow many times.
If you are still lifting you are not letting the problem heal. give it time.
If you are not interested in seeking a sports massage therapist here are some things to try.

  1. ICE bag for 10-15 min. or freeze water in a cup then tear part of cup off and massage area with ice bar 5-7 min. try this 2 times a day for 3 days.
  2. Next with finger tip rub gently over the tender area for 2 min after 2min you may rub a little harder for 8-10 min. then ICE every other day til tenderness becomes less.
  3. Then use a medium rubberband put it around the outside of your fingers and spread fingers expanding ruberband 12-15 timer and repeat 3 timer. There should be no strain or pain in elbow or forearm. If there is user smaller rubberband. then ICE.

If you did not notice always ICE no heat unless you use contrasting baths the 1 min ICE 5 min heat nad repeat 3-5 times always end in ice. This is to increase circulation to remove swelling.

Check out herbs like horsetail and comfrey.