4 Easy Steps To Fix Tennis Elbow!

Lateral elbow pain is more popularly termed “tennis elbow.” Tennis Elbow affects 2% of the general population, and while that sounds like a relatively low number, it will affect upwards of 50% of tennis players at some point during their playing career! Hence the name.

The commonality among tennis players is no mistake. The sport places a tremendous load on the lateral elbow. While it’s incredibly common, resolution of the problem is often frustrating for both patient and provider. The problem with fixing tennis elbow is that the condition is commonly misdiagnosed. Incorrect diagnosis leads to incorrect treatment, and as you may already know, prolonged and worsening symptoms.

Fortunately, fixing this issue can be found with 4 easy steps!

STEP 1: GET THE RIGHT DIAGNOSIS! Tennis elbow is generally categorized as a tendinitis. Classic tendinitis is an inflammatory condition. The problem is that most lateral elbow pain is NOT inflammatory! It’s degenerative! It is actually a term called tendinosis. Treating lateral elbow pain as tendinitis will make tendinosis worse!

Classic treatment of tendinitis, using rest, ice, and NSAIDS or cortisone actually leads to more degeneration and is putting you at risk for more significant injury, like ruptured tendons! It bears repeating, but cortisone and NSAIDS are a REALLY bad idea in this situation!  In fact one more recent study showed that those using cortisone for treatment of musculoskeletal conditions were WORSE than those who did absolutely nothing at all after 1 year.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look at the study here.

STEP 2: REST! I know I just told you rest is a bad idea. Prolonged rest is bad. Short term rest isn’t. It is often necessary during step 3.  Also avoid any painful movements during this time and use a brace as needed.  All this helps to unload the injured area.

STEP 3: TREAT ADHESION. Lateral elbow pain is often caused by overuse/repetitive trauma. The most common result of overuse in the body is adhesion. Adhesion acts like glue on muscles and tendons and doesn’t allow things to move like they should. It’s the most common cause of pain and limited range of motion in the body, yet it is also the most misdiagnosed and mistreated condition! Very few providers know what adhesion is. Even less know how to actually treat it. Making sure to find a provider that knows how to diagnose and treat this condition is vital to your recovery!  If you are lucky enough to have an Integrative Diagnosis provider in your area, they are the absolute best at treating this condition.  You can check your area by clicking the link here.

STEP 4: ECCENTRIC EXERCISE. Once adhesion is removed and the tissue is healthy enough for more activity. Eccentric exercise, a very specific type of exercise needs to be started. This type of exercise specifically targets the tendon for repair.

 

If you have been struggling to find relief from lateral elbow and been diagnosed with tendinitis, most likely the diagnosis was wrong! You need a second opinion! You need the help of a soft tissue expert!  Find help, follow these steps, get relief now!

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The providers at Thrive Spine and Sport in Cedar Rapids are certified through Integrative Diagnosis. Integrative Diagnosis is the most advanced diagnosis and treatment system for the diagnosis and treatment of soft tissue injury. If you have tried other providers without finding relief, we invite you to call our office today at 319-423-0925 or request an appointment by clicking here => www.thrivespineandsport.com/appointment-request.

Know someone struggling with this issue? Make sure to share it with your friends! Thanks for reading!

5 Of The Most Useless Rehab Methods

Let’s face it.  Being injured sucks.  It’s no fun, and most of the time it stops you from doing the activities you love to do.  Some try to fix themselves, while others seek the help of experts to get them out of pain.  Far too many are left in pain with no answers on what’s wrong and how to fix them.

Unfortunately, there is a ton of misinformation in health care.  Fads in healthcare peak fast and shortly fall off the cliff when everyone realizes it doesn’t work.  Even worse, long standard rehab methods that are still being used, despite a wealth of information proving them insufficient!

Here are 5 of the most widely used and abused ineffective treatment methods, and what you should be doing instead.

5.  ICE

Despite what you hear, inflammation produced after an injury is a good thing.  We are far too concerned about reducing inflammation, when in reality we should be appreciating the fact the body is trying to heal itself and just let it happen!  Even Gabe Mirkin, the man who created the acronym RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), warns about the use of ice!

Ice does help for pain, but it will also reduce blood flow.  Blood flow is necessary for healing as it brings in nutrients and materials for repairing the injured area.  Inflammation increases blood flow to stimulate repair.  Trust me your body will do a fantastic job to make sure the inflammation doesn’t get out of hand.

Fix:  Stop icing and let the injury heal!  If you are in unbearable pain, then using ice will be fine.  Just make sure to use it until the area goes numb, then remove it.

4.  REST

This ties into the first useless rehab method, but rest rarely helps.  Of course, if you hurt yourself bench pressing, you shouldn’t go right back to benching, but those who get injured most often stop activity all together.  When muscles do nothing for extended periods of time, they get weaker, and create more pain when returning to activity.

Fix:  Keep active. Continue to use the injured area in pain free, ranges of motion.  Depending on the severity of the injury use lighter weights.  Training other non-injured muscles have also shown to increase the recovery process.

3.  NSAIDS/CORTISONE

Cortisone is the most misused and abused treatment, behind only NSAIDS.  Again, this ties back to the first section on ice.  Inflammation isn’t a bad thing.  It’s a sign that something is wrong!  You need to figure out what that is.

Most often inflammation is produced from overuse – either the body is doing more than what it can handle or your movement is limited.  Limited motion is the most common cause of pain and inflammation in the body.

Cortisone was heralded as a miracle drug back in the 40’s.  Now we know its crap! If you’re lucky cortisone relieves pain in the short term.  In the long term, it degenerates muscles and tendons and leaves you more prone for injury.  Long term studies actually show that those who have used cortisone injections for treatment are WORSE off after a year than those who actually did NOTHING for pain.

Fix:  Stop using pain meds and cortisone injections, unless you are in unbearable pain.  Seek the help of a musculoskeletal expert to find out what is wrong and what needs to be done to fix you!

2.  KT TAPE

KT TAPE

Watching just about any sporting event on TV you will find at least one athlete wearing some brightly colored tape on some part of their body.  The sad thing is, is if you actually look at some of the research on these tape company’s websites, you will find that they actually link studies that prove their product doesn’t work!  Unbelievable!

If you remember in 2008, Olympian sprinter Manteo Mitchell broke his leg while running his leg of the 4 x 400 meter relay.  Why is that significant?  The leg he broke was the one wearing kinesiotape!

Now I get if you are running in the Olympics and are injured, by all means do what you need to do to compete.  Chances are you are not running in the Olympics anytime soon.  What kinesiotape does is override your body to feel pain.  This is why it has become so popular, but it does nothing to actually fix anything that’s physically wrong!

Fix:  Save yourself some money and stop buying tape.  If a provider you have been seeing is using the tape as treatment – you need to find a better provider!  Find someone that can figure out what is wrong with you and what you need to do to get out of pain

1.  STATIC STRETCHING

If you really think about it, static stretching is one of the most barbaric things you can do to yourself.  Take something that doesn’t want to move into that position, and hold it there for an extended period of time trying to force it even further into another position.

Study after study now shows that stretching is potentially harmful.  It will loosen up muscles in the short term, and even reduce some pain, but also decreases force production and moves your body into positions it doesn’t want to be in, opening it up for more potential injury.

Your body is very smart.  It will move as far as it needs to when healthy.  If you are tight or not flexible there is a reason why. Adhesion is the most common cause of limited mobility and pain in the body.  Unfortunately, it is also the most misdiagnosed and mistreated conditions, as well.  Fortunately, it is easily reversible by someone who knows how to identify and fix it!

Fix:  If you constantly find you are weak and tight, find an Integrative Diagnosis provider.  They are certified to find and fix adhesion.  This gets you back to moving properly and out of pain faster than anything else out there.  To find a provider, click here.

After fixing adhesion, dynamic stretching, moving while stretching, will keep your body moving properly and stay healthier longer!

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If you live in the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area and find yourself using one or more of these methods to get out of pain, you deserve better answers and solutions to your problem!  We are the only full body certified Integrative Diagnosis providers in the state!  Call us today at 319-423-0925 or fill out an appointment request on this page.

Thanks for reading!

Cortisone: Short Term Gain For Long Term Pain

Although the 1949 discovery of cortisone was considered a medical landmark and breakthrough, there has NEVER been a study to prove the long term benefit to the injections.  While cortisone does do a fantastic job at eliminating inflammation, the presence of inflammation also signals other dysfunction in the body that MUST be fixed before even considering cortisone injections as options!  Otherwise, the effectiveness of cortisone is negligible and often detrimental.

Studies have proven time and time again that while most cortisone injections provide pain relief – often up to 3 to 6 months – patient clinical outcomes after a year are WORSE than those that did absolutely NOTHING!  Think about that for a second…..people who did NOTHING for a year were actually better off than the patients trying to fix themselves!  This is alarming and anyone who has been recommended a cortisone shot as a first line option for treatment prior to seeing a musculoskeletal expert NEEDS to seek a second opinion.

So why is this?

Cortisone overrides the pain response.  This allows you to do the things you want to do pain free.  While this sounds nice, pain is a signal something is wrong – a sign of dysfunction and something MUST be fixed.  Since the pain signal is essentially shut off, the body builds more dysfunction and problems.  When the cortisone wears off – the body is left in a WORSE condition!

I could go on about cortisone and how worthless it is, but Ill save you 🙂  If you would like to see the research for yourself on this subject, feel free to look here ===> Cortisone: Short Term Gain For Long Term Pain?

I have written about this subject before, including what you should do if you have already received a cortisone injection.  You can read the article on our website here ====>  So You Got A Cortisone Shot: Now What?

If you or someone you know is thinking about getting a cortisone injection, I urge you to consider our office and finding the right SOLUTION to your problem!  Feel free to call us at our office at 319-423-0925 or fill out an appointment request on this page.  If you know someone that you think could benefit from this information, PLEASE forward this on!

As always, thanks for reading!

So You Got A Cortisone Shot!….Now What?

So you got a cortisone shot.  Now what?

At least that’s the question you should ask yourself.  You see, cortisone works great at eliminating inflammation – that’s the point of the injection – but inflammation is just the result of an underlying problem.  Cortisone does nothing to fix that!  The result, as some of you may know, is having to go back multiple times for more the cortisone just to get relief.

What you may not be hearing is that while cortisone may be of benefit in pain relief in the short term, studies are now showing that patients have a worse clinical outcome when compared to patients that did absolutely nothing for their pain and injury over the course of a year.  That should be startling information for those out there that have had a cortisone injection.

If you would like to see more on this information click here.

If you are someone who is debating getting a cortisone injection, or have already had one or several, there are some very important questions that you should answer.

The most important thing being – “What is your diagnosis?”  This should be a tissue-specific diagnosis!  Tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, and tendonitis are NOT good enough!

The next question should be, “What are you trying to accomplish by getting the injection?”  Are you looking for pain relief, or are you looking for a permanent fix?”

If you have been diagnosed with tendinitis, this may seem like a simple solution, but being that a LARGE majority of tendinitis cases are NOT inflammatory and instead degenerative, cortisone will actually make this worse, as referenced here.

This brings us back to our original question – “What is your tissue-specific diagnosis?”

If you are debating another shot, “How long do you think this one will last?

If it’s your first, the average cortisone injection will provide 6-12 week’s worth of relief.  Some are lucky enough to get more relief than that.  People who already have had one, should expect similar results as before or less.

The last question to ask yourself should be, “What do you do after this shot wears off?”

If there was a tissue-specific diagnosis, there should already be a plan in place.  If there was no plan in place it’s time to get one!  You deserve better answers, you deserve better solutions!

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At Thrive Spine and Sport, we answer your first question!  Your body does not care what technique or treatment the provider is trained in.  It simply cares, what it needs to fix the problem!  If what your body needs is not a treatment we perform, we will refer you to where you need to be.

Thrive Spine and Sport specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of overuse and sport injuries, specifically the diagnosis and treatment of adhesion.  Adhesion is one of the most common, most misdiagnosed condition in the body causing pain, inflammation, and restricted range of motion.  Most of our patients have tried numerous providers before finding relief in our office.  If you or someone you know is currently struggling with pain, we invite you to call our office to get answers to your problem today at 319-423-0925!

Before You Get A Cortisone Shot: What You Should Know

Cortisone.  We have all heard the name.  Some of you probably know someone who has been treated with it – It may have been you.  But what is cortisone and what does it actually do?  Could cortisone actually make things worse? Let’s dive in and find out.

The emergence of cortisone started in the late 1940’s and it was immediately heralded as the safest and most reliable means to treat pain and inflammation.  Cortisone shots very quickly became the standard for overuse injuries, like “Tennis Elbow,” Achilles “Tendonitis,” “Bicep Tendonitis” and “Plantar Fasciitis.” Cortisone remains the standard today.

Cortisone, closely related to cortisol and also produced naturally in the body by the adrenal glands in response to stress, acts to suppress the immune system resulting in reduction of inflammation, pain, and swelling at the site of injury.  Cortisone is primarily used in the short term and typical results provide several weeks to months of relief.  Sounds good, right?

Not so fast.  A recently published review examined the results of several randomized trials, involving thousands of participants with overuse injuries.  These studies did find that, in the short term, cortisone did work to relieve pain better when compared to doing nothing (no shock there) or physical therapy. But what the review also states is that when the same participants were reexamined 6 and 12 months later, not only did they have a LOWER rate of recovery than the other test group, they also had a significantly HIGHER chance of RELAPSE!

So why is this? Cortisone shots are used for the treatment of INFLAMMATION!  Overuse injuries do not involve INFLAMMATION!  More research is now showing overuse injuries (“Tennis Elbow,” “Golfer’s Elbow,” “Achilles Tendonitis,” “Plantar Fasciitis,” etc.) to be DEGENERATIVE!  That means that the tendons of the involved structures actually begin to fray with overuse.

But why does cortisone work in the short term then?  Cortisone has an undeniable effect on the nervous system.  Cortisone increases the body’s pain threshold, increasing it in the short term.  This is why you no longer have pain and can return to regular activity.  But this is also why the pain returns after the cortisone wears off! Pain is a protective mechanism of the body.  Pain is the body’s way of telling you to stop doing what you are doing.  When pain is overridden, the degeneration of the overuse injuries continues to occur leaving you worse off than when you started.

So what should you do?  With any degenerative injuries, the tendons and other soft tissues must be restored.  The best way to do this is by getting a proper diagnosis!  Far too often these injuries are misdiagnosed.

Once a proper diagnosis has been established, you can begin the right treatment for your problem.  Most often this treatment includes, manual therapy and at-home exercises.  Bracing and load management are possible options for those responding to care slower than usual. Cortisone injections should be the LAST place to start with treatment!

At Thrive Spine and Sport, we pick up where others have failed.  If you have been debating on whether or not to get a cortisone injection, and you live in the Cedar Rapids or surrounding areas, I invite you to fill out the appointment request on this page or call our office today at 319-423-0925 and get to the bottom of your pain!  If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Dr. Cody Scharf at dr.cody@thrivespineandsport.com.

 

Thanks for reading!