I know you’re going to try to work through the pain. Everyone does. You’ll keep lifting the weight or playing tennis or shaking hands. You’ve heard me rail against this hardheadedness in the past. It doesn’t work. Some of you only try to work through it for a week or two or three. But many of you persevere for months! And then you have this expectation that your physician should make it go away in a day or two. Maybe you see me on Wednesday and would like to be able to golf in a tournament on Saturday. Some of you saw an orthopod for this several years ago and got a shot. You got better and now you want a repeat. Or your neighbor saw someone and got cured with one shot.
Look, I’m going to try to help you out, but I can tell you that the 24 hour cure is the rare exception. It’s rare to get well and stay well after a single shot. This is another one of those conditions which much be coddled along.
You have to go back to my general principles of treating adult repetitive strain disorders. You must rest it. You must decrease the inflammation. And you must modify your activities. Somewhere in there is a brace or two, some physical therapy and maybe a shot or two. But if you learn from my personal experiences, I think you can nip these adult repetitive strain disorders in the bud…early.
You’ve got to recognize that you have a repetitive strain disorder. Be prepared if you’re over 35. All of a sudden there is a pain. In this case it’s on the outside of your elbow. Think about what you were doing today or yesterday or even a few days ago. Think of some new activity you’ve been doing. Were you travelling; lifting luggage into the overhead bin? Did you just start some new exercise program? Do you remember reaching for something and feeling a little strain over on the outside of your elbow? This could be the start of something new…and something that’s really going to mess up your game. The faster you address it, the more likely you are to get rid of it.
I had tennis elbow once…for one day! I was reaching for something heavy and when I picked it up I felt the slightest little pull along the outside of my elbow. Ha! I knew immediately that I had just strained the extensor wad of muscles which attach to that lateral epicondyle. I thought, “This is how tennis elbow starts.” But then I thought…”Hey I don’t play tennis.” Not really. You didn’t fall for that one.
I went right away and strapped an ice pack to my elbow. I happen to have a wrist brace, so I put that on so I wouldn’t use my hand to lift anything for the rest of the day. I downed a couple of Aleves, and just for kicks, I took a couple more the next morning after breakfast. And I had no more pain after that. I was cautious over the next week, to avoid heavy lifting with that arm, but soon it passed into memory and I have never experienced it since.
This is how it should go for all repetitive strain disorders, but this one is a particularly buggerish one. It leaves you with this useless arm and is so frustrating to have and to take care of. Next I’m going to give you some specific examples of how to modify activities in order to heal this condition. This will be what works.