Tennis elbow can be a pesky condition that regularly derails the best of athletes. Thankfully, heat and cold therapy treatments are effective short-term solution in battling the discomforts it causes! Find out how to use heat or cold packs when suffering from tennis elbow and experience reduced pain, stiffness, and swelling.
How Heat and Cold Therapy Helps
So many different things can cause the tennis elbow, and tendon strain of the extrinsic muscles of the elbow is often due to repetitive motion. This repetitive motion often occurs during sports such as golf and tennis that require swinging the arm back and forth over time. Additionally, it could happen by requiring the hand and wrist to be fixed for long periods. Muscle strain can occur quickly when one doesn't use proper technique with heavy objects.
The pain and soreness associated with this condition can make daily activities difficult, but it doesn't have to be that way for long periods. With suitable treatment options, individuals can get back to doing these sports and hobbies they love so much with ease.
Cold therapy pack is one option some people prefer to use because it allows them to access necessary medications or treatments without traveling far from their homes.
On the other hand, Sacksythyme's Hot therapy relief heating pad may be more suitable for others who prefer higher comfort levels while experiencing the same positive results in mitigating pain.
Cold Therapy for Tennis Elbow
Are you finding a quick, cost-efficient solution for your elbow pain? Try some cold therapy.
The pain caused by the tennis elbow can be significantly reduced with daily cold therapy applications. In addition, the treatment option is an affordable, reliable way to manage swelling during healing.
How Does Cold Therapy Work?
The benefits of cold therapy are straightforward. A cold therapy pack placed on an injury site constricts the blood flow in that area and causes a healing numbness to take over, relieving pain and swelling. There are three stages in putting a cold pack on injured body parts: aching, burning, and fully cold. Please ensure you get to the third stage before removing the cold, but don't keep it on too long after (15 to 20 minutes) to prevent frostbite and unnecessary discomfort.
When to Use Cold Therapy
Cold therapy is an excellent option for aggravating or addressing a new injury. It can control your elbow pain and swelling symptoms to manage your daily activities better. Apply it every few hours for up to 20 minutes immediately after an injury or with the onset of new pain. You can also use it preventively after a workout or elbow treatment that you know might cause some soreness later or even before an event where you'll be using your elbows a lot over several days!
Ways to Apply Cold Therapy
There are numerous methods of applying cold therapy. These include using a cold pack, an ice massage from a frozen cup, or a compression sleeve with ice. If you are using a cold pack, make sure it is cold to provide adequate pain relief. Wrapping it in a thick towel or taking a warm bath will not get you the relief you want.
Heat Therapy for Tennis Elbow
Applying heat to a sore elbow can be a great way to boost recovery.
How Does Heat Therapy Work?
In cases of elbow stiffness and pain, applying heat can be helpful. Applying ample heat to the affected area causes local blood vessels to dilate, allowing more circulation for healing and softening the muscle tissue.
When to Use Heat Therapy
Heat is the key to an easier, relaxing time for your tendons and muscles. People who do a lot of repetitive activities throughout the day, like developers, can benefit from using heat to treat soreness. Others can use it to speed up recovery after intense sports or exercise. Exercising without resting can cause aches and pains in your elbow, but constant heat will relieve you whenever you want it!
Ways to Apply Heat Therapy
There are upwards of five or six different ways to apply heat directly on the part of your body that is injured or sore. These include using a herbal heating pad or hot water bottle; you can use a whirlpool bath if you prefer more intense heat, you can take a hot shower for around six minutes (don't get too cold at the start), and another option, infrared therapy which uses deep heating on specific parts of your arm muscles.
If you have yet to decide which would work best for you in pain management, then moist heat is the way to go since it's most effective for therapeutic purposes on large muscle groups.
Is Heat or Cold therapy Better For Your Tennis Elbow?
Suppose you believe or were informed that you suffer from tennis elbow. The physician might recommend heat or cold therapy on your tennis elbow to ease the pain. They may also suggest pain medications and NSAIDs till the pain eases. Heat and cold are often used to treat symptoms of this condition.
Many doctors suggest using a cold pack for tennis elbow immediately when the first signs of pain appear. Then, apply a cold pack to alleviate the pain and inflammation caused by the tennis elbow. This inflammation puts pressure on the nerves, which traverse your forearm.
The doctor might suggest using cold packs on elbows for 10 minutes. This should be done every 3-4 hours throughout the day. Do not directly expose the freezing skin temperatures using a thin cloth, plastic bag, or ice pad.
The use of heat can give long-term relief and healing from the discomfort of tennis elbow. In addition, applying heat to your tennis elbow can increase blood flow into this region. The heat relaxes and increases the size of the muscles around your elbow, which increases blood flow.
The application of heat is also recommended for stretching and exercising tennis elbow. The increased flow of blood into the elbow area will allow the full utilization of your muscles to stretch and aid in healing. In addition, the increased blood flow will accelerate the healing process and eases elbow pain more quickly.
It is normal for doctors to suggest both cold and heat for treating tennis elbow. The doctor may recommend using the warmth in between applying a cold pack. Using the heating pad for no more than 10 to 15 mins every day is recommended. Using a heating pad for too long can often increase the chance of injury to the skin and muscles.
When to Avoid Heat and Cold Therapy
Contraindications for heat or cold therapy include:
- Cold or heat sensitivity
- Multiple Sclerosis (heat)
- Open wounds
- High blood pressure
- Poor sensation
- Deep vein thrombosis (blood clot)
- Vascular (circulatory) compromise
- Unmanaged heart disease
Typically, alternating between heat and cold therapy is optimal for a tennis elbow injury outside of these issues. Again, it is because overuse-type injuries (tendinitis of elbow muscles in this case) respond well to both types of treatment.
We recommend consulting your doctor on the subject or one specializing in the realm.
Taking Precautions with Heat or Cold Therapy
If you need help determining which options are right or best for you, seek advice from a sports medicine professional or physical therapist. They can educate and advise you on what home treatment options are the safest and most beneficial. When using heat or cold therapy at home, always be aware of your skin's sensations and remove either product if they cause any associated frostbite or overheating sensations. There is often a big difference between discomfort and causing damage to muscles! In addition, incorporating other recovery options will help speed up the healing process!