Tennis elbow pain – What stage are you in?

August 3, 2009 by  
Filed under tennis elbow

tennis-elbow-pain Tennis elbow usually progresses through a number of stages beginning with dull pain, arm stiffness, tingling and numbness in the upper arm.

In the early stages, it is common for tennis elbow sufferers to believe that the pain and numbness are due to aging or maybe you just accidentally bumped your arm or had caused some trauma to it resulting in poor blood circulation.

Early stages: The first signs of tennis elbow pain would typically involve a small, dull pain on the outer part of your elbow. It’s not uncommon for elbow sufferers not to experience any direct elbow pain, until you massage, touch or accidentally bump your elbow. If and when you decide to get the pain in your elbow checked out by your doctor he/she may touch or massage your elbow to see what degree of pain you are suffering from.

Many of the common symptoms of early stage tennis elbow usually continue on for several weeks or months, without any form of treatment. Only a small fraction of tennis elbow sufferers are lucky enough to recover at this stage with treatment.

Symptoms at this early stage may include a weakening grip and elbow pain while performing simple tasks such as using a knife to cut up food, gripping and carrying a briefcase or simply using a paint brush, sweeping with a broom or using a shovel. If you avoid these simple tasks, which unfortunately most people can’t, your condition may improve but will most likely not heal.

When left untreated, your elbow pain sensitivity increases very quickly, for longer periods of time in the initial stages. The pain can be so intense that it could affect and disturb your night sleep and interfere with your work efficiency.

As you continue to ignore and brush off this elbow pain or mask it by consuming anti-inflammatories, your tennis elbow symptoms will only get worse to a point where you will be in constant and continuous pain, both during the day and night and even while sleeping(if you are able too).

It’s not uncommon to experience an extremely stiff arm when you wake in the morning and you are immediately in pain. Your daily activities and simple chores are not affected to the point that you can only carry out very light tasks and you find yourself becoming more dependent on others.

When not ignored and acknowledged and treated in the early stages, you stand a better chance of a full recovery from tennis elbow. As it will drastically reduce your risk of developing a permanent disability.

Later stages: In the later stages of tennis elbow, your elbow tendons and muscles deteriorate to the point where you may start to build up and develop scar tissue to the extent that the only way to get rid of the scar tissue would be through invasive tennis elbow surgery, which has a very low success rate with long recovery times.

Again in later stages you experience great pain with the slightest effort such as opening a bottle, shaking hands with someone, turning a doorknob, or even gripping your coffee mug. Tennis elbow can be difficult to treat in the later stages; so all care should be taken to recover from it early on.

More symptoms of tennis elbow at this stage include upper forearm aches and pain, stiffness in the elbow joints, tightness of the forearm muscles, grip weakness, clumsiness while holding things, swelling and inflammation of the elbow and upper forearm, tingling and numbness, etc.

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113 Responses to “Tennis elbow pain – What stage are you in?”

  1. machelle watts on September 20th, 2012 7:12 pm

    i have had this for like 4 months and my god does it hurt plus my back and neck pains i have the tennis elbow on both arms and its so swelling my right is bigger then my left,and the sucky thing is i dont have insurance it ended at first of the month what do i do …please help

  2. percy on September 27th, 2012 8:54 pm

    i am doing the things mentioned by you and am getting relief
    Also i thing that as my tennis elbow pain is in its initial stage hence i would get out of it soon
    would like to continue these exercises life long

    Thanks

  3. Doyice on February 24th, 2013 2:12 pm

    The pain came on suddenly, probably caused by using weight machines. I tried rest, ibupropin without help, got a cortisone shot which helped for a month or so, started back on weight machines, and pain quickly returned.

    I googles exercises, went to your site, tried a couple of exercises you sent and some more. Pain is gone, still doing exercises, a little discomfort during exercises, but no pain otherwise.

  4. Josh Jones on April 22nd, 2013 11:04 am

    I just want to make sure tennis elbow is what I have before I buy the book.. I’m right handed but the pain is in my left elbow. It started about 4-5you months ago. Pain is on the little bone on the outside of my elbow just above my elbow bone. The small bone is very very tender to the touch and it is hard and 3 times the size of the bone in my right arm. When I squeeze the pain stays only on that bone, but when I wake up in the morning my elbow all the way down my forearm is very tight to the point it takes 10you minutes or so before I can straighten it out all the way.. weird thing is when I lift weights it hurts for the first few sets then it eases up alot. Reverse curls and wrist curls are very painful. Regular curls and wrist curls are no problem.I am a new police officer and really want this gone please help…I also have seen a chiropractor and did adjustments, ultrasound, and cold laser but it didn’t do much good. He seemed to think it was a real bad case of tennis elbow. The large hardness of my bone is really what has me worried. Thanks for any information you can give me.

  5. tenniselbowtips on April 23rd, 2013 1:45 am

    Hi Josh,

    Thanks for the comment.

    It sounds like you have tennis elbow. Especially when you say that your arm is extremely stiff in the morning. That is a tell tale sign of tennis elbow. Basically what happens is that when you are sleeping, your forearm muscles are pulled tight as the extensor tendon is trying to repair and heal the tear.

    Also the tenderness on the outside of your elbow is also a common symptom of tennis elbow. I bet if you were to use a screwdriver, you would be in severe pain. Sounds like you have many of the classic signs.

    All my best
    Geoff

  6. Jade on June 8th, 2013 4:16 pm

    I have has tennis elbow for about 7 months now I’m in my late stages were I have has the cortisione injection ,the tablets, the elbow clasp and the cream none of it was working on me and now I’m starting physio theroapy! Surprisingly you would think I’m in my 40’s but I’m 17. I do photography at college and ever since I had my injection my hands have been very shakey! All I want is the operation so I know it’s done and other with! And it’s a few days of recovery but never again! The pains getting hard to bare! But time can only tell.

  7. Robert Roberts on June 9th, 2013 7:36 am

    I tried icing my elbow but it caused more swelling. My physio couldn’t figure it out. My family doc was equally mystified. He had tennis elbow years ago a iced a lot which helped him.

    Have you or anyone in this group had this reaction where icing increased swelling???

  8. Michelle Paris on October 9th, 2013 7:24 pm

    I noticed pain in my left elbow the day after I cleaned my refrigerator and stove. I couldn’t figure out why since I am a right handed person. Then I realized sometime back I was trying to use 10lbs dumbbells at the gym and realized that is probably what triggered it. Anyway I tried acupuncture and that has lessened the pain but I still get it. I usually notice it more in the evenings and the mornings. I think I’m in the early stages at this point. I don’t get bothered by it when I go to sleep(I hope I never do). I just want to get rid of it. I work with a trainer 4 times a month and I want to be able to do upper body workouts but I also don’t want to make it worse.

  9. Jeff on December 11th, 2013 6:10 am

    Hi, pain is “Total”. Cannot even pick up a carton of milk with my right arm. However am doing your stretching exercises for two days now. Will get back with the results.

  10. Jeff on December 11th, 2013 6:12 am

    Just wondering if anyone else has the same symptoms as myself. Started out with my elbow aching, dull pain, etc. Now, the pain seems to be going all the way up to my shoulder. Any comments ?

  11. Sohini on January 12th, 2014 11:05 am

    Hi Geoff,

    I have had a bad time since november, with constant pain & I was unable to pick up even a bottle of water. Thanks to your tips, feeling better now. I never thought that such simple exercises would do wonders. Thanks a lot!

  12. Carey on March 21st, 2014 6:58 pm

    I have had 3 cortisone injections (the last one on March 7 and mild discomfort remains) and the pain returns about 3 months after each one. My symptoms are: pain when pressing down with my fingers, opening doors, holding coffee cups and glasses, can’t straight arm out all the way, pain at night, swelling in forearm and hand, pain in back of hand and when shaking hands. I use ice on a regular basis as well as OTC anti-inflammatory meds. Dr. says if pain persists, I will need an MRI to check the damage (and I know what is next if he sees something). I have tried some exercises and the pain immediately comes back very intensely. I don’t play sports. I got it from my work (I’m a dentist), so I can’t really “stop doing what causes it” and I don’t want to have to have surgery. As I am typing this message, it really is bothering me. Help!

  13. tony on April 9th, 2014 10:18 am

    lots of pain and not much strength.

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