Construction Workers Fail Proof Guide for Dealing with Tennis Elbow
Is your elbow pain sometimes so bad that you can’t even grip a hammer or hold your hot cup of coffee with confidence?
If this sounds like you, then don’t worry I’ll explain what this all means but more importantly, steps you can take right now to stop your elbow discomfort and even continue with your construction work or any other manual labour job.
The pain that you are experiencing in your elbow is called tennis elbow.
No you don’t have to play tennis to get tennis elbow as you have already discovered.
It’s simply the name used to identify this condition.
The exact location of a tennis elbow injury is at the lateral epicondyle of your elbow.
It’s where you lateral extensor tendon attaches to your arm bone.
It affects pretty much anyone who uses their arm on a daily basis who performs repetitive tasks.
For example, most construction workers use a hammer.
The repetitive gripping, squeezing and slamming of the hammer causes strain, wear and tear on these forearm extensor muscles and tendons.
Overtime, the strain becomes too much and mini tears develop in the extensor tendon.
The larger the tear, the greater the pain!
If you are using a hammer day in and day out, here are some things to keep in mind.
Taking quick 5 minute breaks every hour is a must. This gives your elbow much needed relief from the shock and constant impact of using your hammer.
Secondly, if it’s possible jump around from job to job.
Take a break from using your hammer or other tools and seek out other jobs that need to be done on site, especially if your elbow is really hurting.
A third thing to consider is to switch hands. Use your left hand to do some work if your right elbow is affected.
Even just 5 minutes a day can do wonders to help decrease the pain in your elbow.
Examine your tools and equipment!
I don’t care if you’ve had your hammer for 25 years and it has sentimental value.
Technology changes and for the most part it can help not only eliminate your chance of injury but make you more efficient with your job.
It is possible that the hammer or tool that you are using is too big or small for you.
If the hammer on your handle is too small for your hand, you will be over gripping – this is not good.
If the hammer handle is too big, then you need to squeeze harder to grip and hold it, again not good.
Did you know that the best hammer on the market today is one which is made of titanium?
If you run out to your local hardware store and purchase a titanium hammer, you will be doing yourself a huge favour because
they have twice the power of a normal steel hammer.
What has been proven is that a titanium hammer sends 97 percent of your swing energy to the object you are striking compared to only 70 percent using a steel hammer.
Not only will you be able to drive a nail in faster with a titanium hammer but it also will absorb the shock 10 times greater than that of your steel hammer!
As a result you will have less pain and get the job done much quicker.
Imagine how great you will feel when you are less tired at the end of your working day and you can go out and do the things you want without having to worry about a bum elbow.
What about your technique?
You should never force your hammer. Let the weight of your hammer drive each nail home or tear apart objects.
Always hold and grip your hammer at the bottom of the handle.
This is the smart way to let gravity do all the work instead of you having to force the hammer.
When purchasing a new hammer, select one which has an inlayed rubber grip.
This will help your grip and cut down on fatigue.
What about elbow pain when using power tools?
The best tip is to keep the tool in as close to your body as possible.
Otherwise if you are extending your arms, this puts way too much strain on your forearm muscles and tendons.
When held in close to your body, you can incorporate other muscles to help steady and support the power tool.
Is it any better to use a nail gun versus a traditional hammer?
While using a nail gun gives you an advantage when it comes to speed, they can get quite heavy as the day goes on.
This will require a tighter grip as your forearm muscles and extensors weaken.
Tips for pain free day on the construction worksite
As soon as your bed hit the floor in the morning, head to the freezer for some ice.
Wrap the ice in a tea towel and apply it to your elbow for 10 mins.
Pack some ice in a cooler and head out to the site.
Apply ice again at lunch time for 10 mins.
When you get home in the evening after a long day, apply heat for 10 mins.
Seek out medical advice.
Only your Doctor can give you a Professional diagnosis for tennis elbow.
But you should be warned that if you are offered cortisone injections, I recommend you avoid them completely.
Sure they are effective in the short term but your elbow pain will return within 6 weeks and in most cases, way worse than before the injections.
A renown study by the Lancet discovered that tennis elbow patients who were injected with cortisone were worse off than before the shots.
Where to go from here?
You can skip the expensive trips to your Doctors, Physio, cortisone shots or any other types of traditional treatments and recover at home.
Yes there is an easy-to-follow, home treatment system for tennis elbow that only requires 5 minutes of your time every other day.