Tennis Elbow? How did I get it? How do I get rid of it?

One morning about 3 weeks ago I woke up and my elbow hurt. I have fibromyalgia and thought nothing of it. I wake up everyday with a new pain.

The pain persisted for about a week and a half and got progressively worse. I went to my doctor and he said it’s tennis elbow.

I don’t play tennis, I don’t use a screwdriver all the time. so how did I get this? Two things come to mind…I type a lot. Could this cause/contribute to it? And the way I sleep. I sleep on my side with my arm under my head – arm kinda twisted. This could possibly pull the tendons – right?

I ask, cause if it’s this, then I need to find a new way to sleep.

Also – what else do you recommend for getting over it? It’s gotten ridiculous. I threw my shoe and was in horrible pain. I can’t bend it, straighten it, lean on it, or use it to lift anything.

To The Mom: That’s just it. I don’t do ANYTHING repetitive other than type. I don’t work out, don’t work, If you saw the house, you’d know it isn’t from cleaning too much (LOL). All I can think of is the way I sleep. The arm is twisted which could pull the muscles. (and i get why it’d be called washerwoman – the old washboard – repetitive motion)

I’ve been racking my brain for 3 weeks now and I don’t do anything that would cause this other than possibly typing or sleeping.

Anyway…i’ll try the ice and anti-inflamatories. How long should I wait before going back if no improvement?

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  1. meowzie, 16 February, 2010

    Despite what people are telling you, it is common to get tennis and/or golfer’s elbow without overusing it or with repetitive motion. Those are ways that people commonly get it, healthy people without the fibromyalgia.

    However people like you and me with fibromyalgia can and do get it for no apparent reason. 🙁 Another joy compliments of fibro.

    Tennis elbow is inflammation of the tendon that runs down your elbow to your hand on the outer side of your elbow.

    The best treatment for it is Rest, ice, an elbow splint and elevation above your heart. You may want to try an anti inflammatory like Advil or Ibuprofen too. You can purchase a tennis elbow splint at almost any drug store, Walmart, or Target. They are in the Pharmacy area near the heating pads. The box will have directions on how to use it properly.

    The way you sleep can certainly be contributing to the problem and can also cause ulnar nerve entrapment as well. So I highly suggest that you find a way to sleep that does not entail bending your arm.

    My concern is that you have been having severe pain for so long and it is not getting better. I have had tennis and golfer’s elbow in both arms for years and was able to control it using the methods I described above. However after I had surgery in March on my shoulder my golfer’s elbow acted up on that arm so severely that I couldn’t do anything without screaming pain. I had to have hand therapy on it and now it is better.

    I highly recommend asking your doctor for a referral to an Orthopedic doctor. An orthopedic doctor can give you a cortisone shot to calm it down and then if still needed send you to hand therapy where they usually do ultrasound treatment on it and work with you on exercises to slowly and pain free increase range of motion and then strengthening.

    I know your pain and know what it is like to have fibro and have pain everyday. However this is something that really needs to be taken care of and soon. I know the frustration with all of it too.

    Good luck and take care and most importantly; know that you are NOT alone!


    PS: Feel free to email me if you like!

  2. Laura, 16 February, 2010

    Tennis elbow is caused by overuse and repetitive motions. Try not to use it that much and it should get better. A lot of times people by a brace that can help make it feel better when you are using it. You can buy them at Walmart and they are not expensive.

  3. The mom, 16 February, 2010

    Tennis elbow is just one name for the condition. Lateral epicondylitis been called washerwoman’s elbow for that matter. It’s an overuse/abuse injury usually caused by poor technique with a tennis backhand stroke- so anything using the same motion will do the trick. I’ve seen it caused by weaving (a friend), raking leaves and even painting a house. It’s caused by repeated contraction of the forearm muscles that you use to straighten and raise your hand and wrist. The repeated motions and stress to the tissue may result in inflammation or a series of tiny tears in the tendons that attach the forearm muscles to the bone at the outside of your elbow. If you are in the habit of throwing things like the shoe- that may have done it. Usually rest of the elbow joint and wrist, along with anti-inflammatory drugs like Motrin or Aleve and ice will help a lot. Plus you need to figure out what you are doing to set it off. Anything you do with the lower arm that involves the wrist and elbow is suspect- not just tennis- and you may benefit from a wrist and elbow supports. Sometimes the compression of those feels good as well. In extreme cases there is a surgery to repair tears- but that’s rarely called for unless you are a professional tennis player. For now, just try the ice and anti-inflammatory drugs- and work out what kind of repetitive motion you are doing with that arm. Because if you don’t figure out what is causing it, it will just happen again like as not.

  4. a jaded angel, 16 February, 2010

    Go to Walgreens. They have ice packs that have velcro straps attached so you can wrap it around your elbow. Stay away from red meats and stick to fish or chicken breasts. (there is an amino acid in red meats that triggers inflamation). Eat ground flaxseed with skim milk. For supplements, I recommend horsetail extract or powder (you can get it at health food stores). Its very helpful for tendon recovery. Also, for your fibromyalgia, I take the supplement Corvalen and it helps with my muscles aches (you can google it, they have an online store). More me, Aleve worked best when I had tendonitis. Hope all this info has helped. Best of luck to you.

  5. Bilguun G, 16 February, 2010

    Looks like you got some good answers above me. Here is my tip for you:

    Another way to get rid of forearm pain and tennis elbow is to wear Elbow Braces.

    Although there are so many good elbow braces out there – as far as quality, comfort, and prices are considered – Serola’s Gel Arc Elbow Brace is the best one for forearm pain. I’d say it was well worth my $20 investment, and I highly recommend this product to others. Couple years ago, I used to type a lot in front of a PC and would get Carpal Tunnel. Then, I heard about this elbow brace made by Serola Biomechanics from a co-worker. Since I started wearing the elbow brace, I never had any forearm pains. It worked for me!

    Visit the manufacturer’s website for more info, in fact, you can directly buy from them at:

    Hope it helps, and good luck to you!

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