How does osteopathy help with tennis elbow?

How does Osteopathy help with Tennis Elbow? Causing pain while lifting a pen to write, painting with a brush, or using any hand tool? Then you could be having Tennis elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis).


Confusion may arise among people hearing the term ‘tennis elbow, as it is limited to people playing tennis or not, but it is not like that. Anybody who is indulging in activities that cause continuous and repetitive stress of the muscles of the forearm may develop elbow pain of tennis elbow or golfers elbow.


Pain and tenderness is usually felt on the outside of your dominant arm elbow and into the upper forearm


Tennis elbow or Lateral Epicondylitis is the condition that affects the outside of the elbow.  Tennis elbow is a painful condition affecting the outside part of the elbow. This area is called the lateral epicondyle and so the medical term for this condition is lateral epicondylitis. 


The tennis players backhand swing can cause a strain of the tendons and muscles of the elbow, and hence the name. But any activity, repeatedly doing using the forearm muscles may lead to the disease condition.


Pain generally runs above from outside of the elbow, down the back of the forearm. The onset of the disease is gradual, i.e. pain may not be felt in the initial stages. But as it progresses, it would be strenuous to do simple tasks using the forearm. 

Tennis elbow causes

  • The major cause leading to Tennis elbow is overuse (repetitive strain and contraction) of muscles of the back of the forearm or elbow joint.
  • Sport technique inappropriately used
  • Inappropriate or excessive activities
  • Postural changes, mainly poor posture
  • Rehabilitation carried out inadequately after an elbow injury
  • Weakness of the muscles
  • Injury to the neck or upper back
  • Warm-ups inadequately taken
  • Nerves supplying elbow getting injured
  • Tightness of the joints of the neck, upper back, wrist, elbow, etc.
  • Tennis elbow can also be caused by poor posture/biomechanics of the whole arm, shoulder and neck.

Tennis elbow symptoms

  • Pain, which may vary from moderate to severe -felt in the elbow, may extend to the forearm or the fingers (elevate on activity and during work)
  • Pain occurring during the movement of the wrist
  • Pain over arms, while doing simple day to day activities
  • Pain felt while lifting, twisting, and gripping objects.
  • Tenderness occurring on the outside of the arm.


Symptoms may subside by themselves, by taking rest, ceasing all activities that might cause pain. But it may take about 6 months to 2 years for the complete clear up and full recovery. 


Proper therapies adopted at proper times may hasten the recovery process that could ease the pain for enhancement of better living.

Golfer performs a golf shot from the fairway.

Tennis elbow management options

How Osteopathy can help treat tennis elbow

Osteopathy is a holistic treatment practice that uses simple massage of soft tissues and manipulation techniques for the treatment of disease conditions. These manipulative techniques can be used for the treatment of tennis elbow also!


Widely used techniques include

  • Massage 
  • Manipulation
  • Stretching
  • Muscle energy techniques
  • Exercise 

Benefits of Osteopathic treatment

  • Enhances fast healing of the disease
  • Undertakes therapies without the use of drugs
  • No need for surgery to be undergone by the patient
  • Reduces the recurrence rate of the condition
  • Ensures optimal outcome


Early detection and diagnosis of any condition may hasten the recovery process, rather than waiting on the treatment which may bring difficult recovery. Seeing our Osteopaths may help you in this respect, as we advocate clinical reasoning.


Our Osteopaths are trained in “differential diagnosis” (distinguishing disease from the other), taking a complete case history and listen to the complaints the patient presents, and taking adequate steps to tackle the disease and symptoms.

Our specialties

As soon as a patient with tennis elbow approaches us, a complete case history will be taken by our Osteopath in the first session itself followed by a detailed physical examination that may help diagnose and to rule out other conditions which may also cause pain in the forearm such as bursitis, arthritis, and radial tunnel syndrome, conditions affecting the neck, shoulder, wrist, etc.


Causes that aided the condition would be given emphasis. The patient would be asked to do simple tests that involve his arm and forearm, including direct snd indirect techniques that make stimulation of tissue by compressing and relaxing the forearm muscles to reduce pain, which could help the practitioner to make a plan to treat the condition effectively and advice on lifestyle changes to be made to aid the recovery would be taught in detail.


Treatment would differ from patient to patient. The body constitution, age ( usually affects person between 40-60 years of age, but can be found in young athletes too), symptoms, the condition (severity of pain) mainly determines the duration of treatment.


To reduce pain, ice application over the injured area is done along with slowly stretching the forearm and elbow that may reduce symptoms, considering the musculoskeletal framework, i.e., how the structures around the neck, elbow, and wrist move. Precaution should be taken, not to put extra pressure over the injured arm while doing the stretching.


In addition to this, successive sessions would be dealt with methods or actions that would improve your standard of living and the person as a whole, including postural advice, lifestyle modifications, medications if necessary, and different sport adaptations, supports, and splints. Also, exercises and stretches would be advised that would help recovery by managing the pain.


Thus, in short, treatment modality followed by our Osteopaths on tennis elbow:

  • Soft tissue massage
  • Exercises ( to enhance strength, range of movement, and flexibility)
  • Exercise (active assistive, active and resistive)
  • Mobilization of joints
  • Stretching
  • Ice treatment
  • Heat treatment
  • Dry needling
  • Taping
  • Training to enhance power and strength of body
  • Anti-inflammatory advice
  • Using tennis elbow brace


We work for your well-being, tell your symptoms, we would find you the right treatment option…