If you are a working mum who uses a computer or keyboard for hours at work, you may have had a pain in the outer elbow, which may or may not radiate down to the forearm and hand. This is the tennis elbow pain. One of the commonly asked question with tennis elbow is the role of injections in its treatment. In this blog, lets discuss when you will be asked to get an injection and what are the pros and cons of getting it and the on big mistake that people make that leads to not getting results from the injection.
There are three situations in which your doctor will tell you to get a steroid injection.
1. You have tried all non surgical treatments and you have not had pain relief. Rather your pain is still quite acute or you have very high levels of pain.
2. Your doctor is considering surgery but he wants to try the injection as the last non surgical treatment.
3. You may be may or may not have tried all other treatments such as dry needling or shockwave therapy however your pain is so severe that it is interfering with your everyday activities.You need to get a solution because something as simple as just lifting your finger, opening the doorknob, driving – all your everyday activities are being affected by this pain.
You may be concerned about getting a steroid injection and yes, steroids get bad reputation as they can lead to muscle tears. But those are mostly caused by repeated use of steroid, not from a one off injection. Thus most doctors will not advise more than two or three injections in the full year.
However the positive side of getting an injection is the pain relief that can last for weeks to months to even up to one year but that can vary from person to person. Once you are relatively pain free do not make the mistake that most people. Most people stop all exercises and taking all precautions when the pain goes down drastically. Be mindful that this pain relief from injections is short lived. The pain will come back and this is a ‘golden time’ to manage your exercises. Make sure that you work on strengthening the forearm and arm muscles and stretch out the tight ones. You need to work on the muscular imbalances around your elbow, forearm, hand fingers, etc.
Watch this video to learn more about how to manage your Tennis Elbow:
It is a good idea to have a word with your physical therapist or if you don't have one, go to your doctor and ask him to give you a reference to a physical therapist and discuss with them what the plan of action is going to be like after you get your injection so that you don't waste that precious pain free time that you have. and your pain has drastically reduced because especially when you have chronic tennis elbow pain, you want to address those muscular imbalances that weakness in your hand. An example of this is the weakness in the hand that develops with chronic tennis elbow. The injection will give pain relief but not strengthen the grip. This is a good time to work on the grip strength so that you don’t drop items and can carry on your everyday activities as normal.
As everyone responds differently to the same treatment and results can even vary from one episode of tennis elbow to another, discus this with your doctor and physical therapist before making a decision about getting an injection.
If you suffer from elbow pain and are not sure if the source is Tennis Elbow HERE is a free guide to "What is the source of your Elbow Pain?"
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Disclaimer: Please note that the decision about a joint injection rests between you and your doctor. It depends on your pain and your symptoms and your doctor is the best judge for this. This blog is just to bring awareness about the joint injection and to help you discuss this topic better with your doctor or other healthcare professionals.