I’m about to tell not only why you can safely break all the rules when it comes to treating your Golfer’s Elbow … But why you SHOULD, in fact, just take those “rules” and toss them!
The Key Golfer’s Elbow Treatment Guidelines To Question Or Break:
- – Use ice or cold packs (to “reduce” inflammation),
- – Take anti-inflammatories pills (again, against “inflammation”),
- – Wear a brace, wrap or strap (to “support” the injury),
- – Get a Cortisone shot! (if the pills + ice don’t work)
Now, I understand this may come as a shock to you or even rub you the wrong way if you’ve been diligently following the “common wisdom” on treating your Golfer’s Elbow / “Medial Epicondylitis”…
Taking those anti-inflammatory pills, icing three times a day, resting and wearing a brace like your Doctor recommended…
But please bear with me. Just try to keep open mind, and I promise I’ll make my case…
And, hey, while you’re at it – even if it’s just in your imagination, (at first, anyway!) – Put that ice back in the freezer, those pills back on the shelf and that brace in a drawer somewhere…
Because I want to share with you why those “treatments” are probably doing you more harm than good. (This is not a joke. I’m completely serious.) Here’s why:
Although these ways of treating your Golfer’s Elbow may help relieve your (pain temporarily) they are absolutely worthless as remedies when it comes to helping your underlying injury heal.
The first and foremost reason being that:
Inflammation is not the problem with Golfer’s Elbow OR your enemy (in this case) – Period. (Regardless of what any authority or “expert source” may say to the contrary.)
How can I be so emphatic about this? What do I know? Am I a Doctor?
No, I’m not a Doctor. And certainly don’t want to come off as pretending to be one. (Of course, you probably wouldn’t think that anyway, considering my writing style!)
I do specialize in treating people with Golfer’s and Tennis Elbow in my clinic, and have many years experience (and success) doing so, but that’s somewhat besides the point.
The point is that many of the common wisdom / standard treatments (especially those that deal with inflammation) are irrational and unscientific.
It’s a simple, scientific, medical fact that:
- Inflammation is a natural, normal stage of the healing process,
- And damaged tissue (like your painful tendons) can’t heal without first going through the inflammation process!
Did you know that?
Medical researchers know it – Doctors learn it in medical school…
Every medical textbook that covers tissue healing (all of them, I would expect) will list and detail the three stages of repair (and #1 is Inflammation)
But then something kind of amazing happens: Doctors seem to forget this simple fact and end up prescribing mountains of anti-inflammatory pills and giving countless Cortisone Jabs!
(Jab is the English/U.K. term for shot. I love how honest and devoid of euphemism it is.)
This could be explained by the massive influence the pharmaceutical industry has on Medical School curriculum (and the subsequent medical mindset of pushing pills for everything under the sun)…
Or simply that the pills and shots are all that Doctors really have to offer – (In the way of direct interventions that have an immediate effect on symptoms, anyway.)
And people who are in pain are often looking for (demanding?) some immediate relief and naturally are not always thinking:
“Is this going to help me beyond the short term? – Could these pills and shots, actually harm me in the long term even if they do provide some fleeting relief?”
(So, please don’t think I’m putting all the blame on well-meaning Doctors. After all, Golfer’s Elbow is not exactly a high priority, considering all the serious health problems they see every day.)
Now, I’ve already gone into the “Inflammation Myth” pretty extensively elsewhere on this site.
Here’s my most comprehensive article and video with medical references:
(The same principles apply to Golfer’s Elbow.) – But here’s the essence:
- WHAT inflammation!? – There’s no evidence of significant inflammation in most cases of Golfer’s Elbow / “Medial Epicondylitis” (It’s not “raging out of control” – It’s actually missing!…
- Treating inflammation is pointless – There’s no value for healing in chasing after inflammation anyway, because…
- Inflammation is needed for healing – Again inflammation is a normal stage of the repair process that healing tissues have to go through.
The rules say, “Ice frequently, take anti-inflammatory pills – and if that doesn’t work – get a Cortisone shot to ‘reduce’ inflammation”
I say, Break ‘um… Ignore ‘um – Flush ‘um!
Bottom line? Here’s my mantra – I’ve been chanting this around the Internet for over a decade:
You can’t treat and heal an injury by suppressing the healing process of that injury.
Although chasing and suppressing symptoms with inflammation-attacking “treatments” may make you feel better temporarily, your muscle and tendon healing may suffer…
Your recovery could be prolonged by it. Crazy, isn’t it?
The rational on why braces make no sense and may be counterproductive is different, but I’ve already covered that here:
By now you probably have to be wondering, so…
What’s The Right Way To Treat This Stubborn “Elbow” Injury, Then!?
In all my research and experience with treating people in my clinic with direct, hands-on methods, it comes down to one thing that matters above all else:
The first priority is breaking the cycle of stagnation in and around the tendons – And I believe the best way to do that is with advanced “Massage” techniques.
Yes, basically the opposite of the “Resting, Hoping and Waiting” / “Inflammation Chasing” / brace it or wrap it up and leave it alone -approach!
I go into a little more detail here – next link – (and elsewhere on this site) on why it is that
We always have to keep in mind that tendons heal slowly and they often STOP healing and just “sit there” (and then start slipping “backwards” into degeneration if we just “leave them alone.”)
Other Rules You Can Bend Or Reconsider
Now, these recommendations are not exactly all wrong – It’s rather that they are simply not 100% applicable to every case, or they are relative; time relative, severity relative, etc.
- You should rest it! – Well, that depends on what “rest” means. “Total rest is Rust” – Think active rest instead: More about rest here
- You HAVE to stop playing golf! (or tennis) – Maybe, maybe not – Some do, some don’t: More about whether to keep playing or not here
- You should start Physical Therapy – Or start doing Golfer’s Elbow rehab exercises right away (Rehab exercise is not the top priority. Timing can be critical.) See this article and video on exercise mistakes
And here’s where you can go to learn more about my self-help home program, where I teach people how to “break the cycle” and recover from their Tennis and Golfer’s Elbow injuries – using advanced muscle and tendon “release” techniques:
New Golfer’s Elbow Self-Help Program – Break your vicious cycle of elbow pain at home with the help of this self-help treatment, stretching and exercise program: What’s in the Golfer’s Elbow Program?