Overuse of the forearm muscles leads to tennis elbow and it can easily occur when carrying out repeated movements with your arm and wrist. The use of heat or ice for tennis elbow is very common among athletes, but what is best ice or heat for tennis elbow?
In this article, we’ll talk about ice and heat for Tennis Elbow. In the end, you can decide which one will work best for your condition.
We’ll talk about ice first, and then we’ll talk about the heat.😃
Ice For Tennis Elbow
The ice will help reduce the inflammation and pain that the tennis elbow causes due to the pressure placed on the nerves running down your forearm.
The ice has many other benefits: it reduces muscle spasms, relaxes muscles, and decreases blood flow to the injured area.
Plus, icing can prevent further tissue damage around your elbow. This is why doctors recommend ice for tennis elbow right away when symptoms first begin.
How Should You Ice Your Elbow?
Ice your elbow immediately after you have injured it. Apply ice for 20 minutes, take a break for 20 minutes and then ice again. Repeat this for the utmost time you can do after injuring your elbow to reduce pain and swelling significantly.
To get ice, place ice in a baggie or towel, then apply it directly to your skin. Don’t hold ice against your skin as you could freeze your skin. You can also use cold packs filled with water instead of ice cubes if you don’t have access to an ice machine.
Heat For Tennis Elbow
Heat treatment reduces swelling particularly and inflammation wherever it is applied. So, heat is commonly used to treat swelling in ankles, knees, and shoulders after sports injuries such as tennis elbow.
The heat will improve blood flow and promote relaxation of the muscles around your elbow area.
Physicians may recommend ultrasound treatments if massage therapy does not work for you or prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to feel less pain while completing daily activities.
How Should You Heat Your Elbow?
To apply heat to the tennis elbow, wrap a hot water bottle in a thin layer of towel and place it on the elbow for 30 minutes, three to four times daily. This will provide pain relief and reduce inflammation.
You can apply heat immediately after activity, but you should allow at least 48 hours between applications to avoid re-injury.
You can also use a heating pad or lamp if you use it properly. Never fall asleep under a heating lamp or heating pad!
A good rule of thumb is that if you feel sensation beyond warmth, your skin is being burned by too high a temperature for too long.
Your doctor may suggest soaking your elbow in warm water for 15 minutes before exercise or sports participation to help prevent injury while still providing therapeutic heat.
Remember that heat increases blood flow to an area, which can be dangerous for someone with blood vessel disease or diabetes, so it’s important to know your health status before heat application.
How Long Does It Take For This Condition To Heal?
The treatment can last anywhere from a few weeks to months. In some cases, the pain may become chronic, and it won’t go away on its own.
Be sure to speak with your doctor if you continue to experience discomfort so that they can recommend the best plan of action.
Applying Ice Or Heat Therapy: Two Schools Of Thoughts
When it comes to applying heat or cold therapy treatment on tennis elbow, there are two schools of thoughts.
1.You can first encourage more circulation by applying warmth with either a heating pad or hot water bottle first. Then apply ice afterwards for 5 minutes to minimize inflammation and pain.
2. You can ice first for a short period of time, then use a heating pad or hot water bottle afterwards for 15 minutes to promote blood flow and reduce stiffness.
Tennis elbow contracts when the forearm muscles become inflamed due to overuse, and ice cools that inflammation.
Heat on an inflamed area can increase circulation to that area, making it feel better, but the warm water may release chemicals in our body that cause swelling. So while heating would relieve symptoms temporarily,
it could be counterproductive over time by increasing the injury’s severity and recovery rate. Regular use of heat on a chronic injury might also be counterproductive because of this related chronic low-grade soft tissue swelling.
All in all, it is important to note that ice and heat don’t cure this tennis elbow condition but they only help reduce pain and inflammation, which will allow you to function more easily.