September is Pain Awareness month and as such I wanted to highlight the often debilitating pain that tennis elbow sufferers experience.
Many sufferers experience pain for many months, even many years, if not treated correctly, and this is unnecessary in my view. Just last month, I heard from people who have been suffering for 3 months to almost 20 years and everything in between!!!
Whilst the physical limitations of this issue can be intolerable, the psychological toll of these injuries can be equally intractable. The body’s inability to fully heal can be devastating leaving sufferers prone to bouts of depression - these injuries can bring on episodes that are increasingly challenging to bounce back from.
Thankfully, tennis (and golfers) elbow have a solution that means that NO-ONE should be suffering for that long.
So, what causes the pain in tennis elbow?
The main structure involved is the tendon which attaches the muscles of the forearm to the bone. In tennis elbow, the tendon becomes degenerated and that causes discomfort and pain.
Frequently, the nerve is also associated. What happens here is that the nerve becomes irritated and hypersensitive. This is a very common occurrence for people who have tennis or golfer's elbow, but is rarely addressed with "general" treatments. THIS is the reason people can suffer for so long. If the nervous system is not addressed, the tendon can never heal fully!
For this reason, one of the very first things I suggest people do addresses the nervous system. I recommend 30 minutes of cardio exercise every day - no days off! And this needs to be OUTSIDE SEEING GREEN THINGS! I know this sounds really weird, but chronic pain (which is by definition any pain that has lasted longer than 3 months) leads to biochemical changes in the brain. These changes perpetuate the chronic pain cycle. If this is not reversed, healing cannot occur!
To reverse these changes and essentially "reboot' the brain, can actually be quite simply done! Get out and walk in nature. Seriously, that's it! There's a lot of research right now, coming out of Japan regarding "Forest Bathing". This research is showing the reversing of the abnormal biochemical changes in the brain caused by chronic pain.
If this blog helps just one person get out of that chronic pain cycle, I'll be happy!
So, here's my challenge to you: start today. Go for a walk out in nature and start rebooting your brain. Your nervous system will thank you for it! Join my STEP-tember challenge here.