Has your massage therapist told you that you have tennis elbow trigger points? If so, you’re among the many that do.
Trigger points are thought to be little collections of waste matter such as lactic acid, which is produced from muscles contracting.
The points can be felt as little nodules, and sometimes they can be as big as golf balls such as in the muscles of the back.
These trigger points are not tumors!
How To Find Tennis Elbow Trigger Points
Trigger points for those with lateral epicondylitis can be found around the entire elbow area. You may also find them in the forearm and even as far down as the wrist.
When you press on the tennis elbow trigger points, you’ll feel pain. The pain could even shoot down your arm or up into your shoulder.
The Chinese traditional medical experts believe that trigger points block the energy flow in the body, and thus contribute to disease – such as tennis elbow when you have tennis elbow trigger points.
Step-By-Step Procedure To Find Trigger Points
So how do you know you have these tennis elbow trigger points?
1. With your right hand, press your thumb into your left elbow. We’re assuming that your left elbow is affected by tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis.
2. Do you feel any little knot or nodule? If so, press harder.
Does it refer pain up to your shoulder or down to your forearm? If so, you’ve located a tennis elbow trigger point.
3. Specifically trigger points could be related to any condition. So if you press on a trigger point and it makes your symptoms of tennis elbow worse, you have located a tennis elbow trigger point.
The big question is what to do with them when you find the tennis elbow trigger points.
Let’s go to a research study and see what the scientists found out about it. But before we do, here’s a list of the muscles that these trigger points could be found in, when you have lateral epicondylitis:
Bet you never thought you had so many muscles in that small little elbow area!
Why Do You Have Pain In Both Elbows With Lateral Epicondylitis?
Scientists in Madrid Spain at the Department of Physical Therapy at the University Rey Juan Carolos discovered that those who had lateral epicondylitis on one side of the body had 3 active trigger points in the affected elbow that caused pain and none on the unaffected side of the body.
However, they did have 2.2 latent trigger points on the unaffected side. A latent trigger point is one that hurts but doesn’t refer any pain up to the shoulder or down to the forearm – or anywhere – in those with lateral epicondylitis.
The people who didn’t have lateral epicondylitis in this study did not have any active or latent trigger points in their arms.
The researchers thought it was odd to have latent tennis elbow trigger points in the unaffected side. When racking their brains to figure out why this could possibly happen, they decided that it was because there must be a center in the brain that was affected which they called central sensitization.
They concluded that this could explain why some people with lateral epicondylitis have pain in both elbows, not just one. (Source: Clin J Pain. 2008 Nov-Dec;24(9):802-7.)
What To Do About Tennis Elbow Trigger Points
When you have these tennis elbow trigger points, it’s a good idea to do something about them. If you do, it’s possible that your pain could improve.
Scientists tested low level laser therapy on trigger points of those with lateral epicondylitis and tested what happened to grip strength, pain levels, and range of motion/flexibility in the patients.
In some cases the low level laser therapy was used on acupuncture points while in other studies the laser was used directly on the trigger points or tender points.
In both methods, the pain reduced and stayed low when the researchers did a follow-up on the patients, although the time of the follow up wasn’t mentioned.
There were other good effects. Grip strength and range of motion/flexibility improved, too. (Source: Photomed Laser Surg. 2010 Jun;28(3):327-36.)
And these are exactly the results you want if you have tennis elbow trigger points.
What Exactly To Do About The Tennis Elbow Trigger Points
So here are a few suggestions:
1. Find a massage therapist who can work on your trigger points. It will hurt, but the relief you feel will be long-lasting.
2. If you can’t find a massage therapist, look for a chiropractor who uses a low level laser and make an appointment. It’s well worth it, and besides, chiropractors do treat patients for lateral epicondylitis all the time so they’ll have a complete protocol to use which can speed up your recovery.
3. If you can’t find either a massage therapy or a chiropractor with a low level laser, start digging into the tennis elbow trigger points in your own elbows.
Sound like a plan? Well almost. Now get the book, Tennis Elbow Secrets Revealed because it will train you in what exercises to do to improve your lateral epicondylitis as well.