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Shock Wave Therapy for Tennis Elbow

You’ve probably heard of tennis elbow before, even if you’ve never stepped foot on a tennis court. Tennis elbow is a painful and tender ailment that affects the exterior of the elbow. It’s one of the most prevalent kinds of tendinitis, caused by overuse or repetitive motion of the forearm muscles. 

Some tennis elbow symptoms include:

  • A stinging or painful feeling on the outer portion of the elbow
  • Weakness of the afflicted arm
  • Trouble grasping and moving objects

If not addressed, tennis elbow can progress to a chronic illness that impairs everyday activities and quality of life. Shockwave therapy is an innovative treatment  that can help with pain and healing without surgery.

Understanding Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow occurs when the tendons linking the forearm muscles and the outer elbow become irritated or damaged. It can happen due to various causes and risk factors, including:
  • Tennis, painting, and construction all entail repetitive wrist or arm motions.
  • Incorrect posture or method during sports or activities.
  • Tendon deterioration as we get older
  • An abrupt rise in level of activity or intensity
The impact of repetitive activities on the condition cannot be overstated. Minor tears or micro-injuries in the tendons can collect, causing pain and swelling. This is why tennis elbow is so common among athletes, manual laborers, and individuals who perform repetitive tasks with their arms and wrists.

Benefits of Shockwave Therapy

Shockwave therapy, or ESWT, employs sound waves to promote healing without surgery. This method provides various benefits to persons suffering from tennis elbow:
  • Pain Relief: Shockwaves help reduce swelling and pain, relieving tennis elbow discomfort.
  • Accelerated Healing: Shockwaves help the body heal by starting processes that naturally fix damaged tissues and tendons.
  • Non-Invasive: Shockwave therapy is a treatment that doesn’t need surgery, cuts, needles, or anesthesia.
Related, What are the Benefits of Shockwave Therapy?
Shock Wave Therapy for Tennis Elbow

How Shockwave Therapy Works?

The mechanism behind shockwave therapy is fascinating. High-energy sound waves target the problem area, causing minor injuries that help the body heal naturally. This micro-trauma induces the following responses:
  • Increased Blood Flow: Shockwaves boost blood flow to the location, supplying oxygen and nutrients to help tissues heal.
  • Stimulation of Cell Regeneration: Shockwaves boost collagen and cell growth for tissue healing.
  • Pain Reduction: Shockwaves can help with tennis elbow pain by stopping signals and providing relief in the area.
Shockwave therapy is a good treatment for conditions like tennis elbow. It helps with damaged tendons and tissues. It is a unique and practical approach.

Shockwave Therapy Process at My Clinic

At my clinic, Aloha, shockwave therapy starts with a thorough assessment by me, a skilled chiropractor. During this initial evaluation, I will:
  • Review your medical history and symptoms related to tennis elbow. Understanding your condition is essential.
  • Perform a physical examination to identify the affected area causing pain or discomfort precisely. It allows me to target the shockwaves accurately.
  • Discuss your lifestyle, activities, and potential risk factors that may have contributed to developing your tennis elbow. Such data can help you customize your treatment plan.
Based on this thorough evaluation, I will create a personalized treatment plan for your needs. The shockwave therapy sessions themselves involve the following steps:
  • Preparation: First, I will clean and protect the area with a special gel. It facilitates the smooth transmission of high-energy shockwaves.
  • Treatment: I will deliver the focused shockwaves directly to the targeted area using an advanced handheld device. Each session usually delivers 10-12 waves depending on the condition. You might feel uncomfortable, but there won’t be any lasting pain.
  • Rehabilitation: After each shockwave therapy session, I will suggest specific stretches and exercises for you. These help you heal and avoid more harm or worsening your condition. Consistent adherence to the rehabilitation exercises is crucial.
Tennis elbow treatment requires several sessions, which vary depending on the severity and individual reaction. Most clients report significant alleviation after 3-5 sessions scheduled one to two weeks away. I will watch your progress and adjust your treatment plan as needed during the whole process. I want to ensure you receive the best care for your tennis elbow. It will aid your recovery and restore full use of your arm and elbow. Related, Can a Chiropractor Help a Tennis Elbow?
Shock Wave Therapy for Tennis Elbow

Ideal Candidates and Considerations

Shockwave therapy for tennis elbow can be effective but unsuitable for everyone. Ideal candidates for this therapy typically include:
  • Some individuals may have tennis elbow that persists or returns despite trying rest, ice, or anti-inflammatory medications. In such cases, they may require alternative treatment options.
  • Patients who wish to avoid invasive procedures or surgery for tennis elbow.
  • Individuals who choose to manage their pain without using drugs.
Shockwave therapy may not be safe for people with blood clotting disorders, infections, or pregnancy. It’s essential to consider these conditions before trying this treatment. As with any medical treatment, there is a potential for side effects. Some individuals may have transient pain, bruising, or swelling in the treated area. At the same time, these adverse effects are typically minor and resolve within a few days. This comprehensive approach helps address tennis elbow’s underlying causes and promotes long-term recovery.

Research and Evidence

Many research studies and clinical trials have proven that shockwave therapy is effective for tennis elbow. 

A systematic review analyzed data from 28 studies involving over 3,000 participants. The analysis found that shockwave therapy was much more effective than a placebo in lowering pain and enhancing function in tennis elbow patients.

Another study compared the outcomes of shockwave therapy and percutaneous tenotomy (a surgical procedure) for the treatment of chronic tennis elbow. The findings revealed that both treatments were successful, however shockwave therapy had a lower risk of problems and a faster shockwave therapy for tennis elbow recovery time.

While the scientific evidence supporting shockwave therapy is promising, ongoing research is necessary to further refine the treatment protocols and explore potential long-term effects.

The Final Words

Tennis elbow can be a crippling ailment that severely limits everyday activities and quality of life. Once ignored, it can progress into a chronic illness that lasts months or even years. That’s why it’s crucial to seek timely and effective treatment options.

Shockwave therapy is a novel, non-invasive way to treat tennis elbow and aid healing. This therapy is famous for reducing pain, helping tissues heal, speeding up recovery, and healing response. Many people choose it to find relief from their condition.

As an experienced chiropractor with over 25 years of practice, I have witnessed firsthand the transformative effects of shockwave therapy on my patients with tennis elbow.

By combining this cutting-edge treatment with a comprehensive rehabilitation program, we can effectively address the root causes of the condition and help our patients regain their quality of life.

If you or someone you know has tennis elbow, try shockwave therapy for pain relief and healing. Don’t let tennis elbow stop you. Get help from experts and start living without limitations.


Meet Dr. Craig Eymann, a dedicated chiropractor and yoga enthusiast with over two decades of expertise in spinal health, sports chiropractic, and personalized care, prioritizing misalignment correction for swift injury resolution.

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Dr. Craig Eymann

Musculoskeletal Injury Specialist

Dr. Craig Eymann

Musculoskeletal Injury Specialist

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