If you’ve never experienced tennis elbow, consider yourself lucky – for several reasons. For the 6.5 to 9.5 million Americans each year that suffer from tennis elbow, this painful condition is tough to ignore.
Caused by overuse of the tendons in the forearms – from activities like tennis, gaming, carpentry, playing musical instruments, crafting and more – tennis elbow may start with mild discomfort and gradually worsen to constant pain. This causes difficulty grasping objects like a coffee cup or toothbrush, elbow stiffness and numbness or tingling in the fingers. Because pain is experienced when performing the repetitive activity – whether that’s lifting weights, chopping food or gardening – it eventually becomes virtually impossible to do.
Treatment is essential with tennis elbow, as this injury rarely goes away on its own. Fortunately, there are multiple treatment options – starting with at-home, inexpensive self-care, such as rest, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, stretching and strengthening exercises and ice and heat therapy. However, to address the root cause of tennis elbow pain, professional healthcare intervention generally is recommended.
Basic options, such as braces or compression sleeves or massage, are typically not covered by health insurance but are relatively affordable. Among the many other therapeutic regimens, individual health insurance policies may or may not provide coverage, so it’s important to check with your insurance company first before seeking treatment for tennis elbow.
Professional Tennis Elbow Treatment OptionsMost comprehensive health insurance plans should cover treatment for a tennis elbow diagnosis. You’ll first need to see your doctor, who will administer a physical exam and may take X-rays or an MRI or EMG test. There are approximately 43 different documented pathologies of the elbow, so it’s best to get a professional diagnosis to ensure proper treatment and help support the case for healthcare insurance coverage.
Once your physician prescribes a treatment plan, it’s a good idea to check again with your insurance regarding specific coverage. Professional treatment options include:
- Ultrasound – High-frequency sound waves warm the tissue and improve circulation.
- TENS – These devices deliver electrical impulses to the nerves to help keep pain signals from reaching the brain.
- Acupuncture – Needles are inserted into the arm to minimize the perception of pain.
- Physical therapy – Treatment typically includes manual therapy, stretching and strengthening exercises and potentially ultrasound or TENS.
- Injections – Steroids such as cortisone can reduce inflammation, and platelet-rich plasma is a newer option.
- Surgery – Fortunately, surgery is only required in about 5% of tennis elbow cases, and while it is the most expensive treatment option, health insurance usually covers it if medically necessary.
- Natural Remedies – Learn more about how you can treat tennis elbow naturally.
One new option that doesn’t require health insurance, prescriptions, deductibles or co-pays is the Fiix Elbow tendonitis recovery device from Stā Active. It automates a clinically proven physical therapy procedure for use at home that stimulates blood flow, cellular and tissue regeneration and collagen production to heal the tendon and alleviate pain. Plus, the Fiix Elbow comes with a 90-day, money-back guarantee.