Nowadays, many people suffer from epicondylitis radialis humeri, commonly known as tennis elbow. In the treatment of this, among other things, people rely on massages. Accordingly, the question often arises whether you can treat tennis elbow yourself with massage guns. I would like to answer this question as comprehensively as possible in this article.
Yes, basically a massage gun can be used very well for the treatment of tennis elbow. Massaging with the massage gun in the right places stimulates the regeneration of the muscles and loosens the muscles. Especially the latter is very important, because tennis elbow cannot heal completely if the tensions of the shoulder as well as neck muscles are not released.
Before you treat your tennis elbow with a massage gun, you should always consult your doctor. You should also consider the contraindications of a massage gun. The device may not be used in various cases. These include open wounds, osteoporosis, arterial occlusive diseases or acute illnesses.
A very good tutorial on how to treat a tennis elbow with a massage gun gives you the following YouTube video from Rehab and Revive:
You have now briefly learned that a massage gun could very well be used to treat tennis elbow. I would now like to go into this in more detail. I will explain how tennis elbow manifests itself, what causes it and how it can be treated. I will also explain how a massage gun is used for treatment.
What is a Tennis Elbow, and how does it appear?
Tennis elbow (epicondylitis radialis humeri) is a painful irritation of the elbow. More precisely, it involves irritated tendon insertions of the forearm extensor. The tendon insertions are located on the outside of the humerus.
Typical symptoms of tennis elbow are mainly different types of pain.1
These can manifest themselves as follows:
- pain that radiates to the hand or even into the upper arm
- pressure pain when touching the outside of the elbow
- reduced grip strength, e.g. when grasping objects
- reduced mobility of the arm
- possibly swelling of the elbow
What causes a Tennis Elbow?
The tennis elbow is caused by microtears at the tendon insertions. These, in turn, are caused by a one-sided and/or heavy load on the arm. Such movements are typical for the sport of tennis, for example. This is where the tennis elbow gets its name from.
But also in other activities that little trained forearm muscles suddenly strongly stressed, can cause tennis elbow. These include lifting heavy objects, playing musical instruments, or doing manual work.
Furthermore, tensions of the shoulder, as well as neck muscles, are often apparent in advance of the tennis elbow. If these are not released, the tennis elbow cannot heal. Due to the tension of the musculature, the tendon at the elbow is also overstretched and thus becomes so irritated in the long term that it becomes inflamed.
How is Tennis Elbow treated?
All treatments for tennis elbow are aimed at relieving the pain and increasing the load-bearing capacity and mobility of the forearm. In most cases, however, the affected arm is first given a break from exertion. In addition, the forearm muscles are stretched and strengthened through special exercises.
Massages are also used in the treatment of tennis elbow. Massages relieve pain, promote regeneration and ease tension.
As part of the massage or independently of it, ointments can be used to treat tennis elbow. Here, ointments with analgesic and anti-inflammatory active ingredients are used.
Normally, the tennis elbow thus disappears by itself in a few weeks to months. Only in the case that the tennis elbow does not disappear surgery is used as a last resort.2
So can you treat Tennis Elbow with a Massage Gun?
Yes, massage guns can be used to massage tennis elbow. However, before you grab the massager and start massaging, you should know that massage guns should not be used for certain medical conditions, among others. Thus, you should refrain from using a massage gun in the following cases:
- Illness (fever, cold, etc.)
- Skin rashes/diseases
- Varicose veins
- Placental diseases
- Autoimmune diseases
- Acute diseases and herniated discs
- Arterial occlusive diseases
- Open wounds or fractures
If you don’t already have one, you should also purchase a suitable massage gun. The gun should have a low number of impacts at a low level in order to be able to gently work on the tennis elbow. At the same time, a powerful motor should be available so that it does not block so easily. A damped attachment in the scope of delivery is also mandatory. Massage guns with these or similar features include the Flow Mini, the addsfit MAX, the Flow PRO, or the Mebak 3.View on Amazon*
How do I treat Tennis Elbow with a Massage Gun?
Before massaging the tennis elbow, you should use the right attachment for the massage gun. The most suitable attachment is a particularly gentle one, i.e. the dampener or air cushion attachment. If you get used to using it after a while, you can switch to the ball attachment if necessary.
The procedure of the massage:
- Turn on the massage gun in a low to medium setting.
- Sit down and rest the affected arm on your lap.
- Move the massage gun slowly and without pressure from the center of the upper side of the forearm towards the elbow. Repeat this movement again and again for 1-2 minutes.
- Next, move the massage gun in circular motions over the affected forearm muscles (upper side) and elbow. Repeat this movement for 1-2 minutes as well. Be sure to use a gentle, slow motion.
- If you feel a trigger point, you can also leave the massage gun on the spot for a few seconds or massage the area with small circular movements.
- Next, work on the underside of the forearm. Again, you can use circular and stroking movements.
- Next, massage the biceps. Work both the inside and the outside of the arm.
- Massage the triceps for 1-2 minutes. Put your hand to the back of your head. Move the massage gun in stroking or circular movements from the triceps towards the shoulder.
- Have a second person massage your neck and shoulder muscles with the gun for a few minutes.
This routine should last 10 to 15 minutes. Treat the area slowly and carefully. If the pain is acute, you can treat the tennis elbow daily with such a massage.
At this point I would like to refer to the YouTube video linked above. There, the use of a massage gun for tennis elbow is clearly explained.
You can learn more about trigger point massage (point 5) here: How can I loosen Trigger Points with a Massage Gun?
How do I prevent a Tennis Elbow?
Even better than treating tennis elbow is, of course, preventing it. To prevent tennis elbow from developing, you should avoid heavy, recurring one-sided strain. In addition, you should strengthen and stretch your forearm muscles even without a tennis elbow. It is also important to warm up the muscles properly before putting them under stress.
An epicondylitis brace* can also be used as an aid against the tennis elbow. This special pressure bandage relieves the muscle insertion at the elbow.
If your tennis elbow is caused by working at the computer, switching to an ergonomic mouse (vertical) can help. By using such a mouse, the hand and thus the forearm is in a better position when working at the PC so that the forearm muscles are relieved.
Conclusion – Can I treat Tennis Elbow with a Massage Gun?
Massage guns are considered a true miracle cure among athletes to accelerate the regeneration of muscles. But the massagers can also be used to treat tennis elbow. However, it is important to know how to use the massage gun correctly and when it is better not to use such a device. I have summarized the most important information in this article. I hope that I could help you with it!