Tennis elbow, formally known as lateral epicondylitis, is a relatively common type of injury affecting the elbow joint. The injury causes inflammation of the joint and surrounding area as a result of repetitive movements that cause stress to the elbow itself. The common name comes from the fact that it commonly affects tennis players, due to the unique motions of swinging a racket. However, it can affect anyone who relies on their elbow joint for work, activity, or sport.
Tennis elbow has the potential to become a fairly disruptive and serious injury, especially if left untreated. There are treatments available, based on the severity of the condition, and it is easy to diagnose. That why we will be talking about whether or not CBD
has the potential to help anyone who is suffering from this condition, based on the unique properties of this cannabinoid compound, which have been widely studied by medical researchers over the last decade.
What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow simply refers to inflammation of the elbow joint, which causes pain that can radiate from the elbow along the forearm. The pain can be debilitating and cause temporary difficulty completely extending the elbow. The condition will get worse if the sufferer continues to use the elbow as they had before the inflammation developed.
The exterior carpi radialis brevis (ECRB) muscle is also affected, as it is the muscular tissue that supports the joint. Damage to this muscle can interfere with one’s ability to use the elbow for daily functions like lifting and reaching.
How Does This Injury Develop?
Tennis elbow is the result of overuse of the elbow joint, caused by repetitive stress. Essentially, anyone who consistently does small, repetitive motions with the elbow joint is vulnerable to this condition. Those who are even more vulnerable to tennis elbow are those who favor one arm over the other to do things like lifting and extending, and those who have a past injury of the elbow area.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
The most common symptom of tennis elbow is pain that extends from the elbow along the forearm. The pain can be more severe when the elbow is in an extended position and can therefore interfere with one’s ability to extend the joint. Squeezing and shaking can also make the pain worse, because these motions put pressure on the compromised ECRB muscle in the arm. In severe cases, the elbow can become swollen.
How the Condition is Diagnosed
Anyone experiencing prolonged pain in the elbow should see a medical professional to receive a diagnosis. As tennis elbow can get worse over time if left untreated, medical care is necessary to prevent the injury getting worse. A doctor will ask about your symptoms and ask you to do some elbow movements to understand how the inflammation is interfering with mobility. They most likely will order scans to take a look at the joint, to make sure that a more serious injury has not occurred. They will also want to rule out other inflammatory conditions like arthritis
and determine how severe the particular case is to treat it properly.
Treating Tennis Elbow
Treating tennis elbow largely depends on the specific severity of the condition. It can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, either prescribed or purchased over-the-counter, depending on how extensive the inflammation is. This, along with rest and ice, may be adequate to allow the elbow to heal fully so that it can regain its function in a relatively short period of time. Rest is an essential component, as without it, the condition will only get worse.
Cases that are more severe in nature may benefit from physical therapy, which helps the elbow regain strength and mobility, along with the affected muscular tissue. In very severe cases, surgical measures may be necessary.
CBD for Tennis Elbow: Can It Help?
Now, let’s talk about CBD, which is the leading compound in the hemp plant. Cannabidiol belongs to a class of compounds native to cannabis, known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are different from other plant compounds in that they are directly used by the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is tasked with regulating all functions of the body to support homeostasis.
CBD can be delivered into the body through various means, and it can even be used topically, as the compound easily absorbs through the skin to reach the muscles and joints below the area of application. Cannabinoids like cannabidiol bind to cannabinoid receptors that are tasked with regulating particular bodily processes. Cannabinoid receptors in the muscles and joints can regulate functions like inflammation and the communication of pain signals to the brain.
By now, many studies have shown that CBD offers potential pain-relieving properties, in two ways. One is that it may bring down inflammation, and when applied topically to the affected area, can target the pain in a more localized manner. Secondly, it may play a role in regulating the way in which the brain receives pain signals.
How to Use CBD for Tennis Elbow
Before we discuss the best means for using CBD to address this specific condition, you should always talk to your doctor before trying to treat a condition at home. And, when it comes to using cannabidiol, you should be thorough about the product you plan to use and how often you plan on applying it.
Tip #1: Try a Topical
As we said, CBD topicals target the area that is affected by inflammation, so we do recommend choosing a topical formula as opposed to one that is taken internally. If you are already using an internal CBD delivery method regularly, you can still apply a topical formula, as necessary.
Tip #2: Choose the Right Concentration
Topicals come in various milligram strengths, which reflect the potency of the formula. The more milligrams, the more potential the product has to provide relief. Therefore, choose a strength based on the severity of the condition.
Tip #3: Be Consistent with Your Usage
It is best to use a topical on a daily basis so that the cannabinoid builds up in the area of application to be as effective as possible.
Tip #4: Consider Full Spectrum
Full spectrum CBD is a type of hemp extract that contains not only cannabidiol, but every naturally occurring compound in hemp, including other cannabinoids as well as terpenes. All of these compounds may offer something useful, and they work together synergistically to promote better efficacy. Therefore, selecting a full spectrum topical formula may be ideal.
Overall, tennis elbow has the potential to cause severe pain and make simple elbow movements difficult. But it is a treatable condition, and we know that various treatment options can prove to be successful. If you wish to choose a holistic means for managing the symptoms, again, speak to your doctor first about using CBD, particularly in topical form.