Positive Motion Chiropractic provides expert chiropractic adjustments to treat Tennis Elbow in Los Gatos.

Tennis elbow, also called lateral epicondylitis, doesn’t just come about by playing tennis. It can be caused by any overloading of the wrist extensor muscles, usually by repetitive motions of the wrist and arm. Our sports chiropractors have successfully treated lateral epicondylitis brought on by:

  • Repetitively using a screw driver
  • Weightlifting
  • Extended computer mouse usage
  • Painting
  • Mountain biking
  • All racquet sports (tennis, squash, racquetball, pickle ball, etc)

Lateral Epicondylitis Pain

The pain with lateral epicondylitis is found at the outside of the elbow. The lateral elbow is called the lateral epicondyle. This region is where the muscles that extend your wrist and fingers attach. The pain from tennis elbow is caused by repetitive micro trauma to the tendons of these muscles.

A backhand in tennis, especially a one-handed backhand, is a good example of an overuse that can lead to tendon damage at the lateral epicondyle. When the ball hits the racquet the wrist is under load and wants to bend. It is the extensor muscles that have to stop this bending of the wrist. If the wrist muscles are strong and also have good eccentric control then they can hand this load. If the muscles are not strong, especially eccentrically, then the tendon starts to become damaged and painful.

At first this lateral elbow pain might only be with playing tennis or the activity that first brought it on. But over time it will become painful with everyday activities like picking up a pot off the stove or grabbing something out of the refrigerator. Lateral epicondylitis can be successfully healed. The expert sports chiropractors at Positive Motion Chiropractic in Los Gatos routinely see tennis elbow and love helping people stop having elbow pain.

Treatment Options for Tennis Elbow Pain

There are many methods for treating tennis elbow pain. At Positive Motion Chiropractic we believe that the most elegant solution is always the one that is simple, addresses the root cause, and is the least invasive.

Many people take drugs, get injections, and have surgery to deal with tennis elbow pain. These options come with great costs and risks. At Positive Motion Chiropractic we believe in utilizing these options only in emergencies or after trying more conservative alternatives that have failed to produce results.

At Positive Motion Chiropractic our treatment approach is simple and effective:

  1. Correct the underlying joint and/or muscle imbalances.
  2. Speed up tissue healing and reduce inflammation to give accelerated pain relief.
  3. Teach the patient how to reduce the chance of recurrence.

Utilizing this framework we provide rapid pain relief, fundamental joint and muscle changes to correct the root cause, and also help the patient avoid having to keep returning for care.

Here are some of the techniques and tools we use when we treat our professional and Olympic athlete patients. Guess what? They are the same techniques and tools we use with every one of our patients. (follow the links below to learn more about each type of treatment)

Chiropractic Adjustments

There are 210 bones in the human body and in-between them are joints. Just like the hinges on a door can get rusty and stuck, the same thing can happen with your joints (no, they don’t rust). When your joints become fixated and lose proper motion they become stiff, inflamed, and painful.

A chiropractic adjustment helps to restore normal motion back to your joints. There are many different ways to perform a chiropractic adjustment, including by hand and using an instrument called an Activator. Chiropractic adjustments utilizing an instrument don’t involve “cracking sounds” or twisting of the body.

Myofascial Therapy, Graston, Fascial Distortion Model (FDM)

Muscle stabilize and move the bones of your body. Fascia, or myofascia, encases your muscles in a thin, yet tough covering. This slippery covering allows muscles, tendons, nerves, and other structures in your body to effortlessly glide over and past each other. But through trauma, repetitive motion injuries, and postural stresses, these fascial layers can become stuck to each other through adhesions (think microscopic scar tissue).

Without addressing these myofascial adhesions the movement restrictions and pain come back shortly after getting a chiropractic adjustment or massage. But by working on and getting rid of these myofascial adhesions we are able to restore normal motion and help create lasting improvement in a patient’s function.

We utilize various myofascial techniques, including Graston technique (an form of instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization or IASTM), FDM (Fascial Distortion Model) and cupping (static or with motion). These soft tissue therapies when directed at the right body tissues combined with specific chiropractic adjustments are core to the results we consistently see at Positive Motion Chiropractic.

Cold Laser Therapy

“Tennis is what keeps me sane. I love playing and competing. But I haven’t been on the court for three weeks because my right elbow is killing me!”

When patients need every chance to get back to 100% ASAP we have another tool at our disposal. We utilizes cold laser to help speed up metabolic rate, decrease inflammation, and help control pain levels. Athletes who don’t have any time to waste in getting back to 100% frequently use cold laser therapy in their treatment protocols.

Cold laser treatment is painless, takes around fifteen minutes per session, and is a great adjunct to chiropractic adjustments and soft tissue therapies like Graston.

Tennis Elbow Braces

Bracing around the upper forearm can help decrease the pain of tennis elbow. There are many different types of braces out there and they are not all created equally. A good brace helps to distribute the load from the wrist extensor muscles into the surrounding tissues versus all that load going to the damaged and inflamed tendons.

A brace can therefore help the tissues to heal by reducing the repeated tissue strain. The goal of wearing a brace should be to heal the damaged tissues and rehab the weak muscles and then stop having to wear the brace.

Targeted Rehab Exercises

A specific single muscle can be weak leading to imbalance and pain. It is rarely a large muscle group that we would think of working out at the gym (ex: quadriceps or biceps). Rather it is usually a stabilizing or balance muscle which is often overlooked. But weakness in a vital muscle can have devastating effects on posture, joint function, and balance.

At Positive Motion Chiropractic we don’t give our patients a page of generalized tennis elbow exercises. Who has the time for 30-60 minutes of home exercises per day? Instead, through our detailed and personalized assessment we determine if the patient has a specific muscle weakness and design a customized, targeted rehabilitation program for those individual weaknesses. Translation: tangible decrease in pain and physical limitations with minimal investment of time and effort.

Kinesiology Tape

Most people have seen a professional athlete sporting some colorful tape over a body part. Professional and Olympic athletes have been using Kinesio Tape or Rock Tape for years. In the last few years we have seen more recreational and non-athletes using Kinesio Tape.

Kinesio Tape has three main functions:

  1. Decreases localized inflammation
  2. Helps reduce pain
  3. Aids in the correction of motion patterns

We apply the Kinesio Tape on the patient during treatment, but also teach them or a family member how to use the tape so they can apply it themselves at home or before a tennis match.


Most people spend the majority of their day at a workstation. If that workspace is not set up for you to win then your body will lose. You will notice decreasing flexibility, limited range of motion, and over time strength declines. And your body will start to hurt. First felt as nagging tension and soreness.

To provide lasting positive changes for our patients we look at their ergonomic setup and make simple, but effective, recommendations to maximize the comfort and function of their workspace. Our ergonomic evaluations are invaluable and performed at no extra charge for patients who can benefit.

If you got this far reading about causes and treatment options for tennis elbow pain you deserve to take the next step and get a world-class evaluation by an expert sports chiropractor. Schedule your appointment now using our real-time online schedule.