Sleep is necessary and one of the most important things we humans need to do, and for most parts, it’s extremely satisfying. However, there are times when sleep and be almost unbearable, and that my friend is a big problem.
Many causes can make sleep unpleasant, and Lateral Epicondylitis, also called tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow, is one of those things. In this article, you will learn some tips on how to sleep better with tennis below, how to treat it, and its cause.
Before revealing the tips which can make sleep easier with tennis elbow, it’s important to go to the source so you can end it. Stick with me, and you’re closer to a good night’s sleep, I promise!
- What Causes a Tennis Elbow?
- How to Sleep With Tennis Elbow?
- How to Treat a Tennis Elbow?
- My Favorite Tennis Equipment
What Causes a Tennis Elbow?
You might suspect that tennis elbow is derived from tennis which it can be. However, there can be more than one reason, and it often goes deeper than playing a sport.
Tennis elbow is a strain injury with tears on tendons that connect your elbow muscles to the bony structure on your arm, causing pain. Tennis elbow comes from overuse and poor technique from sports such as tennis and golf, but can also come from painting and countless other situations.
The activity and poor technique can be enough to generate a tennis elbow, but squeezing an object such as a tennis racket, paintbrush, and you name it will only generate it faster and worse.
That’s why it’s very important to hold a tennis racket firmly but not extremely hard because your tendons will tighten, limiting the natural trajectory. By repeatedly swinging a tennis racket with a tight grip, you will strain your tendons, starting or worsening the injury.
I mentioned that other causes than tennis could create a tennis elbow. Other examples include:
- Racket sports
- Computer mouse usage
- Excessive typing
- The art of sewing
- Weight Lifting
- Hand tools such as a screwdriver
- Playing an instrument such as violin
These are just some of the causes, and there are many more. Other factors can and will increase the risk of getting a tennis elbow. For example, age is a big determinator of the probability of getting a tennis elbow.
Between the years of 30 and 50, most people suffer from a tennis elbow.
Also, one’s job will affect the possibility of getting a tennis elbow. If you work a lot with your hands, squeeze things, and move your elbow, the chances are that you are more prone to tennis elbow than a person that doesen’t.
Now that you know the common causes and why tennis elbow appears, let’s take a look at the reason why you are reading this, sleep!
How to Sleep With Tennis Elbow?
As humans, we love to sleep, at least I do, and I suspect you do too as you found your way here. Try the five tips below and see whether sleep improves with your tennis elbow!
1. Don’t Sleep On the Affected Side
First and foremost, don’t sleep on the side affected by the tennis elbow, even if it’s your favorite side. Keeping your tennis elbow under you will create unnecessary movement, reduce blood flow, and slow down the healing process mostly done when you sleep.
Instead, sleep on your back or the other side, so your arm with the tennis elbow can rest in peace.
2. Use a Pillow for Support
If you decide to sleep on the other side, use a pillow! Without one, your arm can still move without the support, depriving the tendons of the maximum healing process.
Place the pillow under the affected elbow securely so it won’t move when you lie down. This prevents movements and allows the resting time to begin.
If you decide to sleep on your back, you can still use a pillow. You can also use different-sized pillows to see which one feels the best and use the one with the best support.
3. Warm Your Elbow Before Bed
Sometimes I hear people using ice for a tennis elbow which can reduce pain; however, it isn’t nearly as effective in the long term as warmth. The cold temperature slows blood flow and contracts the muscles, the exact opposite you want!
Warmth will expand and relax your muscles, which will increase blood flow. This is good!
You can heat your elbow with various methods, such as a warm shower or a bath. More effective ways are a heating pad or arthritis pain gel such as Voltaren. Heck, you can use them all, and they should help you sleep better and expedite the healing process.
4. Use an Elbow Brace
An elbow brace is a great way to add extra support to your tennis elbow, especially if you’re experiencing a lot of pain. Even a small movement can hurt a lot to the elbow when suffering from Lateral Epicondylitis, which is when you should use an elbow brace.
Elbow braces will support your muscles and won’t let your hand straighten fully, which decreases the pressure on the tendons at the moment when the pain would often be at its worst. However, be sure not to make it too tight to affect circulation.
A proper elbow brace will help you when you sleep, but it can be extremely helpful when you’re awake too. Each time you do chores, walk, and do things like that, your tendons will move, which can hurt. An elbow brace will aid in the process, and as it provides support, it will also make the healing process faster.
5. Rely On Pain Killers If Necessary
If the pain is unbearable, you can rely on pain killers or other medication that will help you sleep, such as melatonin. However, you should understand that they are a short-term ”solution” as they will only hide the pain, not cure it.
Regarding prioritizing healing over anything, let’s take a closer look at how this can be achieved!
How to Treat a Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow can be annoying or horrible, depending on the severity you’re experiencing it. However, don’t think for a second that it is forever as if you take action and let it heal, it will heal. Now, let’s take a look at the three core steps you should take to get rid of the tennis elbow.
1. Avoid Using Your Affected Elbow
The most important thing in treating a tennis elbow is not to use it or as little as possible. The tendons will begin to heal and repair by giving your affected elbow rest. After the appropriate time, you won’t feel pain anymore because it will be healed.
However, this doesen’t happen overnight. Orthobeshesda states that complete healing from a tennis elbow can take weeks, months, or even years! The time range is so long because it depends on your age, speed of healing, and the severity of your tennis elbow.
On average, it takes 1-3 weeks to notice improvement and ease of pain when letting your tennis elbow rest and approximately two months to heal completely. Again, this depends on various factors.
2. Control the Pain at Home
In addition to rest, you can control the pain if you’re experiencing some, as most people are when suffering from a tennis elbow.
There are various methods you can do it, but I suggest warming your elbow in the first place. If you don’t see a noticeable difference, try pain medication. My preferred methods and products are;
- Warm bath before bed
- Voltarine gel according to instructions
- Heating pad when feeling pain and/or at night
- Pain killers for pain
- Melatonin for quick sleep
3. Visit Your Local Doctor
When it comes to health issues, you should always visit a doctor to get insights on the best practices and ensure you aren’t doing anything wrong.
Explain your situation to the doctor and don’t hold anything back, and you will get valuable information and even a prescription for some medication. A visit to a physical therapist could be great, as well as you would get a handful of helping motions and practices to follow.
When dealing with a tennis elbow, you need to have a bit of patience and willingness to heal. If you have both of those, you’re on your way to feeling better!
My Favorite Tennis Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Below you’ll find my top tennis equipment recommendations would like.
- Racket: My preferred tennis racket is the Wilson Ultra 100 V3. This racket is made from graphite and carbon fiber, making it durable, firm, and easy to swing. The racket weighs 300g, making it lightweight yet not too lightweight to generate power. The racket’s main benefit is power. I like to add multifilament strings to the racket, such as Wilson NXT Soft 16 (recommended tension 52lb/23.5kg), because they are comfortable and soft on the arm with a great feel to the game.
- Tennis balls: Best tennis balls are always pressurized, and I like them having extra-duty felt, which is fit for hard court play. I like Penn Championship Tennis Balls, and so does the ITF because these balls are approved for competitive play. So yes, these are the real deal.
- Tennis shoes: I can’t stress enough the importance of comfortable and supporting shoes. ASICS Gel-Resolution 8 tennis shoes are unique because the balance between durability and support mixed with comfort is something out of the ordinary.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.