Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow are the typical names given to elbow pain; tennis being pain on the outside of the elbow and golf being pain on the inside of the elbow. The more technical term is lateral epicondylitis which simply indicates tendonitis in a specific location. Putting a name to elbow pain doesn’t really help you get rid of it, but understanding why it happens and where it comes from will.
Tendons are the tough bit of tissue that attaches muscle to bones, and tendonitis literally means inflammation of the tendon. This term can be misleading when it comes to elbow pain because many people have pain that persists for months in the complete absence of swelling and inflammation. That is because elbow pain is not just an overuse injury. It happens when the muscles being used are in an irritable state due to a nerve irritation stemming from your neck and shoulder. Nerves are the electrical wiring of muscles and when they are irritated, it doesn’t take much to overuse the muscles and tendons that they innervate, resulting in inflammation and pain. If you rest the joint, the body will heal the inflammation, but the nerve irritation may persist and thus the inflammation and pain will return as soon as you attempt to use your arm again.
Radial nerve extends from base of neck, through shoulder, down to elbow
Muscles are comprised of a whole bunch of stringy tissue that can stretch and contract. The muscle should have a certain amount of resting tone in it, i.e. at rest it is slightly contracted, not flaccid or extremely tense; this is dictated by the input of the nerve. If the nerve is irritated as it extends from the spine, or anywhere in the periphery it will result in an altered signal getting to the muscle. Read More