Can Tennis Elbow be Treated With Low-Level Laser Therapy?

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sports chiropractor in south bayAthletic minded people in the bay area that need top level care and treatment should employ the services of a good sports chiropractor in south bay. A professional sports chiropractor specializes in soft tissue therapy, nutrition for sports enhancement, personalized fitness training, and weight loss. The focus of chiropractic sports medicine is to offer care in the management, rehabilitation and performance optimization of neuromusculoskeletal systems.

Tennis Elbow

One of the most painful conditions of the elbow caused by playing tennis and other racquet sports is tennis elbow. Also called lateral epicondylitis, tennis elbow can also be caused by other sports and activities. It is an inflammation of the tendons that link the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow. As a self-limiting condition, it can gradually get better without treatment; however, going without treatment can cause it to last for several months.

Causes of Tennis Elbow

Athletes often experience tenderness and pain on the outside of their elbows due to strenuous and repetitive activity. Straining of the forearm muscles and tendons causes inflammation and tiny tears to develop near the lateral epicondyle.

The condition is not limited to athletes only. Other work or recreation activities that require repetitive and vigorous motion can also cause tennis elbow. Carpenters, painters, gardeners, and plumbers are also prone to develop the condition. In fact, research has shown that butchers, cooks, and even autoworkers suffer from tennis elbow more than the rest of the population.


The symptoms of tennis elbow develop progressively. In most cases, the pain is mild and slowly worsens over time. The pain becomes severe when one uses the arm, particularly for twisting movements. Other symptoms include:

  • Upper forearm pain
  • Pain when bending or lifting the arm
  • Pain when gripping small objects or writing
  • Stiffness and pain when fully extending the forearm

Treatment of Tennis Elbow

There are a number of simple treatments that can ease the pain; however, the most important part of treatment is rest. A long rest from any activity that can aggravate the condition will allow the tiny tears in the tendon to heal. Depending on the severity of the condition, one may need to rest for weeks or even months.

Low-Level Laser Therapy

This medical treatment uses light emitting diodes or low-level lasers to alter cellular function. It involves focusing a laser at the elbow. Researchers have looked into using different laser strengths directed at different parts of the arm to see what works best. Some of those studies have found that directing a low-level laser over the injured tendon can alleviate pain; however, any improvements may last for two months only.

Low-level laser therapy is still controversial in conventional medicine; therefore, there is ongoing research to establish whether the procedure really works. In addition, researchers are trying to determine the ideal wavelength, dose, timing, duration, pulsing, and location of treatment; i.e., over nerves versus joints.

About Kenneth Dulude

Kenneth Dulude is a writer, avid reader and a history nut. Other hobbies include music (both listening and playing) and cooking.