Tennis Elbow Can Originate in the Neck
It might seem funny but tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) can be caused by a problem in the neck. In our compartmentalized health care system, we have been taught that where the pain is, is where the cause is. This is rarely true. Imbalances in muscle tone through the spine can cause extremity imbalances that result in lateral epicondylitis.
In this article, we will address how upper cervical spine injuries can lead to spinal misalignment causing muscle tone imbalances throughout the body leading to tennis elbow and other conditions. This finding was elucidated from a research article titled “The Prevalence of Medial Epicondylitis Among Patients With C6 and C7 Radiculopathy.”1
Our Los Angeles Upper Cervical Health Care office specializes in correcting neck injuries and has been helping people recover from health problems naturally for 18 years.
Lateral Epicondylitis Symptoms and Presentation:
The symptoms of tennis elbow include pain and tenderness in the bony knob on the outside of your elbow. This knob is where the injured tendons connect to the bone. The pain may also radiate into the upper or lower arm. Although the damage is in the elbow, you're likely to hurt when doing things with your hands.
- Lift something
- Make a fist or grip an object, such as a tennis racket
- Open a door or shake hands
- Raise your hand or straighten your wrist
Patients experiencing tennis elbow feel pain in the same spot pain can be referred to when pressure is placed on the C67 nerve root. This condition is called cervical radiculopathy. The C67 nerve root leaves the spinal cord in the lower cervical spine and travels from the neck down the arm. When this nerve becomes entrapped, neck and arm pain can develop with pain traveling down to the elbow and below. The c67 nerve root can be irritated in many different ways.
Tight muscles in the neck due to loss of cervical lordosis (normal neck curve) can entrap the brachial plexus (nerve network that supplies the arm). It can also be affected by the cervical disk and IVF stenosis. These three factors can predispose the patient to develop tennis elbow.
This may be the first study to show that elbow pain occurs as a result of muscle weakness because the C67 spinal nerve is compromised. The elbow pain and dysfunction aren’t caused by local microtrauma of the tendon at all but from altered muscle function as a result of the cervical radiculopathy.
When nerve innervation of the muscles is interrupted, then weakness can make even everyday activities seem like overuse resulting in what looks like traditional lateral epicondylitis.
How Can You Correct The Underlying Neck Issue Associated With Tennis Elbow?
Upper Cervical Spine injuries predispose people who are actively using their arms a lot to develop tennis elbow. The postural control centers for the body are housed inside of the atlas and axis vertebrae(C-1 and C-2) in the upper cervical spine. When an injury occurs to the neck spinal misalignment can occur compromising normal postural muscle tone.
This often leads to a loss of cervical lordosis which can be one of the leading factors involved in tennis elbow. In order to correct the underlying cause, it is important that people who suffer from tendinitis see an upper cervical doctor make sure that their postural tone in the spine is functioning properly
What Does An Upper Cervical Chiropractor Do? Our Los Angeles Upper Cervical Offices
In our Los Angeles offices, we have four doctors that practice the Blair Upper Cervical Chiropractic Technique. The goal of this procedure is to determine if you have had a prior neck injury that has caused a spinal misalignment in the upper cervical spine that is interfering with normal nervous system function.
This is done through a battery of tests. Once it is determined that the patient has a spinal misalignment precise imaging is taken using CBCT or Digital X-ray to see the exact direction of misalignment. By looking at each individual joint the doctor can visualize how far the atlas has misaligned and the direction.
This information is then used to make a precise spinal correction. Since the upper cervical spine has a global impact on postural control once corrected the positive effects on a host of health problems can be experienced by those who undertake the care.
While the goal of the procedure isn’t to treat symptoms, when the body functions better it is better able to heal through many different health challenges. The goal of the care is for the spinal correction to stay in its normal range of motion for as long as possible. Periodic spinal checkups are recommended following recovery to ensure maximum health potential.
If you or a loved one is suffering from tennis elbow or other chronic health problems our Los Angeles offices offer a free consultation with no obligation. If you are outside of the Los Angeles area and need an upper cervical doctor near you we can be reached at 310 324-6172 (Carson office) or 213 399-7772 for our Los Angeles office.