Golf. I love playing it and look forward to every spring to hit the links. Unfortunately, without fail a few months into the season and after several rounds under my belt, the dreaded “golfers elbow” rears its ugly head.
It makes playing uncomfortable and painful at times, to the point that I would limit my golfing during the summer months to give my elbow a break. At first, I tried the typical treatments:
• Ice after playing
Last year my golfers elbow really flared up and I started to look at other ways to treat it that did not involve the run of the mill solutions (medications).
How to use a TENS Unit for Golfers Elbow?
When placing the tens pad there is some flexibility on where it can be placed. You want to pay attention to where you feel the pain on the elbow and surround the pain
Try placing the 2 pads above the elbow and 2 below. Basically you are surrounding the elbow:
I will typically use the TENS unit for about 20 minutes.
While using the TENS I will also put an ice pack over the electrode pads to help with pain and inflammation.
Do not worry. It is perfectly safe to place an ice pack while you are using a TENS unit.
Most TENS units have multiple modes and settings. You will want to experiment and find the right setting for you.
The ice pack in conjunction with a TENS unit really helps alleviate my golfer’s elbow.
It makes a round of golf more enjoyable knowing that if it flares up I can treat it effectively at home.
So if you do not have 4 pads do not fret. You can also use this was just 2 pads, one above and below the elbow joint. As seen here:
Some tips to follow when using a TENS unit to treat your golfer’s elbow.
DO NOT place an electrode pad over the elbow joint. There is very little muscle and the electrical stimulation will not feel good!
Make sure to wipe any dirt or oil from your skin before placing the electrode pads.
Dirt and oil will break down the stickiness of the electrode pads making them less effective.
Plus who wants to keep buying pads! Clean your skin before using and you will extend the life of the electrode pads.
This a great brace for your golfers elbow. It provides enough compression to suppress the pain and allows you to make it through your round with ease. I would definitely recommend getting a brace when playing golf and this one delivers. Click here to check it out on Amazon.
Need a resource on where else you can safely place a TENS unit electrode pad?
Why should you trust me?
I have extensively used TENS units for neck, shoulder, back and knee issues. I became familiar with TENS therapy through countless visits to my chiropractor and physical therapist’s office. I have spent many hours researching and reading how TENS therapy can alleviate pain.
I consider myself knowledgeable in the use of TENS units and have used them regularly to help manage pain over the years. Many of my recommendations are from firsthand experience/use and hopefully my information can be a benefit to you.
What is Golfer’s Elbow?
It is an overuse of the muscles in the forearm, which allow you to grip and rotate your arm, and flex your wrist when swinging a golf club. This overuse causes inflammation, which causes pain and discomfort.
Check out this video from Physical Therapist’s Bob Schrupp and Brad Heineck on effective self treatment for your golfer’s elbow.
Golfer’s Elbow Symptoms?
The pain is usually on the inside part of the elbow and can sometimes extend along the inner part of your forearm. When I get golfers elbow it feels stiff and my range of motion is reduced, and of course it is painful.
Exercises for golfers elbow [tendonitis]
So basically you would want to use TENS therapy to reduce your pain but in order to address the source of your golfers elbow it is best to get in the habit of doing a stretching exercise routine.
Below is a picture of some common elbow stretches that I have used that help.
You may do the stretching exercises right away. You may do the strengthening exercises when stretching is nearly painless.
Wrist active range of motion, flexion and extension: Bend the wrist of your injured arm forward and back as far as you can. Do 2 sets of 15.
Wrist stretch: Press the back of the hand on your injured side with your other hand to help bend your wrist. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Next, stretch the hand back by pressing the fingers in a backward direction. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Keep the arm on your injured side straight during this exercise. Do 3 sets.
Forearm pronation and supination: Bend the elbow of your injured arm 90 degrees, keeping your elbow at your side. Turn your palm up and hold for 5 seconds. Then slowly turn your palm down and hold for 5 seconds. Make sure you keep your elbow at your side and bent 90 degrees while you do the exercise. Do 2 sets of 15.
Eccentric wrist flexion: Hold a can or hammer handle in the hand of your injured side with your palm up. Use the hand on the side that is not injured to bend your wrist up. Then let go of your wrist and use just your injured side to lower the weight slowly back to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 15. Gradually increase the weight you are holding.
Eccentric wrist extension: Hold a soup can or hammer handle in the hand of your injured side with your palm facing down. Use the hand on the side that is not injured to bend your wrist up. Then let go of your wrist and use just your injured side to lower the weight slowly back to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 15. Gradually increase the weight you are holding.
Grip strengthening: Squeeze a soft rubber ball and hold the squeeze for 5 seconds. Do 2 sets of 15.
Forearm pronation and supination strengthening: Hold a soup can or hammer handle in your hand and bend your elbow 90 degrees. Slowly turn your hand so your palm is up and then down. Do 2 sets of 15.
Resisted elbow flexion and extension: Hold a can of soup with your palm up. Slowly bend your elbow so that your hand is coming toward your shoulder. Then lower it slowly so your arm is completely straight. Do 2 sets of 15. Slowly increase the weight you are using.
In combination with the TENS unit the stretching exercises really has allowed me to golf more often without feeling that dull ache in my elbow. Using the TENS unit did not cure my golfers elbow but it did the next best thing:
It definitely helped with reducing the pain!
I have seen some improvement with the stretching exercises but being able to use the TENS unit after a round of golf has been a game changer for me. Less pain and more golf. Who wouldn’t want that?
Thank you as always for reading,