Tennis elbow doesn’t just afflict tennis players. Many people experience tennis elbow pain, but relief can be found! Learn more about the exercises that can reduce your pain and about how to prevent this painful condition in the future.
What is tennis elbow?
Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a condition that causes pain on the outside of your elbow. This condition affects not only tennis players but many people whose jobs require repetitive arm and wrist movements and twisting. If the pain is on the inside of your elbow, you might have golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis).
– Pain on the outside of your elbow which may radiate down to your forearm and wrist
– Pain may occur when shaking hands, holding a cup of coffee, or turning a doorknob
– Overuse and muscle strain causing small tears in the tendons that attach the forearm muscles to the bone
Who is at risk?
- Tennis elbow is most common in people between the ages of 30 and 50
- It’s most common in people with jobs involving repetitive motions of the arm:
- Tennis or golf players
- Office workers that use a computer mouse frequently
Tennis Elbow Pain Relief
If you’ve determined that you have tennis elbow, your first thought is probably, “How do I relieve my pain?” Rest is the first step. If rest alone isn’t enough, this eccentric exercise can help. (Eccentric means the exercise contracts and lengthens your muscle at the same time.)
You’ll need: A TheraBand FlexBar
1. Using your injured side, hold the FlexBar vertically in front of you with your palm facing towards you
2. Grasp the top of the bar with your other hand, palm facing outward
3. Twist the bar using your upper hand
4. Continue holding while extending your arms, so the bar is now horizontal
5. Slowly release the bar using your injured side while keeping tension on the uninjured side
6. Repeat 10-15 times, three times a day
7. Move to the next resistance level when this becomes easy
Use the TheraBand FlexBar® to improve grip strength in the arm, hand and shoulder.
The Tyler Twist is Research-Proven to Reduce Tennis Elbow Pain
Article: Addition of isolated wrist extensor eccentric exercise to standard treatment for chronic lateral epicondylosis: A prospective randomized trial
Participants: 21 patients with chronic unilateral lateral epicondylosis (tennis elbow)
Study Summary: Patients were randomly assigned to either an eccentric training group or a standard treatment group. Both groups received similar treatment, except the standard treatment group also performed isotonic wrist extensor strengthening and the eccentric group performed isolated eccentric wrist extensor strengthening (performing the Tyler Twist using a TheraBand FlexBar).
The study looked at several measures including VAS (visual analog scale) scores to measure pain, DASH (disability of arm, shoulder, and hand) to measure subjective disability, hand dynamometer readings to measure strength, and pressure algometer readings to measure tenderness.
Study Statistics: The eccentric group improved their pain level 81% compared to only 22% in the standard treatment group. The FlexBar group also improved their DASH score 76% vs. 15% in the standard group. Additionally, strength improved 79% in the eccentric group, but only 15% in the standard treatment group.
Overall Results: The eccentric program proved to be an effective method of treating chronic lateral epicondylitis. It reduced pain and disability and improved strength more than the standard treatment group. In fact, the results were so much better compared to the other group, that the study was terminated so all participants could benefit from the more effective treatment.
Reviews: What do FlexBar users say about the product?
“Had chronic tennis elbow in my right forearm for about 3 months, was pretty severe, and felt like I was going to have to live with it the rest of my life. I read about the TheraBand FlexBar somewhere online and ordered one. I was very skeptical but for a minimal investment I thought I should give it a try. The first couple of days I could barely do the prescribed exercise due to pain, but only after 1 week of using the Flexbar my pain has subsided substantially, I almost can’t believe how fast this is working. I am able to use my right hand to grip again where before it was painful just to hold a mug of coffee. Really liking the results…”
-A. Powers, Amazon Customer
Outstanding – Near immediate relief from tennis elbow pain
“A couple weeks of strenuous yard and remodeling work – way above my average – kicked off my first tennis elbow experience, at 40-ish. I’m a fairly strong guy with a few years of weight training experience, but ice, rest, compression, stretching, flossing, etc. wouldn’t touch it. About three months in, I found references and videos for the FlexBar. I started with green, and felt near immediate relief from my first Tyler Twist set. I’m not out of the woods, but there’s been more progress in a week than the previous three months. I’m at the point where I forget I’ve had tennis elbow until I make a bad movement and get a little zing as a reminder. That’s happening less often…”
-T. Mahoney, Amazon Customer
I had my doubts that it would help but it really does! UPDATED….. still no pain whatsoever!!!!!!!!!!
“I had my doubts that it would help but it really does! I am amazed at how fast it has helped my tennis elbow. It does hurt (sometimes quite bad) but since that was a common comment I went with it and am sure glad I did…. UPDATE – April 2018: Well, I use the arm that I had SERIOUS tennis elbow in more than my left, (especially a lot of screwdriver work) and in my workouts it gets a lot of hard use. STILL NO PAIN WHATSOEVER after serious problems prior to TheraBand use. And it didn’t take but a little while to see PERMANENT relief.”
-Soundman, Amazon Customer (originally posted May 2017)
Miracle cure for tennis elbow!
“After months of trying the traditional treatment of ice, rest, and NSAIDs for lateral epicondylitis (“tennis elbow”), and finding no relief, I searched for physical therapy exercises and came across the “Tyler Twist” that uses the Thera-Band Flexbar. All I can say is that it’s a miracle cure. By the time I built up to doing 15 repetitions (which took about a week), the symptoms were almost gone…”
– Kevin Craig, Amazon Customer
What do the professionals say about the TheraBand FlexBar?
“The eccentric “Tyler Twist” exercise is a key part of our comprehensive treatment programme for tennis elbow in our clinic. The evidence behind this exercise is compelling and the patient response has been excellent in the overall treatment of this common malady.”
-Todd Ellenbecker, DPT, MS, SCS, OCS, CSCS
Rehab Plus Sports Therapy Scottsdale, AZ
As seen in the NYT article: Phys Ed: An Easy Fix for Tennis Elbow?
This New York Times article discusses how performing the Tyler Twist using a TheraBand FlexBar is an inexpensive, effective way to treat tennis elbow. It also discusses the original study and its results.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Tyler Twist
- Should I feel pain during the Tyler Twist exercise?
- It’s okay to feel pain during the exercise, it means you are targeting the correct area. You may also feel soreness afterwards. You can ice the area after exercise to help relieve this discomfort. If your pain worsens or lasts more than a couple of weeks, consult a medical professional; you may be performing the exercise incorrectly or you may not have tennis elbow.
- What if I need immediate tennis elbow pain relief?
- The FlexBar exercise begins to work quickly for most people and it is the best long-term solution. For fast, temporary relief, you can apply Biofreeze to help relieve your elbow pain.
- What color FlexBar should I start with?
- Most women start with the red FlexBar, while most men start with the green FlexBar for the Tyler Twist exercise. Complete15 repetitions for three sets. When this becomes easy, you can progress to the next difficulty level. The TheraBand FlexBar comes in four resistances, yellow, red, green, and blue (extra light to heavy resistances).
- What side should I exercise first if both of my elbows have tennis elbow?
- Most people start exercising the most painful side first. After your pain begins to decrease, you can then exercise the other side.
- What’s the difference between golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow? Is there an exercise I can do to relieve golfer’s elbow pain?
- The primary difference between golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow are the locations where you feel pain. Golfer’s elbow causes pain on the inside of your elbow. Tennis elbow causes pain on the outside of your elbow. You can use the Reverse Tyler Twist and other exercises to help relieve your golfer’s elbow pain.
5 Tips on How to Prevent Tennis Elbow
1. Warm up and stretch before and during activities that require repetitive arm motions
2. Attempt to reduce repetitive hand and arm movements when possible
3. Wear a tennis elbow strap during sports and activities that use the same arm movements over and over
4. Use racquets, gardening tools, etc. with larger handles to reduce strain
5. Ask a coach to help with your form during sports like tennis. The correct technique reduces your chance of injury