How We Treat Tennis Elbow and Golfers Elbow At Featherston Street Pain Clinic

Our 3 Step Treatment Process

Successful management and relief of stubborn tennis elbow & golfer’s elbow can be surprisingly straight forward. Yet in other instances a systematic, focused, and persistent approach may be required to get your pain under control. 

We specialise in providing flexible ‘multidisciplinary’ pain relief – using a wide range of tools and techniques. This ensures we have the best possible chance that we can help everyone: from the most easy straightforward cases right through to the most treatment resistant forms of tennis elbow & golfers elbow.

Step One

Find The Cause

Step Two

Hands On Pain Relief

Step Three

Rehabilitation And Prevention

Step One - Find the Cause

Getting to the bottom of your tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow means finding out where exactly the pain is coming from – and exactly what is really causing it. Usually not tennis or golf!

We have a wide range of technologies and tests at our disposal, in order to identify the sources of pain.The first thing we want to know is which tissues are generating your tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow. 

Tennis elbow & golfer’s elbow can come from muscle, tendons or fascia (connective tissue). Establishing clearly which tissue is creating the pain is the first step towards relief. But we don’t stop there because we also want to know why it’s hurting.

Some tennis elbow & golfers elbow pains are caused by damaged or degenerated tissue. Some tennis elbow & golfers elbow pains are caused by scar tissue from old injuries. Some tennis elbow & golfers elbow are caused by the nature of a person’s job. Some tennis elbow & golfer’s elbow are even caused by psychological stress. 

Finding out why you have tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow pain is essential if you want longer term relief. Which is why we place great importance on this step. 

If you need an X Ray or MRI to diagnose your pain we can organise a referral for the relevant imaging for you on the spot.

Step Two - Hands On Pain Relief

In most cases of tennis elbow & golfer’s elbow, it’s necessary to work with a team who combine a variety of technologies and hands-on methods to ease your pain. So that’s exactly what we do.

Most people who require treatment for stubborn tennis elbow or golfers elbow pain don’t respond particularly well to just being given home exercises. Much in the same way that most people with toothache wouldn’t respond too well to just being sent home with dental floss. 

If you have a chronic tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow situation you almost certainly need hands on treatments with professionals who are trained to physically relieve pain. We use some of the most advanced pain technology available anywhere combined with a wide range of skill based manual techniques.

Step Three - Rehabilitation And Prevention

Successful prevention of tennis elbow & golfer’s elbow in the longer term often requires more than just the right ‘treatments’. 

For many patients, tennis elbow & golfers elbow treatment that brings some blessed relief is often just the start point. Exercises, postural correction, lifestyle tweaks, workstation tweaks and even dietary tweaks are often necessary. 

Most cases of tennis elbow & golfer’s elbow are either caused by an injury, something that we are doing wrong or something that the body needs help with like strength or alignment. Making necessary adjustments to your lifestyle and the wellbeing of your body may be necessary for longer term success. Coaching for these important changes in those who wish to make them is a part of what we do


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Treatments And Technologies We Use To Treat Tennis Elbow and Golfers Elbow

It should go without saying that we have a tendency to hold tension in our shoulders. This kind of tension Is a major contributor to many cases of shoulder pain. By using specific stretch techniques for the muscles in the shoulder you can often release a great deal of tension from the shoulder and shoulders. Post Isometric stretches are a specific style of stretching that utilises your muscle’s tendency to relax after it has contracted strongly. 

ShockwaveTherapy was originally researched and developed in the 1980s for the non-invasive treatment of kidney stones. Later it was discovered that the same sound soundwaves have a profoundly beneficial effect on injured soft tissues and even bone.

The startling effects of Shockwave Therapy that have been observed in the scientific literature include: blood vessel regeneration – reduction of pain signals – regeneration of bone tissue – prevention of cartilage degeneration – increase in tissue ‘growth factors’ – reversal of chronic inflammation re-absorption of calcification in the tendon – reducing tendinopathies. These effects are a glimpse into how useful shockwave is in the treatment of tennis elbow & golfer’s elbow. Shockwave is widely considered the treatment of choice for chronic soft tissue pains in the elbow and forearm.

Low Energy Laser Therapy is the application of specific deeply penetrating light waves to a painful area. Light with a wavelength in the red to near infrared region of the spectrum (660nm–905nm) is generally employed because these wavelengths have the ability to penetrate skin, and soft/hard tissues.  

Lasers like these are known to trigger the release of a substance called ATP within cells, this indicates that the treatment boosts tissue metabolism in painful areas. A great many clinical trials have shown this type of treatment has a meaningful effect on inflammation and tissue repair. In our experience people with tennis elbow & golfer’s elbow often experience immediate improvements in their pain after laser sessions.

A large number of people suffer with stubborn tennis elbow & golfer’s elbow caused partly by soft tissue adhesions. A bit like a tiny spider web that creates tissue tension and irritation. These types of adhesions can come from almost any history of physical injury, trauma or overuse. 

Graston Technique is like a form of specialised massage that utilises ‘scraping’ tools to release the connective tissues. Using Graston Technique to release adhesions can bring shockingly fast relief for many tennis elbow & golfers elbow sufferers. Even for those patients who have struggled for years.

In the world of pain management there has been a very decisive move away from ímmobilisation’’ in favour of more active types of rehab in the last 30 or so years. And yet in NZ at least bracing for tennis elbow & golfers elbow pain is still surprisingly common given that the evidence has led largely away from these types of approach.

While bone and soft tissue are healing from major breaks and tears bracing, casts and splints are essential. Beyond that a modern take on pain management broadly indicates that you should be suspicious of managing your pain in a way that favours bracing over intense hands on treatment and exercise prescription.

There is an important nuance to understand about the use of exercises in tennis elbow & golfers elbow pain management. Exercises are a vital part of the longer term rehab of arm pain. In the short term however exercises often either have little effect or slightly aggravate your condition.

If you have a significant build up of muscle knots, soft tissue adhesions or tendinopathies it is way too much to expect that exercises alone will resolve them. Most stubborn cases of tennis elbow & golfer’s elbow require hands on treatment before they are truly responsive to exercise prescription.

Pain relief first, exercises later, is an excellent rule to observe for most tennis elbow & golfers elbow cases.

Acupuncture can be extremely helpful in the management of many cases of tennis elbow & golfer’s elbow.  As opposed to the traditional approach to acupuncture (where needles are placed in a wider set of related locations) we generally focus directly on the area of pain.

Needling aims to promote blood flow, ease painful pressure points in soft tissues and reduce pain signals. Needles are placed very superficially around the area of pain and we generally leave them in for around 10 minutes, depending on your body’s tolerance to them. If acupuncture works for your  tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow the benefits are usually felt within the first 2-3 sessions.

Trigger point release techniques use the hands to release those painful muscle points that are all too easy to find in and around literally all chronically painful body parts. 

There’s still no full scientific understanding of the role myofascial trigger points play in pain. It’s a very hard thing to study and the truth is we still don’t know much about the body.  

Meanwhile, in the front lines where pain is treated day in and day out; treatments that release myofascial trigger points bring dramatic improvements for a great many sufferers of tennis elbow & golfers elbow.

The Mayo Clinic is one of the world’s foremost medical research institutions, their website lists the following known cortisone side effects: Cartilage damage – death of bone tissue –  joint infection – nerve damage – joint inflammation – tendon weakening and rupture – thinning of bone (osteoporosis) – permanent thinning of skin and soft tissue around the injection site.

Maybe you might consider trying our long list of treatments that carry no long term side effects whatsoever before you consider risking a cortisone injection as treatment for your tennis elbow & golfer’s elbow.

Our 5 Pain Treatment Fundamentals

Hands On Treatments

We are in the business of helping you get out of pain. The heart of our clinical process is a committed and very hands on approach to getting you out of pain as quickly and painlessly  as possible. We are willing to use a wide range of tools and also to work tirelessly in our efforts to get you out of pain.

Flexible Treatment Approach

Even among professionals there is little agreement on the best ways to treat pain. But there is one thing that we know for certain about pain management, it’s that a flexible multidisciplinary treatment approach to arm pains is best. This is why we take such great care to provide the most diverse range of pain relief tools possible under one roof.

Get To The Bottom Of It

The human body seldom if ever generates pain for no reason. Pain is a highly organised and intelligent form of feedback that has evolved over millions of years. In other words.. if you have pain it will be for a good reason. We always strive to find the deepest possible explanation for your pain so that you have the best possible chance of preventing it in the longer term.

Excellent Communication

Unlike a one-off filling at the dentist, successfully getting most tennis elbow & golfers elbow pains under control is a process. A process that often requires commitment, trust and clear communication. We believe that clear and open communication combined with genuine rapport is fundamental within our arsenal of pain management tools.

Assume Nothing 

Just because a treatment has worked for us a thousand times before; doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to work on you! Pain relief is not a ‘1 size fits all’ moment in life. We monitor your response to treatment very closely. This approach enables us to make agile treatment protocols that can be altered in real time should we find you aren’t responding to the tools and techniques that we expect to work for you.

Appointment Request Form

If you are in a lot of pain and need an urgent appointment please call us. If you need a regular appointment just fill out the form below and we will be in touch.