The Unexpected Gifts of Tennis Elbow

By Rachel Livoni

If you’re up for embracing a different approach to life you can shift the frustration of tennis elbow into your blossoming benefit or prevent it all together by following three practices.

Elbow tennis otherwise known as lateral epicondylitis happens with repetitive stress to forearm tendons causing painful inflammation when you try to grasp a tool or do normal everyday activities.

Tennis elbow came into my life at the worst time. I endured a brachial plexus injury 4 years ago and repetitive writing, cooking, and gardening over the years eventually developed into severe tennis elbow.  The pain gradually worsened until I lost total use of my right hand for over a year. All my simple pleasures in life stopped. I was devastated and now 100% dependent on a family member. I thought I was never going to be able to return to what brought me joy in life.  I lost touch with all my careers and identities as a result.

I began the long road of physical therapy, supplements, and self assurance that it does go away, there is indeed a cure, and it is preventable.  Along the road to recovery I unearthed unexpected gifts which ended up being so profound, and humbling, that I am grateful today it’s been a part of my journey.

If tennis elbow is a part of your journey I hope to shed some light and hope on what can feel like a debilitating experience.

If you have tennis elbow now use these 5 TIPS TO ACCOMMODATE TENNIS ELBOW INJURIES;

  1. Commit to showing up anyways in your practice of gardening with the intention that it will be in a different way you’ve never done before.  Please don’t give it up.
  2. Do strengthening exercises as routinely as possible. You can learn tennis elbow exercises from a physical therapist or from videos on YouTube. It should take no more than 15 minutes a day to do this and in the long run makes a dramatic difference.
  3. Use a tennis elbow strap on the forearm or wrist brace while gardening. While it may get frustrating, this will remind you to stop using the same repetitive motions over and over again.
  4. Be willing to learn how to garden using your non-dominant hand more. This will be frustrating but give yourself the gift of endless patience in learning how to use your body in a different way.
  5. Let go of perfectionism. Now is not the time. Patience. Patience. Patience.

As with any unannounced life altering condition try not to get discouraged by what you can’t do.  Rather, entertain the possibility that life is calling you to treat yourself in a different way immediately.  Entertain it as an opportunity to enjoy life with more purpose, presence, ambidextrous power, and less stress.

If you’re interested in tennis elbow prevention here are 3  Healthy Prevention Practices to keep your tendons and bones healthy and happy all season long.

  1. 1. Practice being ambidextrous with your activities including how you kneel, sit, or plot.
  2. 2. Ice or heat body parts that ache depending on health Practitioner’s recommendations and what feels good to your body.
  3. 3. Have your natural stance, posture, and feet evaluated. It turns out a pivotal part of my recovery was completely restructuring my shoulder carriage and how to plant my feet in the correct position while I stand. It’s amazing how my feet affected my wrist and elbow!

Life can feel like seasons. Sometimes we’re blossoming, blooming, and exhilarating life without restraint. Other times unexpected events or body parts slow us down into what feels like a cold dormant hibernating winter. Which ever season you feel like your  life is in, more patience, slowing down, and taking a different approach on how you treat yourself will always yield a bountiful harvest.

Keep being you. It’s working.

With lots of joy and love to your elbows this season.

About the author:

Rachel Livoni is a personal transformation author, certified food and spirit practitioner, wife, treehugger, and a whole happy human enjoying the complexities of life in Oakland, CA. She can be reached at RJLROOT@GMAIL.COM.

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