Help! Going INsane!

Original Post
Immanuel Bissell · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0

I have now had tendinitis in both of my elbows and my wrist for a month and a half and haven't been able climb since. I am actually going Insane. The worst part is not only can I not climb, but I cant work on calisthenics and the such other than legs and crunches. I have tried everything, ice, heat, braces,Ibuprofin, accupunture, over a month of rest, stretching, not stretching, eccentric exercises, and next week I'm trying freaking cupping. Does anyone have anything that can help!?!?. Im dying here.

Don Ferris · · Eldorado Springs · Joined Nov 2012 · Points: 175

I started to feel elbow pain when I first started climbing and someone told me to do push-ups after every time I climb. I did for a while and haven't had the problem since.

John Ryan · · Poncha Springs, CO · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 165

I was plagued with elbow tendinitis constantly for years. A buddy recommended magnesium supplements. I've been taking a magnesium zinc calcium supplement for over a year and it has been a miracle cure for me. Opposition exercises are good but weren't adequate for me. Wrist curl negatives and frying pan negatives are great and helped me a lot ( Dr. Julian Sanders has the best info on these online ) but with those I still had some pain. Now I just do the supplement and I have zero pain. Good luck, tendinitis sux and kept me from getting stronger for years.

Peter Beal · · Boulder Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,740

Having just begun to get over a case of tennis elbow after more than two months, I will suggest the following:

1. Tendinitis/Tendinosis is caused by long-term degradation induced by low-level persistent muscle tension, especially in the flexors, extensors, biceps and brachioradialis, and triceps. This tension is the result of lots of things including climbing, working, computer use, phone use, bad posture and so on, causing muscle fatigue, knots, adhesions, etc., that prevent the tendon from repairing itself. The tendon will not repair itself until the muscle issues are resolved

2. Stretching and exercising (eccentrics, etc.) will not reduce or eliminate this nearly as effectively as deep tissue work in the affected muscle areas. You need to clear out the persistent muscle tension before you do anything else. So skip the wrist curls. They don't work until the underlying forces that cause the tendon to hurt are resolved. Begin with a professional PT who is familiar with climbing if possible

3. Resting doesn't work either. You need some level of inflammatory response to provoke healing and repair. This can easily be achieved by a combination of easy high-volume climbing, gentle exercise with a Theraband armbar, and regular self-massage with The Stick or similar device, such as an Armaid.

4.Icing is not necessary and may hinder the inflammatory process. Heat before exercise appears to be a good idea or alternating heat and cold to promote blood and other fluid circulation. Braces and tape are a waste of time since you need to move the affected area and get fluid moving freely. Anti-inflammatory medications do exactly the wrong thing. Don't take them. Cortisone and surgery are last-resort measures.

5.You need to self-examine your movement and life patterns to see if you have certain habits that could promote muscle imbalance and fatigue and prevent muscle and tendon healing. It could be really simple to change so look for that first. Make time and have a budget for professionally done bodywork on a regular basis if you are a serious climber.

Good luck!

Mark NH · · 03053 · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 0

I had tennis elbow last year and exhausted normal treatments / PT and finally got a shot. Continued to climb easy but re-injured ice climbing again. I continued to stretch, thera bar stretches, trigger point massage for the next couple months and it got somewhat better.

What really helped was "dry needling" - so I highly recommend that. Along with the above too.

I think I'd disagree about rest not helping as it certainly does for me since this bout I've rested and it's gotten better in a much shorter period of time. Also from everything I've been told "all or nothing exercise" - like push ups are not good to do.

I take turmeric supplement for anti inflammatory purposes and swear by it!

kevin neville · · Somerville, MA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 15

What Peter said. I've been seeing a good PT (Marissa Frank, Boston Sports Medicine) for my right elbow. Tendonosis of the finger flexors where they originate near the elbow. We started with deep tissue work and "scraping" with a tool like a butter knife.

Except I do think that stretching very regularly is good for me. Hands flat against a wall, arms straight, so the wrist is highly extended. If you feel any warning signals from the wrist area, respect them! When I started I was amazed at how much tighter my right side was (maybe a 10 or 15 degree difference in the angle of wrist extension). I hold the stretch for 30 or more seconds. Did that a couple of times a day for a while and my tendonosis greatly improved. Slacked off and it worsened.

I've also taken to stretching my forearms in between climbs/pitches. Especially if I don't warm up properly, my forearm muscles tend to stay constricted even after I've stopped using them. Stretching helps them to relax.

Peter Beal · · Boulder Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,740

I should have clarified. I stretch all the time as well but stretching by itself will not get the healing process started as well as deep tissue work. After that I think serious stretching, especially in the forearms and biceps is very helpful. But get the muscles worked over a bit first.

The Blueprint Part Dank · · FEMA Region VIII · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 460

This was all I could think about when I saw this post's title

Immanuel Bissell · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0

Followingwhat leter said, should i be doing easy climbing instead of pure resting?

Peter Beal · · Boulder Colorado · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 1,740

By easy I mean roughly 2 or 3 number grades below your max, even easier if you have significant pain. I did a lot (4-600feet per session) of auto-belaying at 5.10 or lower, climbing up and down. With a little work you should find a level you can handle. Easy trad is good too except for the rope handling. That's why auto-belaying is so handy, plus the small amount of weight off! :)

Immanuel Bissell · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0

Thank you!

Charlie S · · Ogden, UT · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 1,471

Elbows are complex and it depends on exactly what kind of tennis/golfers elbow you have.

I have found this stretch to be particularly useful:

And I have to do reverse suppination after every climbing day. It can take a few weeks to see the benefits.

Eccentrics certainly hold promise and if you aren't already doing them, add it in.

I've heard great things about the Arm Aid but have yet to use it.

Dave MacLeod's "Make or Break" is a great read too and may provide some insight.

Vertical Addiction · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 16

Work on balance with no hands slab boulders. It worked to keep me from going insane when I broke my wrist last year.

dragons · · MWV, NH · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 625

Might want to check this link at the NY Times - An Easy Fix for Tennis Elbow?

I can't vouch for the method, since I've never had that particular problem, but I read it and it stuck in my mind as being potentially useful some day.

John Pikus · · Central Utah · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 85

These exercises worked wonders for me:

Mike Lane · · Centennial, CO · Joined Jan 2006 · Points: 905

I thought that you were going to talk about the membrane. Disappointing.

Rick Blair · · Denver · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 268

I posted here about tennis elbow about 6 months ago and got all sorts of advice about message special exercises, Etc. Nothing seemed to work. I just decided to keep climbing, max bouldering grade for me is V5 gym, yes I have been climbing for about 17 years and yes I suck, but, I just bouldered V1 and 2 in the gym, easy trad outside and stayed at or below 10b for 2 or 3 months at gym and iit went away on its own. I also avoided pinches, especially on overhangs

My expert advice, not being an actual expert, keep moving, take it easy

Klimbien · · St.George Orem Denver Vegas · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 410

+1 to everything Peter said, his alternating ice and heat is a very good idea. Ice by itself will be helpful. If your plan to do one though you may as well incorporate the other too.

Ryan U. · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 40

Some good advice already. Grab a brace and climb on routes well within your ability and focus on pure technique. Do not make that move if you are not in balance. It's a slow process but 6 months later I can climb brace and pain free with the occasional flare up when doing something repetitive.

Grab every type of massager you can find, foam roller was my favorite.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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