The excitement and rush of playing tennis is all too often followed by inflammation and pain, especially when played on a high level.
Most tennis players will be well aware of lateral epicondylitis, the condition also known as tennis elbow. The issue causes inflammation and pain in the tendons of the elbow, often making it difficult or painful to flex the elbow joint. This can make playing tennis a very painful or impossible task, often even interfering with other activities and making living a normal life uncomfortable.
This situation is made even worse by the current unprecedented epidemic that has forced many doctor’s surgeries to close temporarily, meaning many sufferers are potentially on their own.
Luckily, CBD has been showing a lot of promise for managing both chronic pain and inflammation. While studies are ongoing, the existing evidence is positive that CBD can help reduce the symptoms of tennis elbow and get players back on the court in less time.
But how does it work, and which CBD should you use?
We’ll take you through the science in this guide so that you can make the right decision, but first:
What is Tennis Elbow and What Causes It?
Tennis elbow is a form of repetitive strain injury. It is caused by consistent and repeated elbow and wrist movements during tennis training and matches. It can also be caused by similar sports such as badminton or squash, as well as jobs that require repeated actions.
These repetitive and often fast movements overwork the tendons of the outer elbow and cause a strain, which can cause an acute pain to occur over time. In the most severe cases it can also affect mobility as the tendon becomes too sore to move freely.
This complaint can be further exacerbated by bad technique or by gripping a racket too tightly, but even perfect technique can sometimes lead to tennis elbow due to the relentlessly repetitive nature of the sport.
Tennis elbow is the most common cause of elbow symptoms in patients presenting with pain.
Common treatments range from applying ice and oral or topical NSAIDs, to surgical procedures. However, outside of surgery, there is no treatment that reliably cures the problem, outside of time off from playing tennis and rest.
Luckily, evidence suggests that CBD can help to speed up this process, reduce both pain and inflammation resulting from tennis elbow, and help your body recover naturally.
But how exactly does it do this?
Let’s take a look:
How Does CBD Help with Pain & Inflammation?
The answer lies in the endocannabinoid system. This system was only discovered in 1992 and is still not fully understood, but it has been found to interact with other internal body systems such as the endocrine system and the immune system in order to promote balance in the body and maintain wellbeing.
The ECS is defined by two main receptors, the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Both of these interact with different areas of the body, but between them they help to manage immunity, inflammatory response, digestion, appetite, mood, sleep, pain, memory, and even our reproductive systems.
Of course, the pain and inflammation are the main factors we’re interested in here. CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system resulting in a certain response, which has been found to help manage many different kinds of pain and reduce inflammation.
It is for this reason that CBD has become popular for those suffering from arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other issues related to chronic pain or inflammation.
What Are the Benefits of CBD Over Traditional Anti-Inflammatories or Painkillers?
While you should always contact your GP if you are concerned about pain, loss of mobility, or any related symptoms, there are some instances when medication is not prescribed, is not helpful, or medical help isn’t readily available.
The benefits of using CBD to treat tennis elbow in such a situation, or even alongside said treatments include:
- No intoxication. This causes confusion for some people due to the association with cannabis. However, the intoxicating effects of cannabis come from THC, a cannabinoid that is not present in good quality CBD oils. For people who have previously had issues around opiate addiction, or are unwilling to take strong painkillers in fear of addiction or due to careers around driving or heavy machinery, this is a major point.
- Reduces stress and improves sleep. Chronic pain can keep you up at night. Even worse, the tiredness that follows can combine with the pain and discomfort to make trying to get things done in the day an extremely stressful experience. CBD has shown benefits for insomnia and stress reduction, meaning it can help with this situation too and encourage a stress-free, relaxed recovery period.
- Completely natural. A good quality CBD oil is organic and contains no synthetic ingredients. This means potential side effects are extremely rare and extremely minor in comparison to most pharmaceutical medications. It also means you are working directly with the body’s internal systems to create a positive result, instead of using synthetic chemicals to simply numb the pain.
How to Take CBD Oil for Tennis Elbow
CBD oil doesn’t have a strict dose. The amount you should take for the best results vary depending on the oil you’re using, the health complaint you’re hoping to manage, your size and weight, the efficiency of your endocannabinoid system and many other factors.
Luckily, there is no real risk of overdose with CBD oil either, so the best course of action is simply to start small, and increase your dosage daily until you find one that works for you.
Eventually you will find diminishing improvements and this means you’ve found your ideal daily dose.
How Do I Know Which CBD Oil is Best for Tennis Elbow?
Unfortunately, the explosion in popularity of CBD oil has led to a huge increase in the supply. Many of these new companies are just trying to make a quick profit from a growing industry, and provide sub par products.
Luckily, there are some great options available. Here is what you should look out for:
- Broad spectrum CBD oil is a necessity. This means it has all of the naturally occurring cannabinoids from the hemp plant apart from THC, meaning you get all of the natural benefits of CBD. Oils labelled “full spectrum” also contain CBD, which means there is a risk of intoxication. Oils with no “spectrum” label at all are usually low quality products made from isolated CBD or in the worst cases, may not contain any at all.
- Organic. This is also crucial as it means a product is made from crops grown sustainably, in a way that maintains soil quality and without the use of chemical pesticides or herbicides. Products that aren’t organic can contain nasty additives with their own side effects. These should not be taken in the hopes of any health benefit.
- Lab tested. Some CBD oil brands provide regular lab testing results so that you can see exactly what’s in each batch. These companies are going the extra mile to show you how trustworthy they are. Companies that don’t offer lab results either have something to hide in regards to their ingredient quality, or are simply unwilling to go that extra distance. Either way, they are best avoided.
- Sustainably grown. While this doesn’t directly relate to pain management or results, hemp farms are popping up all over the world and growing rapidly. If you’re going to support a CBD brand, make sure it’s one that isn’t damaging the planet for future generations.
While there are few CBD brands that offer all of the above, there are a few around if you do some research. Evopure is a UK based CBD oil company that provides all of the above for a great price, and is our recommendation for a great place to start.