I have received so many emails about this exact question that I thought the best way to avoid repeating myself over and over again is to write an article about it.
So here goes …
In order to do these terms “justice”, it is important to first define and explain each one of them and then decide which one tennis elbow actually falls into – disease, disability, disorder or medical condition.
First let’s explore the term disease.
A disease is something that your body is unable to remedy on it’s own.
In other words, your immune system – which fights disease, is incapable of wrestling the disease into submission without drug or medical intervention.
So this would mean using anti-inflammatory medication, opting for cortisone injections or smearing on useless topical muscle creams.
So if we take tennis elbow, which is a repetitive strain injury of your outer elbow region, in most instances tennis elbow can remedy on it’s own but …
It can take years!
Check out my post on wiping out outer elbow pain fast in just 5 steps.
Yes years – especially if you push on doing movements or actions that aggravate your condition.
There really is no way to ever get full control of your injury without modify your everyday actions or getting started with a home treatment program or strategy.
But here’s the thing …
If you believe that sitting at home nursing your arm using a sling or some kind of support will help your arm get better faster.
You’re being completely naive and flat out wrong!
Doing so will only prolong your pain and suffering.
So I wouldn’t really classify or be willing to say for sure that you can classify tennis elbow as a disease.
Could you categorize tennis elbow as a disability?
Again, referring to a definition – it is a physical disability that prevents someone from living a normal life and/or prevents an individual from doing their job successfully.
You can read more over at mdguidelines.com about tennis elbow as a medical disability.
Another way of looking at could be, is your tennis elbow injury preventing you from becoming the best you could be at doing something.
Whether it is a hobby, sport or profession.
This is where you have to do some self examination into how severe your tennis elbow has become.
For the majority of people, they let their tennis elbow condition get so bad that it interferes with their normal everyday living.
And in most instances this disability severely impacts their on the job performance and drastically affects their work productivity.
Perhaps you can relate?
Has your tennis elbow pain gotten to this level?
Have you noticed that your elbow discomfort has gotten almost unbearable?
What about your hand grip – are you fumbling or dropping items more frequently than before you got tennis elbow?
Have you had to take time away from work or cut back on leisure or sport activities because of a bum elbow?
It’s safe to say that tennis elbow can be classified as a disability regardless of the severity of your pain.
And it doesn’t matter if you consider it short term or long term – which many people seem to categorize a disability.
At the end of the day, your disability needs to be addressed and hopefully remedied – sooner rather than later.
Then there is the term disorder.
Is it safe to call tennis elbow a disorder?
By definition, a disorder is characterized by functional impairment without any change to the structure of the affected area.
While we can say that there is most definitely functional impairment when you suffer from tennis elbow, there IS in almost 99 percent of the cases, a structural change in your forearm extensor tendon or muscle if you truly have tennis elbow.
Here’s why …
What happens structurally to your elbow when you get tennis elbow is that your forearm extensor tendon first becomes inflamed and irritated.
Overtime, the tendon where it attaches at the lateral epicondyle of your elbow begins to slowly fray apart just like an old, weathered rope.
At this stage, your pain will be at it’s worst!
And last but not least …
A medical condition.
This is of course the easiest one to answer.
The medical term for tennis elbow is lateral epicondylitis.
If you get referred to a Physical Therapist or perhaps sent for an x-ray(not that common)
Your Doctor will refer to your condition as lateral epicondylitis and not tennis elbow.
So of course tennis elbow is a medical condition.
But here’s what you must understand!
Irregardless of whether someone wants to declare tennis elbow as a disease, disability, disorder or medical condition …
At the end of the day, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
And what I mean by that is that you don’t have to clean out your kids college fund to heal and recover from tennis elbow.
Way to many people who get tennis elbow simply throw darts at a dart board hoping for a bulls eye when there is a much easier, simpler and fast approach.
But first I want you to know that I empathize with you and …
I know exactly how frustrating tennis elbow can be to put behind you and make a complete recovery.
Because I too was a tennis elbow sufferer for at least 7 years.
And perhaps like you, I paid out hundreds of dollars on what Doctors told me to do and what I should do in order for my elbow to get better.
The elbow supports, wraps, braces, injections of cortisone, massage therapy, acupuncture, shock wave therapy, pain medication were all fine in the short term but …
They only helped with the pain and symptoms.
It is no different than putting a band-aid on a cut.
The band stops the blood and helps keep the skin together so it doesn’t get infected.
The same can be said for elbow braces, cortisone injections, pain medication, etc…
They are all effective in the short term and work well for symptom relief but
As a long term strategy, they completely fail!
So what really works for tennis elbow?
How was I able to finally get over my condition?
It was actually much simpler than I thought.
Your first step is to click on the button below and follow the simple steps in the video tutorial.
It will all make sense from there.
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