Essential oils (EOs) are concentrated plant extracts that offer multiple physical healing benefits.
They are extracted from different plant materials like tree bark and resin, leaves, stems, roots, flowers, nuts, seeds, and fruits.
The therapeutic application of EOs is referred to as aromatherapy.
EOs have been used as natural remedies for hundreds of years by many cultures around the world.
In recent years the use of essential oils has increased thanks to a growing body of research indicating their many medicinal effects.
Many EOs contain potent analgesic (pain-relief) and anti-inflammatory properties, which makes them an excellent first response home remedy option for tennis elbow pain.
What is tennis elbow?
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) refers to injury, inflammation, and wear and tear of the tendons that connect the elbow joint to forearm muscle.
This causes stiffness, joint pain, swelling, and limited range of motion.
Tennis elbow is thought to be caused by overuse and repetitive movement of the elbow and forearms.
Contrary to what the name indicates, you don’t necessarily need to be a tennis player to suffer from this condition.
It’s commonly diagnosed in other professions that use their upper body limbs frequently like cooks, butchers, personal trainers, landscapers, plumbers, and carpenters.
You can even develop tennis elbow by using the computer, knitting, cooking, or playing an instrument.
Tennis elbow is thought to be a form of tendonitis.
It’s is different from golfer’s elbow because it involves damage to the lateral epicondyle, a bone-like protrusion in the elbow, rather than the medial epicondyle.
What are the symptoms of tennis elbow?
- Pain or tenderness in the elbow region
- Swelling, redness, and inflammation of the elbow
- Sharp pains extending to the forearm
- Limited range of motion
- Trouble moving your wrist or rotating your forearm
- Loss of grip ability and difficulty picking things up
The 11 Best EOs for Tennis Elbow pain
You’ll want to use essential oils that are known pain-relievers (analgesic properties) and also potent anti-inflammatories to address the swelling and tenderness of the region.
Peppermint essential oil
Peppermint oil is a pain reliever, muscle relaxant, and natural anesthetic.
Its active ingredient, menthol, is an anti-inflammatory that offers a therapeutic cooling sensation when applied topically.
Lavender essential oil
Lavender oil is also a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory that also works as a sedative.
Frankincense essential oil
Frankincense is a potent pain reliever that can also provide numbing effects to painful areas.
It’s also anti-inflammatory and can boost the immune system.
Helichrysum essential oil
This flower-based oil offers pain relief with a cooling effect.
It’s also relaxing, reduces stress, and relieves chronic aches and pains while increasing muscle endurance.
Other possible beneficial EOs for tennis elbow include:
Other alternative treatments for Tennis Elbow
- RICE method
RICE stands for Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation.
Discontinue elbow-intensive activity so the tendon can rest.
Apply ice packs daily to the affected area for at least 10 minutes at a time.
Use compression packs and keep the elbow elevated too.
- Over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory medicine
You can try OTC meds like Advil, Tylenol, or Motrin but also know that these are temporary band-aids rather than long term solutions. They also come with their own side-effects to consider.
- Cortisone shot
If the pain is severe and nothing else works your doctor may prescribe you a cortisone shot to counter the inflammation.
- Anti-inflammatory diet
What you eat matters! Opt for an anti-inflammatory diet rich in good fats and a wide range of multi-colored vegetables.
- Physical therapy
This can help to improve recovery time and decrease your chances of severe lost mobility and range of motion. Your therapist will give you multiple exercises to work out that area.
A DIY Tennis Elbow Blend for Massage Oil
Essential oil blends work to maximize their potency and efficacy by mixing them together.
Try this blend as a topical remedy for sore muscles and tennis elbow.
For best results apply before doing some warm compresses:
- 3 drops peppermint
- 3 drops lavender
- 3 drops frankincense
- 3 drops helichrysum
- ½ cup of coconut oil as the carrier oil
Mix the oils together and then apply to the elbow and forearm areas and gently massage in circular motions.
Apply daily to accelerate the healing process