Arm Agony

By Sharon Truelove & Ross Ashcraft

In today’s computer-run world, using a computer for hours on end is common. If you begin to experience pain when you bend your wrist back, make a fist, straighten your fingers, or try to grip objects (like your coffee cup), you may be developing “tennis elbow”.

Tennis elbow produces pain near the side of your elbow, where the tendons of your forearm muscles attach to the bony knob on the outside of the elbow (the lateral epicondyle).
If you actually do play tennis, identify what causes the pain. Then figure out how to modify the body mechanics so that it doesn’t hurt.

  • Check your  backhand
  • Is your racket grip too small
  • How heavy is the head
  • Don’t play with wet, and therefore heavy, tennis balls

If your elbow pain is a result of heavy computer use:

  • Invest in a good mouse
  • Make sure that your keyboard isn’t elevated at the back, as this forces your wrists into an extended position. If you need to use a wrist pad to elevate your wrists.

 So here are a few tips to help!

Self massage

First Technique

 1.  Get a tennis ball

2.  Lean it against the wall

3.  Roll it all around the problem area

 Second Technique

1.  Find the spot of maximum tenderness and apply cross-fiber friction for 30 seconds. 

2.  This should feel uncomfortable but not painful

Third Technique

1.  Using sustained compression on the aching forearm with the opposite forearm

2.  Hold for 10 to 30 seconds (see left).


Fourth Technique

1.  Stretch the forearm with wrist bends and twists.

Practice the techniques and let us know what you think

36 thoughts on “Arm Agony”

  1. This is great information for cosmetologist. We often have pain in our arms and hands due to our styling tools.

  2. I never thought about not using a tilted keyboard. It does make sense though. I like the techniques for relieving it also.

  3. These techniques really do work. I find myself doing these on myself while sitting in class sometimes. As a massage therapy student, we are always shown different ways to keep our body tuned up the right way. My forearms are what usually hurt the worst and these tips help relieve a lot of that tension.

  4. I had this problem many years ago playing raquetball. It can also apply to someone moving heavy equipment with a flexed arm for balance. Would love to have had the techniques back then.

  5. Whenever I do karate, and I am breaking boards and breaks or use chopsticks to eat, and my hand starts to cramp, I can take time out to do this stretching techniques…lol

  6. Awesome ideas. I would like to know more about the arm. So many with that, but also Carpal Tunnel. Including my Husband. He says the massages are making it better to sleep. I wish this was available when I was doing clinical, but will make use of the info. THANK YOU

  7. What constitutes as a good mouse? Most desktops come with the basic mouse. Would a trackerball mouse be better? Also, for the laptop users outs there, how does a touchpad mouse stack up? Thanks for the tip about not tilting the keyboard. That thought never crossed my mind before. Makes me wonder what other things I do that are bad for my wrists that I haven’t considered.

  8. I use these techniques almost every day, except for the one with the tennis ball. But that’s only because I don’t have a tennis ball! My fingers, wrists and forearms are often tired and sore after a full day of massage and computer work and these techniques really help me out. Thanks for the good information!

  9. I have Carpal Tunnel and this technique was the reason I changed from Fitness and Health trainer to massage therapy. It really works!

  10. This is good info for me and I have used some of these techniques for issues with my wrists anfd forearms.

  11. it’s exciting when you find a techniques that seems to work 100{dd4fd4792e0eb33cfcd896730531ad5ee27f408bd2ce28da7f8125f8188131a8} of the time!

  12. PS an ergonomic mouse is designed to fit a more natural hand position when being used.
    Because of differing anatomies different mice will fit different hands–so try different mice to see which feels more natural 🙂

  13. I used the computer nearly all day for my job last year. These techniques would have been so beneficial to know then. I love this technique!

  14. I think this technique is very useful. It is becoming more common for people to use computers on a daily basis and i think this technique if very helpful in relieving pain.

  15. My mother has carpal tunnel so bad that she had to have her wrist fused together. Now she has hardly any rom in that wrist. I wish i would of known the information then to help her. Hopefully with these techniques she can help the damage she has caused and give her some relief.

  16. I also never thought of not tilting the keyboard. It’s amazing how little things such as that can make such a big difference in our daily lives and body mechanics. It’s also kind of fun figuring out how different everyday things have so many uses that aren’t primarily though of. The tennis ball for example, if somebody has not been told that it can be used as a massage tool, when asked for the different uses of the tennis ball, massage would probably not be mentioned. I just think it’s interesting to figure out how different things can work different ways that they were not actually designed for.

  17. I think very good I serve tables and will use this to help with the tension in my forearm and elbow area. I do have lots of wrist pain, but is currently better since following Ross’s and Sharons advice. Thank you.

  18. Good day!This was a really magnificentsuper post!
    I come from roma, I was fortunate to search your website in baidu
    Also I get a lot in your blog really thanks very much i will come later

  19. Well I don’t have issues with my arms as of yet, the tennis ball on the back did feel good afterwards, my arms felt better after the techniques as well. I am sure I will find someone with the arm issues, soon and I will pass this information on to them as well. The small things we can send home with our clients are going to be so good for each of our business. Thanks so much.

  20. My sister has a lot of problems with tennis elbow, so I gave her these exercises to do and she says that work great! After sitting at the computer all day she says they relieve a lot stress.

  21. I am forwarding this information to my sister. She has had this complaint for some time now. I look forward to hearing and seeing how this works for her!

  22. I know several people that could use these techniques! I can now help them to releave some of their pain! This is the part of Massage or the health feid i love!

  23. I really don’t have any problems with my arms or wrists, but the tennis ball technique I have known for a while. Thetennis ball is inexpensive and easy to use, it feels really good as well on the shoulders, back, arms, if you have a wall and a tennis ball, you can do this exercise.

  24. I dont have a lot of problems with tennis elbow. However, i do really like to do these stretches. My arms feel more alive after I do them. I don’t know anyone with these problems, but when I do meet someone I will definitely be able to give them these helpful stretches. Thanks for the information. It will be really helpful for my clients who do have these issues.

  25. I performed this on myself & I found it to help my knee pain. And I’m truly excited to begin helping others.

  26. I have not experienced tennis elbow, and I’m thankful for that. It’s nice that the techniques are simple and quick to do. I will share these techniques with my family whose jobs involve using the computer all day.

  27. When we did this technique I paused before I worked on my opposite arm to feel the difference and it was crazy how much relief simple things like this can bring you.