Tenex Procedure: Relief for those suffering from Tennis elbow pain
Several years ago when I had my first and only child, I decided to breastfeed exclusively. I nursed for a year, then as supplementary in the second year. However, around the third or fourth month of nursing, I developed burning pain to my elbows, which started from one side then onto the other in a short span of time. In a few weeks without relief, I went to see an Orthopedic doctor who diagnosed me with Tendinitis or Epicondylitis.
Tendinitis can happen in any joints and/or tendons but most commonly in the elbows; and this is usually from repetitive actions or movements. Commonly known as tennis elbow if it’s on the lateral side, or the golfers elbow if it’s the inner side of the elbow. I received a steroid shot on both elbows several months apart with only short-term relief. Despite wearing hand braces at night, I was restless and in pain until I stopped nursing in second the year. The pain has subsided, but it has became chronic since then. For years, I can feel the shooting pain intermittently down the lateral aspect of my forearm on both elbows when im doing something that requires a lot of grasping or holding something with weight or tension.
Seven years later, last year, my elbow pain flared up when I started training and weightlifting at the gym. It limited and affected so much the weight I can lift due to the pain. I was referred for physical therapy twice last year, which did not afford longer relief because I was back in the gym again in no time. My Provider sent me to a sports medicine doctor for possible Tenex procedure. I never heard of Tenex until that day.
What is Tenex?
Tenex procedure is a relatively new procedure but it has gained popularity since it started because it works. It is simply a procedure using laser to break apart the damaged tissue and/or any calcification in your tendons that is causing the pain; the purpose is to create new inflammatory process that will promote healing around the damage tendons. It is a quick 15-minute procedure from the time the doctor injects the local anesthesia to your elbow or joint, to the time the procedure is completed. A very small incision will be made to insert the needle the will emit laser inside the damaged tendons. I had both elbows treated at same time and it was relatively painless with quick recovery period. I stayed awake the entire time and the only thing I felt was some mild pressure that while the doctor was tugging the needle lightly back and forth during the procedure.
What are the preparations for the procedure?
First, you have to see a Tenex-trained doctor for an initial visit so he or she can determine if you are a candidate. On the night of the Tenex procedure, you will be asked to not have any more food at least after midnight and come in 1-2 hours early on the day of the surgery for paper works and final preparation for the procedure. If you are taking certain medicine that might make you bleed more, you might be asked to hold it. Depending on your health condition or doctor, you might be give you a pill to help ypu relax. In my case, the nurse gave me a small dose of Xanax just to keep me relax and less anxious.
Who are qualified for a Tenex procedure?
If you are suffering from any chronic (more than 3 months) anywhere in your tendons or joints, like elbows, shoulder, foot (if you have plantar fasciitis) this could be for you. I highly encourage you to talk to your doctor about Tenex because this could be the only treatment that might work for you. My doctor said that most insurance will cover the procedure. I know mine did on both my elbows. I only had to pay about $200 and insurance covered everything else.
What to expect after the procedure?
RIght after the procedure, your elbow or joint area might be slightly sore from the manipulation of the needle but certainly no more painful than your tendon was prior to the procedure. My elbows were a tad sore and slightly puffy, but I was assured it was nothing to worry about. They also applied a band-aid to the small incision, then wrapped it with an elastic bandage to keep it from swelling. My doctor sent me home with some norco, which I hardly took. I was advised to not lift more than 5 lbs in two weeks and follow up after that.
Do I recommend it?
Absolutely! I just wish it was already available 8 years ago.
Before I had my procedure, I couldn’t sleep from the discomfort and ache. I couldn’t lift heavier weights, and my elbows were burning along the tendons when I did. I can’t even open a jar, or carry my daughter anymore. I was rating my pain 8/10, and It severely limited my activity, like vacuuming, scrubbing hard a surface, or even turning knobs or any of that movement. 2-3 weeks after the surgery, my elbow was healing well, the pain has not been anymore than 2-3 out of 10 scale. Now, almost a year, I feel so much better, practically no more pain with anything and I’m back to doping things that I couldn’t do before.
Just imagine being able to do almost everything again. If there is a hobby or activity that you couldn’t do anymore because you are always hurting, or if you can’t rest at night because your tendon hurts too much, this might be for you.
I’m happy to answer any questions that you have, just shoot me an email or leave a comment 😀
My right elbow was in worse pain than the left because I’m right-handed. Left elbow would compensate when my right arm is having so much pain when lifting anything or any weights