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Ask Dr. Gott 10/27

No love for tennis elbow

DEAR DR. GOTT: A couple of years ago, I was diagnosed with tennis elbow in both arms. The doctor said there isn't a fix for it, so he gave me anti-inflammatories. The pain has now gotten so bad that it hurts to do simple things like brush my teeth and type this letter. What can I do? It seems to be getting worse every day.
    DEAR READER: Tennis elbow is a generic term used for elbow pain caused by over use of the arm and forearm muscles that connect to the elbow tendons. Tennis elbow is not caused just by playing tennis, but rather all sports that involve the use of the arm to swing or hit something. It can also be caused by certain jobs that require the use of repetitive arm movements, such as swinging a hammer.
    Tennis elbow is rarely bilateral. It most often develops in the arm that is most often used. If you are right handed, it would most likely affect the right elbow because that is the arm you are most likely to use to swing a tennis racket, hammer or other implement.
    My advice? If your tennis elbow is the result of a sport, you should stop playing and rest until you are pain-free to avoid further injury. If not, you need to discover the source of the movement that caused the pain and then try to reduce or eliminate that activity. You should also see a sports or orthopedic specialist who can recommend other treatments, such as Advil, Aleve or other arthritis-type medications. Or maybe surgery is necessary if the elbow is severely damaged or the tendons torn.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Managing Chronic Pain." Other readers who would like a copy should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.

    DEAR DR. GOTT: My chiropractor told me to take Knox Gelatine in water or juice to help my cartilage restore itself. Will Knox Gelatine help or am I wasting my money? I have been drinking the gelatin in juice for nine months and can't feel the difference.
    DEAR READER: You're wasting your money.
    On what basis did your chiropractor diagnose you with a cartilage injury? Did you have an MRI? An orthopedic consult? Physical therapy?
    I am not aware that gelatin is of any help in "restoring" cartilage; even glucosamine/chondroitin has now fallen out of favor.
    In my opinion, you should be referred to an orthopedic specialist. Meanwhile, try taking 1 tablespoon of Certo (pectin) in purple grape juice two or three times a day. Although this may not be effective, it has helped numerous readers.
    The orthopedist can advise you further.

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