May 18, 2010

Tennis Elbow Confusion


Tomorrow I go in for the 6th (an possibly final) appointment of occupational therapy for my tennis elbow. It has been an enlightening and painful experience. I am making slow but evident progress in the right direction but my faith in occupational therapists have taken a serious blow.

At my first appointment my appointed therapist instilled in me all sorts of faith. She seemed confidant and answered all my questions without hesitation. I didn't blink when she said stuff, I took her answers as the final word on everything. Then I came home and told my husband what she had said about this and that and noticed him raising his eyebrows a bit. The first cracks in her theories began there.

"She said that since I practiced dental hygiene for 20 years that it most definitely contributed to my problem... yeah... even though I had not a trouble during those years and it showed up 6 years after I retired... yes, that didn't make much sense to me either, but she said it-so..."

By appointment #2 when she messaged the heck out of my painful arm I had some doubts. That evening I was so sore I couldn't believe it. 'How can this be helpful?' I thought. At appointment #4 I was seen by another OT since my therapist had been called home early for an emergency. That guy didn't hurt my feelings when he told me that he wasn't a fan of deep tissue massage. Then he proceeded to tell me all the different schools of thought on how to get rid of tendinitis. Opinions vary from doing nothing and limiting elbow movement (impossible as a mother of 5 btw) to working out intensely with that arm to stimulate blood flow and healing, injecting plasma at the sight- yikes! He also told me to stop some of the things she recommended. I left feeling baffled.

I have been in the health care profession for a while and I feel that if you don't know something you should just be up front and say you'll have to look into it. Don't lie to an educated patient. It just comes back to bite.

So far my husband has been the best diagnostician in this whole affair, and I am convinced that the antibiotic I was on for my bronchitis in February caused my problem. Tendon rupture can be a side effect of Levaquin. I keep tracing my steps back to that fated day when I stood next to the wrong person at brownie scouts and caught that cough that let to bronchitis/pneumonia, sinusitis, and now tendinitis. I think next winter I will volunteer less for the sake of my health. In the mean time I will keep stretching, and keep my leery eye on that deep-massaging occupational therapist.

3 comments:

Cheeseboy said...

Do dental folks use their elbows more than other jobs or do they just play more tennis than other folks?

Whatever the case, hope you get feeling better.

Fresh Mommy said...

Wow, for one, I had no idea that could be a side effect of an antibiotic!! Woah. This has been a long journey for you... hope things get better soon!

:)
~Tabitha

Eileen said...

Usually I would think a massage would be nice, but yours didn't sound like a good experience!

Hope it gets better soon. I would hate for it to ruin your tennis career.