My Experience So Far with TE and FlexBar

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by jgrushing, Nov 10, 2012.

  1. jgrushing

    jgrushing Rookie

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    I am a 52 year old male who's played tennis for 40 years (strong 4.0 player). I haven't had tennis elbow in 6 or 7 years but developed a case earlier this year. After a couple of shots, I returned to tennis too soon and it started hurting again after a few weeks.

    My research pointed me to the FlexBar and I ordered a green one. My experience has been one that I need to warn others about. Two or three weeks into using the FlexBar, my elbow hurt considerably worse. I decided to slow down and ordered a red bar. However, even the red bar was now too much for me to handle by then.

    I've since begun to visit a physical therapist. They are very familiar with the FlexBar and the Tyler Twist. However, in my third week of PT, he's just allowing me to do two sets of five, twice a day, with the red bar.

    My warning is that you can definitely do too much, too soon with the FlexBar and you'll end up with an irritated elbow that's worse than it was. I am still hopeful. However, after over two months of not playing tennis, I still have a case that's worse than it was when I quit playing.

    I'd love to hear of other cases. My PT agrees that the Tyler Twist is a great exercise but proceed with caution. It's not the quick fix that's often implied.
     
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  2. dhnels

    dhnels New User

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    I don't recall any credible poster on this forum recommend any kind of stretch or strengthening (including flexbar) while TE pain is active. The near unanimous advice is to rest until pain free, then slowly start PT to regain strength, and STOP immediately if pain returns.

    My personal experience was that I couldn't do any kind of movement against resistance without the pain returning. All my elbow could handle at first was isometric resistance (no moving), gradually building up to some movement, and finally being able to use a flexbar pain free. It took me 6 months to fully recover to where I'm playing tennis again pain free.

    Remember with TE, any pain is no gain (actually moving backwards).

    Dan
     
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  3. gregor.b

    gregor.b Professional

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    Whilst I have never tried a Flex Bar, I have had a reasonably serious case of TE. My tricep and forearm (inner and outer) got to the point where I could not use a screw driver or pickup a cup of coffee. I am a coffee loving service technician so you can see my trouble. As I have played for nearly 20 plus years I am reasonably sure it is not technique related.

    I have found that even with exercise and not playing regularly it tends to flare up. Point being, you should always go easy when undertaking rehab until you are certain that the injury is becoming bullet proof. Otherwise, you can go around in circles.
     
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  4. jgrushing

    jgrushing Rookie

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    Not trying to be a smart a** at all, but virtually everyone talks of beginning the treatment when some pain is active. If you read the protocol, it even references pain and soreness. How can use of the FlexBar reduce pain by 80% if you have no pain when you start using it. The bar is used in the study with people who've had pain for more than 6 months with no improvement.

    I did my homework. My case was fairly mild, seemingly a perfect case for the FlexBar. I had no loss of strength. I could still play tennis with mild pain. The FlexBar is advertised to reduce TE pain as part of a treatment program.

    Read the advertisement. It refers to relieving the pain, resolving the pain, soreness after use, etc.
     
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  5. jgrushing

    jgrushing Rookie

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    Sorry, mis-typed. Study participants has unresolved pain for at least six weeks, not months. My bad.
     
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  6. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    edit after 50 replies

    FYI - corrections

    For your first 50 replies you cannot edit to correct. After your 50th reply you should be able to edit.

    If you think there might be some misunderstandings you can put in

    correction where you make the change.
     
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  7. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

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    Thanks for bringing attention to this.

    Undoubtedly others exercise vigorously too soon with Flexbars.
     
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  8. dhnels

    dhnels New User

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    In the spirit of trying to help you, not pick on you, do more searching for posts by charliefedererer and Chas Tennis that show pictures of the tendon injury at the microscopic level, and charts of healing time for tendon injuries. Also, if you read all of the threads about TE from the last 5 years (I have) you'll see the consensus is red Flexbar is for rehab, green & blue is for building strength after full healing, and cortisone shots almost never have reported long term benefit.

    Even the Flexbar instruction manual says "If you experience any pain or difficulty with these exercises, stop immediately and consult your healthcare provider".

    It's natural to want to "force" an injury to heal faster. All of us want to try anything except extended rest to heal a tendon injury. There are some threads in this forum where a sad few never did rest, and their injury never healed. The hardest part is accepting that TE takes as long as it takes to heal, up to 12 months.

    The part of my first reply about "active" pain means moderate to severe pain that is either constant, or felt daily from normal activities like picking up a cup, etc. Too much strenuous activity during this phase will only make the TE worse. Knowing when your body is ready to sustain PT rehab, even with professional care, is difficult. Mild pain is normal, moderate to severe pain is not. Setbacks are common (having to stop and rest until pain improves).

    Dan
     
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  9. jgrushing

    jgrushing Rookie

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    My point exactly was that the pain was very mild and manageable. I am telling people the same thing that you are in general. However, I have read much over the years on TE, including the Flexbar research article and the abstract. There's nothing to suggest that the participants were essentially pain free. It even says that your elbow will be sore after the exercise and that is an indication that you are accomplishing something.

    TE is a very frustrating injury. Trying to describe pain is difficult. How does one know if the pain is soreness related to strengthening and improving a tendon as opposed to further damage. It's a dilemma.

    There was also a great deal of argument on the board about the colors of the FlexBar. Most suggested the green one for "most men." I will concur that, for rehab purposes, I would not suggest more than the red.
     
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  10. jgrushing

    jgrushing Rookie

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    Talked more today with my physical therapist about pain and working on tennis elbow. He said that I am fine to do the exercises as long as my pain level when working remains at 5 or below on a 10 point scale.
     
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  11. AtomicForehand

    AtomicForehand Hall of Fame

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    I started using the red FlexBar when the tendon was very sore. Within about three days the pain abated considerably, and within a week it was gone. Worked like magic after months of expensive conventional PT failed. Three years later, I still whip it out and do a few twists with it if the elbow starts twingeing again, which is rarely.
     
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  12. jgrushing

    jgrushing Rookie

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    My soreness is right at the connection point, where the tendon connects to the bone. To me, that's classic tennis elbow. I wonder, in a lot of the cases that show quick success, if the problems is just a tendon that's mildly strained, and the stretching soothes it.

    I am still cautiously moving forward at the direction of my PT.
     
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  13. rufus_smith

    rufus_smith Professional

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    Since your case seems resistant to normal treatment and you are an older person, it is possible that over the years you have developed a small bone spur or tiny bone fragment that is rubbing the tendon. PT won't help much in that case. An ultrasound can sometimes detect it.
     
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  14. goober

    goober Legend

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    Green is definitely not the way to go if you are in pain. I used red while I was in mild pain and green when I was pain free. I agree green is better for men, but not while you are in any type of pain. If you are a strong guy even blue would be ok for strengthening.

    If you are in moderate to severe pain you should just completely rest your elbow for awhile- weeks to even months till it goes away.

    flexbar doesn't work for all types of TE- it works for most common cause. But if you have actual tear or a spur impingining on the tendon it is not going to work.
     
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  15. Maui19

    Maui19 Hall of Fame

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    Thanks for the heads up. My general impression from reading this forum is that the FlexBar is a good option for when you are experience elbow/wrist pain, etc.
     
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