My first case of tennis elbow was back in 2009. I did some research and discovered the flexbar. I bought the red one and within 2 weeks of using it all of my pain and symptoms vanished. Following the episode I would use it both before and after play as a preventative measure. Back then, I actually could play through the pain with the use of an arm band.
Fast forward to July of 2012. I had loaned my flexbar out to a friend in the spring and he was still using it for rehab (not tennis related). I'm a photographer and I had a photoshoot on a beach. After driving over an hour to the shoot I rolled my case down trails to the beach and carried it down a couple flights of steps down the bluffs. I felt a little strain that day. I think my tendons were overloaded. I then did the shoot. When you're shooting with a bigger body camera and heavy lenses your forearm and tendons are constantly under load as you both selected and lock focus points and fire the trigger. All while griping the weight of the camera. Much is off set by the left hand holding the weight of the camera and lens. So usually, I have no problems.
That night I needed to string my racquet, but my usual MSV 1.18 strings were in the mail and I was out of stock
So I used some Luxilon strings (TIMO) in a full bed on my K90. I figure if I string around 54 and the thinnner gauge shouldn't be a problem. So I strung it up.
The next morning I played with my brother. We spend the first 1 minutes warming up near the net - one bounce. No problems. Then after about 10 minutes of ground strokes, I felt a tear! I went up to rub my arm. I switched to one of my wood racquets and the pain wasn't so bad. I played the rest of that week and on the last day I felt a larger tear! Bummer!
I figured I'd take some time off and start using the flexbar again. Well, last time I got tennis elbow it was my off season...I wasn't shooting that much. This time around...right after the larger tear. I had to shoot a wedding the next day. By the end of the day my arm was so tight and angry. I did the therapy the following week and by the end it felt promising. Then another wedding...more tearing (or so it seemed).
Long story short, this has been the cycle which I can't escape. My condition continues to worsen as I don't have the luxury to give it a rest. I don't see a rest in sight until the middle of November. Right now, it's hard to picture when or if I can ever play tennis again. Like many of you on here, it's something that completes me and makes me feel, like me! Some days when I'm on the court I reach new milestones and feel invincible...truly alive. Right now, I'm in a dark place, but I'm sticking with the therapy hoping to come out one day soon.
My advice to any who have their first bout. Get off the court...ice it that day. Start using the flexbar until the pain is completely gone. Then head back out to the court. Keep up with the flexbar as a preventative. There are also other stretching and strengthening exercises which can help you become more flexible and stronger. If there was something you changed that may have led to this pain. Assess and fix the issue. You love tennis too much!