DEAR DR. DONOHUE: Is it possible for you to do an article on tennis elbow with suggestions for treatment? I have been diagnosed with it, and I don’t play tennis. I am in much pain. Is there something I can do? My doctor just prescribes stronger painkillers for me. – N.M.

Tennis elbow doesn’t belong only to tennis players. It happens to violinists, carpenters, dentists, gardeners and anyone who grips a tool tightly and simultaneously makes twisting movements of the arm. Stand and let your affected arm hang down with the palm of the hand turned forward. With your other hand, feel for a bony projection at the side of the elbow. That projection is the lateral epicondyle, and it’s the place where the extensor forearm muscles attach. Extensor muscles are the ones that bend the wrist upward.

Overuse of those muscles causes tears and other changes in the attaching ligaments. Pain arises on twisting the wrist or holding tightly onto anything. Lifting a carton of milk is a most uncomfortable experience.

Rest cures tennis elbow. You don’t have to keep the elbow immobile. Forgo any motions that hurt.

At this stage, you should be applying heat to the elbow, either moist or dry. Apply it four times a day for 15 minutes each time.

Tylenol is a safe pain reliever. Anti-inflammatory medicines are useful. Motrin, Advil and Aleve are a few examples. Prolonged use of these medicines carries the risk of developing an ulcer.

You might find an elbow brace to be helpful. You can get one at a sporting-goods store or a drugstore. They’re worn at midarm level, and they work by shifting a bit the attachment of the extensor muscles.

A cortisone injection usually stops the pain promptly. After the injection, if the pain has completely gone, continue to rest the wrist for two or three more weeks. A too-quick return to use makes matters worse.

DEAR DR. DONOHUE: Four or five days a week my wife and I walk at the local shopping mall at a fairly good pace. On numerous occasions in the past year, my wife has gotten dizzy while taking the walk.

She is 60 and has a blood pressure of 100/60. Could these low numbers be the cause of this condition? – D.T.

If you have a home blood pressure machine, take her pressure when this happens. These units aren’t expensive.

Her pressure doesn’t cause symptoms at other times, and her numbers are actually healthy ones. However, perhaps they are dipping quite low during the walk. Your wife’s story makes me uneasy. She needs to see the family doctor about this.

Dr. Donohue regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but he will incorporate them in his column whenever possible. Readers may write him or request an order form of available health newsletters at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Readers may also order health newsletters from

DEAR DR. DONOHUE: As a teenager, I used to do dips on parallel bars. Do you know the exercise? I’d like to start doing them again, but I’ve forgotten the technique. Can you refresh me? Exactly what muscles does this exercise benefit? – K.J.

Grip the parallel bars firmly and raise yourself upward by straightening the elbows. When you’ve reach the high point, stick there for a few seconds and then lower yourself to the starting position and repeat the process as many times as you can. That won’t be many at first.

You’re exercising your chest muscles – the pectorals, your deltoid muscles, the shoulder muscles and your triceps muscles, the muscles on the back of your upper arms.

DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I am a 16-year-old male. For a couple of months now, I have been having problems with my wrists. They make snapping noises. Could they be dislocated? – B.M.

They’re not dislocated.

Snapping noises at a joint usually come from tendons rubbing against a bone. If there is no pain, then the noises are not a sign of trouble.

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