TLDR: simply doing nothing is what cures tennis elbow
This metastudy on tennis elbow with 2,746 participants in 36 randomized studies seems to indicate that going to a doctor will be a wasted trip … if your pain is actually tennis elbow. That is precisely the problem with googling medical advice, if you diagnose the condition incorrectly then your ‘cure’ will probably make things worse. There are a number of things that cause elbow pain, not just tennis elbow. See also, Golfer’s Elbow.
The study showed that none of the 11 nonsurgical treatments, including physical therapy, acupuncture, anti-inflammatory meds, botox injection therapy, ultrasound, or laser therapy performed significantly better than placebo. So if you have tennis elbow, simply stop anything that causes discomfort and wait is what the meta study is telling us. “Stop anything that causes discomfort” means never, every grabbing anything. If your thumb is being used, its causing damage. To carry anything, you have to scoop, not grab. You can still workout, just avoid grabbing. Lift the plates by scooping two hands under the bottom edge. Pretend you do not have a thumb and you will be fine.
I have had tennis elbow twice and the above study corresponds to what I experienced. The first time I got physical therapy with ultra sound with cortisone, massage, and ice – it took about 8 weeks to cure. The second time I got tennis elbow, I did nothing … and it went away in about 8 weeks :)
Do’s and Don’ts for Tennis Elbow