From that sharp, burning feeling near your elbow to a persistent discomfort around it; there are many ways to describe an elbow pain. Anyone experiencing the pain may notice different kinds of pain-sensation, and that’s because there are a lot of culprits behind it.
Most people don’t know much about elbow pain and end up being nonchalant about it even when the problem might be serious. But we’ve got your back! We’re here today to enlighten you about the different causes of elbow pain and how to alleviate the pain. Allow us to elaborate:
Most common causes of elbow pain:
Sprains and Strains
Often used interchangeably, sprains and strains are not the same conditions—a sprain refers to a ligament (bands of tissue that connects two bones together) that overstretches and/or tears apart while a strain refers to a tendon (fibrous tissue that attaches muscles to bones) that has overstretched or torn. When you get a strain, there may be bruising around the affected area whereas with strains, you’ll have spasms in the muscle.
This refers to the inflammation or irritation of the tendons due to excessive use. The overuse of the tendons causes malfunctioning of the lubrication system inside them that helps in the movement of the joints. Due to the malfunction, the tendon-area swells and hinders movement.
Inside some of the tendons is a sac called bursa filled with lubrication fluid which helps the joint to move. Overexertion and excessive movement may cause the bursa to become inflamed, which may result in friction as the joint tries to move.
The condition of tennis elbow is also known as lateral epicondylitis and happens when the elbow joint becomes painfully inflamed. It occurs in the forearm just outside the elbow and you may feel the pain most when you straighten or extend your arm. As the name suggests, it’s common among tennis players but is not limited to them. Individuals in professions like plumbing, painting and carpentry may also experience the condition.
Also termed as medical epicondylitis, the condition develops as the tendon attaching the forearm- muscle to the bony bump on the inner elbow becomes inflamed. As the inflammation worsens, the pain may also spread to the forearm and wrist.
5 Effective Ways to Alleviate Elbow Pain
Ice your elbow
It’s recommended that you ice your elbow regularly for 20–30 minutes every few hours until the pain is alleviated. Icing the elbow is a common self-care tip and is especially helpful during the early stages of the condition. You should also ice the elbow after any kind of elbow overuse.
If you don’t want the muscles to become stiff around the affected elbow area, then it’d be a good idea to stretch them frequently. This should help minimize the stiffness and enhance flexibility of the muscle. Exercises that can help improve muscle flexibility are fist clenches, supination with dumbbells, wrist flexion and extension.
Wear a Brace or Elbow Pads
Counter-force braces, an elastic strap worn just below the elbow, are also known to help with both, tennis and golfer’s elbow. The brace helps alleviate tension in the muscles by applying pressure on them. Elbow pads, on the other hand, prevent stress from being applied on the elbow and can help with bursitis.
Medication and Physical Therapy
If the pain is too unbearable, then you should consult a doctor. The most commonly prescribed medication is anti-inflammatory pain medicine that is non-steroidal. The medicine particularly helps patients with bursitis and tendonitis.
Once the acute pain has reduced, physical therapy is recommended. Physical therapists use a number of modalities to help you regain mobility and strength. It also helps prevent future inflammations and injuries.
A treatment for an elbow pain is advised depending on the severity and extent of it. Elbow fractures, dislocation and persistent tennis or golfers elbow are examples of conditions that may require surgical treatment if nothing else works.
Elbow pain is common but if left unattended and untreated, the pain might become even more difficult to handle, and perhaps even lead to more permanent conditions. Early detection and help is always the safest and wisest way to go about health-related issues.
Divergent Health Group in Calgary provides a wide range of elbow pain treatments. Allow us to help you keep your health intact and contact us now. Book an appointment to get a comprehensive evaluation from one of our experienced professionals.