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What Could Cause Elbow Pain?
Elbow pain tends plague active individuals and those who work in professions that use their arms a lot. Typically, elbow pain is most common at the outside of the elbow but can also reside at the inner aspect. Pain in the elbow tends to occur with repetitive actions such as when a mechanic works on a car. The repetitive nature tends to over work the muscles around the elbow which causes myofascial pain. In addition, up to 70% of people with elbow pain also have issues in their upper back and neck. Pain around the elbow can also involve joint, ligamentous, and neurological dysfunction. Below is a list of common elbow problems:
- Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)
- Golfer's Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)
- Elbow Tendinopathy
- Cupital Tunnel Syndrome
- Radiculopathy from the Cervical Spine
- Ligament and Tendon Tears
What Does Tendinitis in the Elbow Feel Like?
Tendinopathy involves irritation and dysfunction of the tendon of a muscle. This problem is mostly seen where the tendon attaches to the bone. One common misunderstanding is that all tendon problems are called tendinitis. Tendinitis usually involves an acute injury from overloading the tendon. Its chronic counterpart, called tendinosis, is actually more common. Tendinosis occurs from failed healing and repetitive trauma. Elbow tendinitis and tendinosis typically involves a painful area around the elbow that is tender to the touch. The pain is mostly present when the individual uses their arm for an activity. When allowed to worsen, the pain can be sharp and excruciating and can lead to tearing of the fibers.
What Is Tennis Elbow and Golfer's Elbow?
The most common injuries to the elbow involve the diagnosis of tennis elbow and golfer's elbow. These conditions are typically of myofascial origin and are in the family of tendinopathies. Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, involves pain in the outer portion of the elbow (along the radius) and mostly involves the extensor muscles of the forearm. Golfer's elbow, or medial epicondylitis, involves pain in the inner aspect of the elbow (along the ulna) and mostly involves the flexor muscles of the forearm. One does not need to play golf or tennis to have these conditions. In fact, a golfer can actually develop tennis elbow! As stated earlier, these conditions are typically the result of repetitive motions that overwork these muscles.
How Do I Stop My Elbow From Hurting?
The most obvious thing to do when your elbow hurts is to stop doing the activity that bothers it. This actually goes for all tendon related issues in the body. Once proper rest is given, an effort should be made to correcting the dysfunctional activity and movement. For example, golfers that "scoop" or "chicken wing" might develop pain around the elbow. Fixing the swing mechanics will assure proper healing and recovery. When rest and activity modification do not do the trick, a visit to a qualified professional is needed.
How Can We Help?
Elbow pain is a common condition that often responds very well to conservative treatment. Soft tissue therapy and manipulation is very effective when dealing with tendinopathy and tightness within the elbow. Also, a proper assessment that includes looking above and below the elbow is crucial for full recovery. Functional rehab strategies aim to improve the mechanics and function of the whole upper extremity which also includes the upper back and neck. When elbow pain is persistent with minimal results, a referral to another specialist can be made to investigate whether the tissues are damaged and need repair. At Elite Chiropractic and Performance, we specialize in the management of soft tissue related problems. Our goal is to not only offer quick relief, but to have permanent results. Interested in how we can help? Call us today at (636)-728-8607 to schedule a free consultation!