My Elbow Hurts
My Elbows Hurt
By Daniel Rocha LMT CPT CNS
Having been an athlete all my life, injuries were just part of the game, I was in gymnastics, played semipro soccer, then almost became an IFBB Pro, placing 4th at the 2009 NPC USA then 3rd at the 2011 North Americans. Of course, any serious injuries were addressed with a trip to the Emergency Room; I have had my fair share of injuries, ankle sprains, wrist sprains, dislocated elbow, collarbone fracture, fingers fractured, torn pectoral muscle, compression in lumbar vertebrae, all from playing a variety of sports. As a bodybuilder, regular massage work with chiropractic care allowed me to train more efficiently and recover faster. So as I discovered naprapathy, this is a much more effective way to handle everyday injuries and keep one playing the sport they love. Many of my clients are athletes, so I see many athletic injuries daily.
So let’s go over the types of pain that can occur at the elbow junction.
Tennis elbow is inflammation of several structures of the elbow, including muscles, tendons, bursa, periosteum, and epicondyle. Tennis elbow is caused by repeated forceful contractions of the outside wrist muscles; the stress causes microscopic tears leading to inflammation of the lateral epicondyle. All forearm muscles are involved in tennis serves, with combined motions of the elbow and wrist. Tennis elbow is an overuse injury common amongst patients between ages 20 and 40.
Tennis elbow patients are involved in occupations that require strenuous or repetitive forearm movement, such as mechanics or carpentry. Sports activities that require an athlete to twist the hand, wrist, and forearm, such as tennis, throwing a ball, bowling, golfing, and skiing, cause tennis elbow. Patients in poor physical condition exposed to the repetitive wrist and forearm movements are prone to tennis elbow.
Application of heat or ice relieves tennis elbow pain. Once acute symptoms subside, heat treatments increase blood circulation and promote healing. A physician may recommend physical therapy or a naprapath to apply diathermy or ultrasound to the inflamed site to increase the temperature of the tissues to alleviate pain and inflammation. A tennis elbow splint or taping helps to decrease stress on the elbow during daily activities. Exercise is essential to improve flexibility in all forearm muscles and decrease strength and tendon tightness created by excessive pulling at the attachment of the epicondyle.
A naprapath or massage therapist may perform massage therapy if symptoms are mild. The massage techniques increase circulation to promote the efficient reduction of inflammation. A naprapath may also utilize joint manipulation as well to alleviate symptoms. The recommendation of contrast hydrotherapy, which alternates hot and cold water or compresses, three minutes hot, 30 seconds cold, repeated three times, always ending without, is applied to the elbow to bring nutrient-rich blood to the joint to carry waste products away.
Golfer's elbow is a painful inflammation of the bony bump on the inner side of the elbow, known as medial epicondylitis. The elbow joint comprises the humerus and ulna, where the bony bumps at the bottom of the humerus are called the epicondyles. The tendons that work to bend the wrist attach to the medial epicondyle. Golfer's elbow is known as wrist flexor tendinopathy of elbow tendinopathy.
Golfer's elbow is caused by overuse of the fingers and wrist muscles, causing the tendons to be repeatedly pulled where they attach to the bone, resulting in inflammation. Again this commonly happens in sports such as golf, throwing sports, racquet sports, or in work activities like carpentry or typing. Tendinopathy can cause scar tissue in the tendon called tendinosis.
Naprapathic treatment includes placing an ice pack wrapped in a cloth on the area every 3 to 4 hours, for up to 20 minutes at a time. Similar treatments for tennis elbow may apply here as well.
Recovery speed depends on age, health, and if the patient had a previous injury. Recovery time depends on the severity of the damage. A mild injury recovers within a few weeks, but a severe injury up to 6 weeks or longer. The problem can be long-lasting and reoccurring. Cessation of activities that cause pain is advised until the elbow has healed.
Return to daily activities depends on elbow recovery. A good indication of recovery occurs when a patient can forcefully grip a bat or golf club or do activities such as working at a keyboard without pain in your elbow. It is important to note any swelling around the injured elbow and that the elbow has a full range of motion.
I highly encourage you to watch triceps and biceps training from IFBB Pro Ben Pakulski and his MI40 University program. He explains very well, how to train within anatomically correct positions. This is crucial if you’re prone to elbow pain and injuries.
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Haggerty, M., & Frey, R. J. (2020). Sports Injuries. In J. L. Longe (Ed.), The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine (6th ed., Vol. 8, pp. 4855-4857). Gale. https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX7986601776/HWRC?u=lirn33148&sid=bookmark-HWRC&xid=ee664d73
Larson, J. P., & Finley, K. (2020). Tennis Elbow. In J. L. Longe (Ed.), The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine (6th ed., Vol. 8, pp. 5055-5057). Gale. https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/CX7986601845/HWRC?u=lirn33148&sid=bookmark-HWRC&xid=58215b55
Rouzier, P. (2012). Golfer's elbow. In RelayClinical Education (Vol. 2012). RelayHealth. https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/A281566545/HWRC?u=lirn33148&sid=bookmark-HWRC&xid=c2174532My