Elbow Pain: Symptoms and Treatments

A quick Google search for “elbow pain” pulls up the following terms: “inner elbow pain”, “outside elbow pain”, “tennis elbow” and “elbow pain treatment”. All these point to just how common elbow pain is!

Let’s take a look at what elbow pain is.

Brief Anatomy of the Elbow

The elbow is a joint made up of three bones: the humerus, ulna and radius. These bones are held together by ligaments and covered with cartilage, which absorbs shock.

As we often use our arms and hands for daily activities, the elbow is one of the most important and active parts of our bodies. This means it’s often under extreme pressure of all kinds, increasing the risk of injuries. These injuries include tennis and golfer’s elbow, which are covered below.

The elbow is made up of the humerus bone, ulna in the forearm and radius bone on top of the ulna.

Tennis Elbow

Contrary to popular belief, tennis elbow doesn’t just affect tennis players—in fact, only 5% of those patients who suffer from tennis elbow are tennis players!

Tennis elbow occurs to anyone who repeats an arm motion over and over, or forceful movements at the wrist. This means tennis elbow is a repetitive stress injury: because of these movements, the tendons of the elbow become inflamed. As a result, too much force is exerted on the outer bony part of the elbow, further irritating it and causing tennis elbow.

If you have tennis elbow, you may feel the following symptoms:

  • Wrist weakness
  • Tenderness over the outside of the elbow
  • Pain when lifting or bending the arm
  • Difficulty extending the forearm fully
  • Pain when gripping, lifting and carrying
  • Pain and discomfort can continue for as little as 3 weeks or as long as several years, if untreated.
Tennis elbow can cause difficulty extending the forearm completely and issues with grip.

Golfer’s Elbow

Once again, this issue isn’t unique to golfers! Golfer’s Elbow often occurs when you use your hands and fingers for repetitive tasks that involve wrist flexion. Typing, texting, mousing, playing video games, gripping and rock climbing are all common causes.

Like tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow is a repetitive stress injury caused by inflammation; chronic cases are caused by degenerated collagen in the tendons. However, the affected area is different. Golfer’s elbow affects the wrist flexor muscles and pain is near the inner elbow around the funny bone region.

The symptoms of golfer’s elbow are largely similar to that of tennis elbow.

Pain caused by golfer’s elbow is mostly felt in the forearm, unlike that of tennis elbow (typically at the outer bony lump of the elbow)

Treating Tennis and Golfer’s Elbow

Treating tennis and golfer’s elbow involves a mixture of exercises and therapies.

Chiropractic treatment is the best option for getting these conditions professionally treated. Your chiropractor may recommend the following options to you:

  • Cold therapy or cryotherapy helps calm inflammation and pain.
  • Active release therapy (ART) involves actively moving the injured parts to quickly break up scar tissue surrounding the elbow.
  • Ultrasound therapy stimulates healing responses in the damaged tissue.
  • Electrotherapy relieves pain and strengthens the injured area.
  • Shockwave therapy is non-invasive and promotes tissue regeneration and repair.
  • Low level laser therapy is also non-invasive and has similar effects to shockwave therapy
  • Anti-inflammatory food choices or supplements speeds up recovery by supplying the nutrients that encourage tissue repair. Good foods include fatty fish, leafy greens, turmeric and ginger.

Exercises are also a great way to strengthen up!

Stretching: For those who know their work or play will involve a lot of repetitive arm motions, stretching will be your best preventive measure. Stretching these muscles works to strengthen them over time.

Squeeze and release exercise: Grip a tennis or stress ball in the hand of your injured arm. Squeeze and release the tennis ball for 2-3 minutes, 3-4 times a day.

Stress ball exercises help you strengthen up.

If you’re experiencing any elbow woes, consult a chiropractor to find out what is causing your pain and treatment solutions. Give us a call at 62084669 or drop us an email wecare@mychirocare.sg!