Elbow pain can be a debilitating condition, limiting one’s ability to perform daily tasks and participate in physical activities. Do you ever experience pain in your elbow when you lift something or twist your arm? Please read how physiotherapy can relieve your elbow pain and get you back to doing the things you love.
Causes of Elbow Pain
- Repeated overuse of the forearm muscles during golf or tennis
- Overload of the elbow and forearm by gripping and lifting a heavy object
- Fractures, dislocations, and joint sprains
- ICBC accident-related trauma
- Poor Posture
Symptoms of Elbow Pain
- Pain around the elbow sometimes radiating into upper arm, forearm or hand
- Tenderness and Swelling
- Tingling or Numbness-due to nerve involvement
- Weakness because of muscle damage
- Limited range of motion of elbow or wrist
Common Conditions That Cause Elbow Pain
Golfers Elbow/Tennis Elbow
Golfer’s elbow is usually caused by overusing the muscles and tendons responsible for bending the wrist towards the palm, while tennis elbow is caused by overusing the muscles responsible for gripping and extending the wrist. This overuse of the muscles and tendons can lead to small tears in the tissues, which, in turn, leads to inflammation, and eventually, pain in the elbow. If left untreated, these conditions can become severe and can lead to long-term pain and discomfort.
Olecranon Bursitis is a condition that occurs when the bursa sac near the tip of the elbow becomes inflamed or irritated creating a bulge that is visible. This can lead to pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness in the area, making movement difficult and painful.
Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that cushions the elbow joint wears down, causing pain, stiffness, and swelling. This can make it difficult to carry out everyday tasks such as lifting, gripping, and bending the arm. As the condition worsens, bone spurs may develop, causing additional discomfort. Pain relievers, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications can all be effective in reducing elbow pain and improving joint function.
Rheumatoid arthritis can cause pain and inflammation in various joints, including the elbow. This condition occurs when your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body, including the lining of your joints. Over time, this causes joint erosion, cartilage deterioration, and ultimately joint deformity. As the elbow joint becomes damaged, it can result in pain, swelling, stiffness, and limited mobility. Accurately diagnosing and treating the disorder is crucial to managing symptoms and ensuring a better quality of life.
Biceps Rupture (Tear)
Biceps rupture can be debilitating, making it challenging to carry out everyday tasks. The ruptured biceps tendon can cause significant strain on the surrounding muscles and ligaments, putting excessive pressure on the elbow joint. This pressure leads to pain in the elbow, which can range from mild to severe depending on the extent of the rupture.
Nerve entrapment occurs when something presses on a nerve, leading to pain, tingling, or even numbness in the affected area. In the case of elbow pain, this means that there may be pressure on the nerves from the neck, 1st rib, nerve sheath or on the nerves around the elbow causing symptoms, that may radiate from the shoulder down to the elbow, wrist and fingers.
Fractures occur when a bone in the elbow is broken or cracked, causing immediate pain and discomfort. Whether it’s from a fall, a sports injury, or an accident, the pain associated with a fracture can be severe and long-lasting, making it crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Ligaments are tough, fibrous tissues that connect bone to bone and provide stability to joints. When the ligaments become overstretched or torn, it can result in a sprain. In the case of the elbow, this often occurs due to repetitive motions or trauma, such as falls or sports injuries.
When the muscles in the forearm and upper arm become strained, it can put excessive stress on the tendons that connect these muscles to the elbow. This leads to inflammation and pain in the affected area.
When Should I See A Physiotherapist?
If you’re experiencing elbow pain, seeking the advice and treatment of a physiotherapist can help to alleviate pain and prevent further damage or injury. While there are a variety of reasons you might experience elbow pain, a physiotherapist is trained to identify the root cause and provide a personalized and effective treatment plan which will include exercises and modern techniques to promote healing and restore function
Don’t let elbow pain limit your daily activities – see a physiotherapist today.
Treatments For Elbow Pain
This therapy technique involves hands-on manipulation of muscles and joints as an effective treatment for elbow pain. By targeting the underlying causes of the pain, such as muscle tension, or joint mobility issues, manual therapy can alleviate discomfort and promote healing.
Through expert manipulation of the soft tissues and fascia around the elbow joint, massage therapy can reduce inflammation, improve circulation, alleviate muscle tension and active trigger points, and break up scar tissue that contributes to elbow pain. Whether you’re an athlete, office worker, or anyone suffering from elbow pain, massage therapy may be the solution you’ve been searching for.
Laser and Ultrasound
Laser therapy works by promoting healing at the cellular level, reducing inflammation and pain, and increasing circulation. Ultrasound therapy uses high-frequency sound waves to increase blood flow and promote tissue repair. Both of these modalities have shown promising results in reducing elbow, swelling, inflammation and pain thereby improving range of motion.
Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive, outpatient treatment that uses sound waves to stimulate healing. Shockwave Therapy promotes regeneration of healthy tissue by increasing blood flow to the affected area and by breaking up thickened tissue. For those suffering from elbow pain caused by chronic tendinitis/tendinosis or other soft tissue injuries, shockwave therapy can provide significant relief.
Acupuncture and intramuscular stimulation (IMS) involve inserting thin needles into key points on the body to help reduce pain/inflammation and can be especially helpful for those with chronic conditions like tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow. While the idea of needles may sound intimidating, those who have tried acupuncture and IMS for elbow pain have reported significant improvements in their symptoms, making it a promising option for those seeking a natural and holistic approach to pain management.
Traditional methods of treating elbow pain typically involve rest, ice, and medication. However, Kinesio taping is a promising treatment option. This approach uses a specially designed tape to apply targeted pressure to the affected area, helping to reduce pain and inflammation while improving mobility. Kinesio taping has been shown to be effective in a variety of conditions, including tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, and arthritis.
Braces are designed to support and stabilize the affected area, reducing the pressure and strain on your muscles and joints. This lessens the pain and inflammation and allows the injured area to heal. By using a brace, you can expect to not only feel relief from your elbow pain but also to stay moderately active and continue to do the things you love. Whether you’ve recently experienced an injury or have a chronic condition, bracing in conjunction with physiotherapy can be effective in the treatment of elbow pain.
Active rehabilitation involves a series of exercises and stretches designed to increase strength and flexibility in the affected area. By addressing the root cause of the pain and improving mobility, active rehabilitation can help alleviate symptoms of elbow pain and prevent future injury. It’s important to work with a physiotherapist and kinesiologist to develop a personalized rehabilitation plan that meets your specific needs and goals.
A Tens Machine sends electrical impulses to the affected area, stimulating the nerves, and reducing the perception of pain. It’s a non-invasive, drug-free option that can be used for both acute and chronic elbow pain. So, whether the pain is due to an injury or a chronic condition like tendinitis or tennis elbow, a Tens Machine can help you effectively manage your pain.
This small, soft ball can be used in a variety of exercises to improve range of motion, stability and strength around the elbow. It is small and portable, so you can use it at home, at work, or on the go.
A Tracu Ball, can be used to target the affected area and reduce pain and improve range of motion. The gentle pressure that the Tracu Ball applies to the elbow area can help release muscle tightness and promote blood flow, further aiding the healing process.
Fisiocrem may just be the solution to your nagging discomfort. This natural product, made from high-quality plant extracts, provides a gentle yet effective way to ease pain, swelling and inflammation in the elbow joint.
This versatile exercise band is specially designed to help strengthen and stretch muscles and can be used for a range of exercises that target the elbow joint. Theraband can help reduce stiffness, improve flexibility, increase range of motion and strength.
Moist Heat Pack
This can help to relieve discomfort and soothe sore muscles in the elbow area. The heat can increase blood flow, decrease pain and joint stiffness. Whether you’ve suffered an acute injury or are dealing with a chronic condition, a heat pack can be a great way to ease your pain and help you get back to feeling your best.
Elbow pain can be a frustrating and highly debilitating condition. By understanding how the elbow works and what causes elbow pain, you can begin to take steps to alleviate your pain and get back to doing the things you love. With the help of a physiotherapist, we will provide you with a personalized treatment plan that can includes manual therapy, exercises and laser therapy to address your specific needs. Don’t let elbow pain slow you down. Contact one of our physiotherapy clinics to schedule an assessment with a Physiotherapist and get started on the path to recovery today!