Elbow Pain and Treatment

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Elbow Pain – Tendonitis

Tendonitis is one of the most common reasons for elbow pain. Sometimes called tennis elbow, this painful condition can occur when a tendon that attaches to the elbow joint becomes irritated or inflamed, either from injury or from overuse. Other common elbow problems include arthritis and problems from the wrist or shoulder, which cause referred pain to the elbow.

Diagnosis of Elbow Pain

The elbow joint works best when the arm motion is straight up-and-down. Rotation and side-to-side movements are less tolerated. Too much stress in these directions can irritate the elbow tendons and cause a tendonitis condition. It can also be caused by repeated vibration forces under weight bearing. Some sports that may cause this include tennis, other racket sports, and, to a lesser degree, golf. Continued irritation of the elbow tendons can lead to calcific tendonitis, which is a type of arthritis.

Elbow injuries or chronic elbow problems from overuse can affect more than just the elbow joint. Elbow problems can adversely affect grip strength, as well, even causing shaking hands to become painful. Elbow pain can extend up to the shoulder and down to the wrist. Many elbow problems caused by inflammation to the tendons will also worsen with turning forces. A common way to acquire or to worsen tennis elbow (also known as lateral epicondylitis) is to perform repetitive screwdriver-like activities with the sore arm.

Frequent application of ice packs will usually reduce inflammation around the elbow joint. Exercise caution  when using ice, since the lack of tissue makes the elbow vulnerable to frostbite (cold damage). For this reason, it is best to limit use to 10 minutes or less and not to reapply the ice until 10-15 minutes after removal. It is important to be especially careful and protect the sides of the elbow.

Treatment For Elbow Tendonitis

Your chiropractor can also examine your elbow to help determine the nature of the condition. Diagnostic tools, such as x-rays, may reveal early calcification of the tendons around the joint, which may be one reason why the problem keeps recurring. With proper therapy, such as joint manipulation, ultrasound (which can help reduce inflammation and breakdown calcified deposits), and other therapeutic measures, your condition may be markedly improved.

Other treatments for elbow problems include protective bracing and nutritional supplements such as bromelain (an enzyme helpful in reducing inflammation, found in pineapples). At Mountain View Pain Center, our chiropractors can help you get a correctly sized and fitted elbow support, as well as recommend the correct nutritional supplements to help your elbow condition. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us.

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