Do you grapple with debilitating elbow pain? Are you unsure of the root of the problem? This post will outline three possible causes and appropriate treatments for each.
Are you an active individual? Do you regularly engage in repetitive activities? If so, you may be even more vulnerable to the onset of unbearable elbow pain. But even if not, you can still find yourself battling the following ailments.
First up is tennis elbow. There are several thousand cases of this painful condition each year. Have you noticed an intense burning sensation (inflammation) or a throbbing sensation on the outside of your elbow? Does this pain sometimes radiate through your forearm and to your wrist? If so, you may be yet another victim of tennis elbow.
This condition is a direct result of the irritation and overuse of the tendons that connect to the elbow.
Despite its name, this isn’t an athlete's affliction alone. It can also affect those in professions or with hobbies where repetitive motion occurs. This is especially true when a great deal of force is involved. This leaves quite a few folks at risk without them even realizing it.
Do you often engage in activities that place a heavy strain on your arms and leave you aching? If so, there’s no need to worry. Tennis elbow is treatable with the following.
Often, simply giving your elbows a break can make a world of difference. However, a little more than just rest may sometimes be necessary.
Braces can provide much-needed support so that your elbows don’t have to work and strain so hard. This may even allow you to resume normal activities without adding to the aggravation.
Severe cases -- which may require acupuncture, physical or occupational therapy -- are far less common. Chances are that rest, ice and a brace will be all that you need to start feeling like new again.
If the symptoms of tennis elbow didn’t ring any bells, perhaps golfer’s elbow is to blame. (This condition is also known as pitcher’s elbow.) It differs from its sibling, tennis elbow, in that inflammation occurs on the inside of the elbow.
In addition to pain and swelling, it causes stiffness or weakness in the forearm or hand. Have you noticed that your ease of movement has decreased? Do you have little strength to do tasks that were formerly a breeze? This could be the cause.
Again, this form of tendonitis (inflammation of the tendons) isn’t limited to those who play sports. It's also common in individuals who use hammers, screwdrivers, rakes and similar instruments regularly. This is due to the demanding use of the wrist during these activities.
Most cases are mild. These tend to resolve themselves after a few weeks of rest or limited activity. Ice and elbow braces may also be helpful during this recovery period, as with the previous ailment.
In more severe instances, though, physical therapy -- or at least a home exercise program -- may need to be implemented. This will help to regain both strength and range of motion, making life so much easier.
Last but not least is bursitis. This term describes inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs that serve as cushions between your joints. These sacs sometimes have a mind of their own and fill with excess fluid. This makes them press on surrounding tissues and cause tenderness.
Unlike the previous two conditions, bursitis is not a form of tendonitis. But, it yields similar symptoms, including soreness, swelling, stiffness and limited range of motion.
The treatment of bursitis is also like that of the previous two conditions. Consistent icing and compression with an elbow brace will usually resolve the issue within a few months.
Elevation and limited use of the arm can also provide great relief. The best thing you can do is to try and reduce any friction that might further aggravate the pain.
The above are just a few common causes of elbow pain. They all result in varying levels of pain and physical limitation. However, most cases are rather mild and can be self-diagnosed and treated at home using the methods discussed. Very rarely are more drastic measures necessary.
If you suspect that you suffer from one or more of these conditions, keep on the lookout for future posts on effective, natural ways to manage your elbow pain.