There is nothing quite like elbow pain to remind you of how much your arm does for you on a daily basis. Elbow pain can vary from
an ache to sharp pain and range from intermittent to constant. The causes are numerous and can involve muscles, tendons, ligaments, bursa, and bones. Let’s discuss some of the common causes of elbow pain and some of the natural treatments available.
Common Causes Of Elbow Pain
- Medial Epicondylitis. Medial epicondylitis is also known as “golfers elbow”, and affects the inner tendons in the elbow. Repetitive motions such as those used in a golf swing, throwing a ball or swinging a hammer are common causes and result in pain along the inside of the elbow. Medial epicondylitis develops where tendons in the forearm muscle attach to the bony part inside of the elbow. Tendons attach muscles to bones and injury or irritation can cause inflammation and pain.
- Lateral Epicondylitis. Lateral epicondylitis is often otherwise known as “tennis elbow”. Racquet sports and certain repetitive motions used in professions such as auto workers, chefs, painters, and carpentry can cause this problem. Lateral epicondylitis affects the tendon on the outside of the elbow and can make opening a jar or holding a cup of coffee difficult and painful.
- Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a condition that involves the cartilage, a type of connective tissue found in joints. Osteoarthritis provokes this tissue to wear down and become damaged. Elbow osteoarthritis can be caused by an elbow injury, age, or wear and tear on the joints. This can cause pain, stiffness, and joint instability in the elbow.
- Dislocation Or Fracture. An injury to the elbow joint such as catching yourself from a fall with an outstretched arm or elbow can cause dislocation or even fracture. A dislocation occurs when the bone moves from its usual position. A fracture occurs when the bone actually cracks or breaks. Swelling, inability to move the elbow and pain are all symptoms.
- Olecranon Bursitis. Olecranon bursitis is also known as “miners elbow, students elbow or draftsman’s elbow”. Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that protect the joint, and in this case, at the point of the elbow. Leaning for prolonged periods of time on the elbow, injury or arthritis can all cause the bursa to become inflamed and painful.
- Ligament Strains/Sprains. The ligaments in the elbow have the potential to become stretched or torn as a result of trauma or repeated stress on the joint. It is not uncommon to hear a popping sound upon the time of injury. Swelling, difficulty with range of motion, and pain are common with a ligament strain/sprain.
- Nerve Compression Or Entrapment. If the nerves that travel through the elbow become pressed upon or squeezed then this is considered a compression or entrapment syndrome. Pain, weakness, and tingling in the hands and fingers are symptoms.
5 Natural Treatments For Elbow Pain
- Rest. The first thing you can do for your elbow is to give it a break. By avoiding the movement that caused the injury for a period of time, this will allow the elbow to heal itself.
- Heat/Ice. Applying heat allows for more blood flow to the affected area, while ice will help with inflammation. Alternating these are recommended (ending with ice) unless either causes the pain to become worse. Regardless of which you use, wrap either in a soft cloth or towel to prevent irritation from the cold or heat.
- Acupuncture. Acupuncture is a valid and effective therapeutic method for the alleviation of elbow pain. Acupuncture is an effective therapy for helping to break up the tightness in the muscle as well as encouraging blood flow to promote healing and decrease pain.
- Chiropractic Care. Often, people think only of neck and back pain when they think of Chiropractors. The truth is that Chiropractors regularly treats all joints, including shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, hips, knees, ankles, and feet. Elbow pain can originate from the elbow joint itself and is something that Chiropractors work on regularly to provide relief and healing. It is also possible that the source may be due to neck and upper back dysfunction. Many nerves travel through multiple channels from the neck, through the chest, elbow, and into the hand. When pressure is decreased on the nerve roots that originate from the spine and through the vertebrae, it can increase muscle function, strength, and improves the overall health in the arm. Chiropractic adjustments can be helpful to all parts of the body and may reduce joint restrictions or misalignments in the spine, reduce inflammation, and improve the function of both the affected joint and nervous system.
- Physical Therapy. A Physical Therapist is capable of treating your elbow pain by starting with pain relief. Ice, muscle stimulation, massage, and tape or a brace may all help your discomfort. A PT will also provide you with exercises, stretches, or teaching and changing the way you move to help improve what caused the issue to begin with.
There are many causes of elbow pain, ranging from overuse to injury. Chronic elbow pain or injury can impact your life and make even simple daily activities very difficult. Rest, chiropractic care, acupuncture, ice or heat, and physical therapy are all examples of natural treatments for elbow pain.
If you are interested in learning more about health and wellness, I encourage you to schedule an with one of our trusted practitioners at SHIN Wellness. We offer many holistic treatments such as Decompression Therapy, Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Neurofeedback, Psychology, Reiki, Nutrition, Corrective Exercises, and Massage. If you need some help figuring out what service is right for you, try our personalized Our Wellness Center and Chiropractor office in Miami Florida specializes in restoring your health!