One of the most common reasons to have elbow pain is tendonitis. This condition is due to inflammation. Sometimes called tennis elbow, this painful condition can occur when a tendon that attaches to the elbow joint becomes irritated, either from injury or from overuse. Other common elbow problems include arthritis and problems from the wrist or the 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. Repeated vibration forces under weight bearing can also cause joint irritation. Commonly played sports that can cause this condition are 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 too. Even shaking hands can be 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; In fact, 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 usually works well to reduce inflammation around the elbow joint. Care must be taken when using ice, since the lack of tissue makes the elbow vulnerable to frostbite (cold damage.) For this reason, it is best to limit the time an ice bag is on 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 like Bromelain (an enzyme helpful in reducing inflammation and 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.