Tips on How to Fix Elbow Pain
Elbow pain can be frustrating. It can make it hard to do everyday tasks like picking things up, typing, or opening a door. Read this Fix My Elbow guide and learn how to fix your elbow pain today.
Use these tips to heal elbow pain
Elbow pain can be frustrating. It can make it hard to do everyday tasks like picking things up, typing, or opening a door.
The most common elbow pain is tennis or a golfer's elbow, and while it sounds like it might be most common among athletes, it's typically most common among those who use their hands regularly.
Elbow pain can range from irritating to so persistent it may require surgery.
But there are some tricks to help reduce or cure your elbow joint pain. This article will outline some of the top tips to help achieve pain relief so you can get back to doing what you love.
How does golfers' and tennis elbow pain develop?
A wide range of activities causes elbow pain, but the most common factor is repetitive motions and repeated stress that put pressure on your wrist and forearm.
Tennis and golfer's elbow are the most common conditions – both conditions got their name from the swinging that athletes do with a tennis racquet or golf club.
If using poor form and done repeatedly, the force exerted can strain or sprain the muscles and tendons in your elbow and forearm, causing the affected joints to be painful.
Although tennis and golfer’s elbow are most well-known, elbow pain is more common among manual labourers who use their hands every day. Carpenters, plumbers, painters, sewers, musicians, and others who exert force on their forearm, wrist, and hands most commonly suffer from elbow joint pain.
The elbow is a joint that allows you to bend your upper arm and is protected by muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Those muscles will enable you to control the movement of your hands and fingers.
However, when significant force is exerted on your forearm and wrist, especially repetitive movements causing too much stress, it can aggravate the tendons, ligaments, and muscles that run through your elbow and forearm, causing severe pain.
Several different conditions contribute to a painful elbow. You can read more about them here to determine which condition you are most likely to have.
Tips to fix elbow pain
For those experiencing pain, there are some things you can do to help relieve pain and stop it from becoming more chronic or persistent.
Conditions like tennis elbow only become worse over time, which is why taking action when you first experience pain is essential.
Here are some tips to give you pain relief:
Tip #1: Stop Repetitive Motions
The leading cause of elbow pain is conducting the same motion over and over.
For example, hammering or swinging a tennis racquet every day can lead to a painful elbow and the tennis elbow condition – otherwise known as lateral epicondylitis.
The repetitive actions and the heavy force exerted can strain or even sprain your muscles, leading to pain. If you don’t address this pain early, it can become more persistent and recurring, especially for people who can’t avoid using their hands like labourers.
If you find your movements contribute to your pain, stop doing them or change how you do them. For example, try to put less weight on your forearms and wrist or get someone to help you with manual labour, so you aren't bearing all the weight and force of your work.
Tip #2: Correct Bad Form
Try adjusting your form if you are an athlete or engage in sports regularly like tennis, golf, or baseball and are experiencing golfers or tennis elbow pain.
Often, poor form is to blame when using a racquet or club.
Ask for the help of an expert in the sport or a physio/physical therapist to adjust your form. The modified form will reduce the strain placed on your forearm and wrist.
Elbow problems can also come from using equipment that is too large or too heavy, causing you to overextend your arm muscles and wrist. Make sure your kit fits your body and try and take a break from playing or swinging for a few days.
Tip #3: Ice or Heat Your Elbow
Once you experience elbow pain, it's essential to take immediate action, either icing or heating it. Icing is recommended right after an injury because it helps reduce inflammation. Also, if you've aggravated or strained a tendon, the ice will help reduce that blood flow and swelling.
It's recommended you ice your elbow for 10-15 minutes a few times a day after experiencing pain. Frozen peas wrapped in a towel are an option when you don't have an ice pack to hand.
For people who experience chronic golfers or tennis elbow, heat is recommended to help relax muscles so they can recover and heal. Heat also helps reduce tendon pain.
Tip #4: Stretch Your Elbow
In addition to icing or heating your elbow, stretching is also recommended.
While it's best to avoid the activity that contributed to your elbow pain, it's not recommended to stop moving entirely; otherwise, your muscles will stiffen up.
When you perform exercises and stretch your elbow, it has been found to help reduce pain and strengthen muscles, which helps avoid developing chronic pain in the elbow.
Some of the best stretches for elbow pain include:
Bicep curl - With your arm at your side, bend your elbow and curl your forearm up toward your shoulder with your palm facing your body and curl it back down. Do this about ten times. Then turn your palm the other way and bend your forearm up toward your body with your palm facing toward the ground as you curl up. Do this about ten times.
Wrist circles - Hold your arm at 90 degrees and begin circling your wrist in one direction for about 10-15 seconds. Then switch directions to rotate the other way for 10-15 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times.
Palm stretch - Extend your arm down and flex your palm, then grab your fingers and pull them back toward your wrist to stretch out your forearm and wrist. Hold this for 10-20 seconds and then flip your palm over, dragging your fingers back toward your wrist and hold for 10-20 seconds.
These are just some stretches to help when experiencing golfers or tennis elbow. A physical therapist can offer more options tailored to your specific condition, and the Fix My Elbow programme is designed to achieve exactly this.
Tip #5: Wrap Your Elbow
An elbow wrap or brace is another excellent way to reduce the painful area of the elbow. Drug stores will often sell wraps or braces made for the elbow. The compression holds the muscle in place to help it heal. Construction workers or manual labourers often use a wrap to help relieve the pressure on their elbow.
When to see a doctor or go for physio/physical therapy
Some of the above tips will help relieve or cure elbow pain. However, if your pain continues for weeks or months without improving or gets worse, it may be time to see a doctor. Similarly, if you experience tingling or numbness in your elbow, it is recommended to see a specialist. They are likely to x-ray your elbow to determine if a more severe condition could require injections or surgery.
This article outlined some tips to fix elbow pain. In addition, it included what to do immediately after experiencing pain and some treatment for people who suffer from more persistent golfers or tennis elbow pain. If you are looking for more information about what could be causing your pain, you can read more here: Elbow Pain Guide
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