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Posted on 07-07-2016

My elbow HURTS!  Fix it!

You start to notice some elbow pain, near the elbow, sometimes below it a bit.  The muscles ache, you might even have some tingling in your forearm or perhaps your wrist/hand feels a bit weak at times. 

You might go see your family physician and get the diagnosis of tennis elbow, which is a condition of the elbow where the muscles that make your wrist extend (think ‘cocking of the wrist’) pull to hard on the bone of your elbow and cause a painful inflammatory condition which can make a simple task like doing your hair or brushing your teeth feel like someone is jabbing your elbow with a hot knife. 

The typical medical treatment is typically an anti-inflammatory medication and maybe an elbow strap like this one:

This can often reduce the amount of tenderness by keeping the muscles warm and for some cases this brace and the combination of medication may be enough to get rid of the problem.  However, for many of these cases, this will not do the trick.  The reason is that by not treating the underlying condition directly, the problems persists and often leads to relying on the brace to do many daily tasks.  With prolonged used of the brace, the muscles around this area can atrophy (shrink, get weaker) and create further problems in the affected arm. 

Another issue is whether or not the condition was accurately diagnosed.  There are two common problems that can occur in this area; one is Tennis Elbow, the other is something called Radial Tunnel Syndrome.  Sometimes these conditions can occur together, further complicating things and making treatment a bit tougher.   

Once we have accurately diagnosed which problem  you are suffering from, we can then lay out a specific treatment plan that often involves the use of myofascial release (think of this as a kind of specialized massage therapy) and either electrical stimulation, ultrasound, and acupuncture. 

We have often found that treating these issues is typically something we can affect within a few short weeks of therapy, sometimes completely clearing it up and eliminating the need for the brace and medications.  Some conditions are more stubborn and require continued treatment and/or the use of the brace/medications but we rarely see these conditions not eventually respond to our care and have to be referred for more aggressive approaches such as steroid injection.  We have the goal of avoiding steroid injection due the side effects; infection, sepsis, facial flushing, hypo-pigmentation, peri-lymphatic atrophy, bleeding, tendon rupture, steroid flare, soft tissue atrophy, and hypersensitivity reaction 1

If you or a loved one suffers with elbow pain as described above, call us today and see if we can help.

Natural Arts Chiropractic & Acupuncture

1. Park, Sun-Kyung, Yun Suk Choi, and Hyun-Jung Kim. "Hypopigmentation and Subcutaneous Fat, Muscle Atrophy after Local Corticosteroid Injection."Korean Journal of Anesthesiology. The Korean Society of Anesthesiologists, Dec. 2013. Web. 07 July 2016.

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