The pain started as just a hint on the outside of the elbow. Leo was not even sure when or how he first noticed it, but within weeks the constant ache on the outside of his elbow went from a whisper to a howl whenever he had to lift anything. Forget pouring coffee in the morning – even holding a coffee cup was difficult.
Elbow pain is common in throwing and racquet sports, as the names tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow or pitcher’s elbow suggests. But anyone, including desk jockeys like Leo, can develop elbow pain from seemingly benign activities like typing or cooking. Elbow pain is not only common but often debilitating. It can make the most important tasks – opening a jar or picking up your child and yes – holding a coffee cup – something you avoid.
But elbow pain is rarely just an elbow problem. Poor movement patterns in your shoulder, or a “hot” nerve from your neck can make your elbow hurt. And muscle imbalances anywhere in the arm can show up as elbow pain.We often hear about tendinopathies being ascribed to overuse, which implies that rest is the answer. “Do don’t pick up the coffee pot, or milk carton and don’t chop vegetables”. But rarely is rest alone the answer, and it often makes things worse. For more about tendinopathies read this article: 4 Myths About Tendonitis.
Perhaps overuse syndromes should be called misuse syndromes, because correcting faulty movement patterns improves outcomes. Tightness, weakness or a combination of tightness and weakness can create elbow pain. And knowing if the issues are more about nerves, or a problem with tendons or even a bursa is important. Sometimes simple stretches make a difference, but often, recovery requires a combination of strategies.
Discovering the reason for the pain is key to making it stop and that’s where we come in: We’ll do a thorough evaluation to see if your movement patterns are an issue. We’ll check nerve mobility, and we’ll evaluate strength and flexibility. Then we’ll partner with you to make a plan to get you better.
Education: We’ll tell you what we found and make sure you understand what you need to do between visits to maximize progress.
Manual Therapy : We use this improve joint and muscle mobility at the problem areas – most commonly neck, shoulder, elbow or wrist.
Nerve Mobilization: I f nerves are adhered or inflamed, there are special techniques required to get them moving and calmed down.
Progressive Loading: With tendon injuries, progressive loading is critical for healing. A loading program will reduce pain and improve strength and endurance for normal activities. With the Flexbar, you can do concentric, eccentric, or isometric exercise depending on your diagnosis, stage of healing, and goals. Deciding exactly what to do and when is like threading a needle and your therapist should guide you through the progression to ensure the perfect result.
At ALTA, our mission is to help you live a full life, unhampered by pain. So, if elbow pain is making you think twice about lifting your daughter, or the coffee pot, call us today.