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Elbow Pain Relief

Updated on August 17, 2009

Elbow Pain Relief

If you are seeking any type of elbow pain relief, it is important to obtain as much information as possible as to the different causes of and treatments for this aggravating condition. Commonly known as “tennis elbow”, any type of pain in the forearm or elbow area actually qualifies to be labeled “elbow pain”, primarily due to the fact that the pain in this area can be deferred from the elbow all the way to the extremities (i.e., the fingers). The phrase “tennis elbow” is somewhat of a misnomer; because you don’t have to be a tennis player to get tennis elbow; you just need to engage in any type of repetitive movement that can cause strain on the ligaments surrounding the elbow. The pain you feel is actually ligament pain, and it can affect more than may be readily apparent for such an injury. A lot of times, we don’t realize how much our bodies truly do operate as a system…in the case of elbow pain, the discomfort may be felt due to movements of the wrist and forearm, because they are all interconnected. That pain that you may feel from the strain on the ligaments surrounding your elbow can eventually be felt in the wrist, forearm, hand, and even fingers as a tingling sensation or sometimes an acute shooting pain. Some of the most common sufferers of elbow pain include people who play any type of racquet sports (i.e., tennis, squash, badminton, etc.), as well as people who have jobs that require repetitive elbow movements, such as turning a screwdriver or a ratchet. Lacrosse and baseball (especially pitching) are other sports where elbow pain can frequently occur. Drummers can also suffer from elbow pain sometimes due to incorrect form. Of course, one of the more obvious sources of elbow pain is hyperextension, which means you basically have bent your elbow the “wrong way”, so to speak, possibly as part of a sports-related injury of some kind, or just a normal accident from doing housework, for example. Some other fairly common sources of elbow pain include arthritis, which is an inflammation of the joint areas, and tendonitis, which is an abnormal stressing or stretching of the tendons. The bottom line is, no matter what the specific cause, elbow pain is extremely uncomfortable, and certain arm movements that should seem harmless in and of themselves can become debilitating due to elbow pain.

Image courtesy of Microsoft Office Clip Art
Image courtesy of Microsoft Office Clip Art

Elbow Pain Relief: Some Possible Options

So what are some of the treatments or remedies that can be performed to bring some kind of elbow pain relief? The most common form of rather immediate relief is to apply ice to the affected area. Locate the source of the pain, or the area of the elbow that is the most sensitive to pain, and apply an ice pack to that area at least 5 or 6 times a day, anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes per application. This will be one of the more common ways to reduce swelling and keep inflammation from becoming more prominent. Make sure to wrap the ice in some type of towel or thin cloth; it’s never a good thing to apply ice directly to the skin—it will get uncomfortable real fast. Apply this same ice treatment for at least 3 or 4 days in a row, and if you don’t see (or feel) any improvements, it may be time to take more sophisticated measures. Depending upon the degree of pain that you feel, you may want to take some type of medicine to help ease the discomfort, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. These medicines will not “cure” the elbow, but will do a decent job of numbing the pain so that it can make the situation more tolerable. Elbow braces are another option to investigate, as they can provide the needed support for the elbow that it may be lacking during the time of recovery. It is very important to use the elbow as little as possible during this time—meaning, no activities that require any type of intense use of the elbow—so that you can allow the healing process to take place. Sometimes the only thing you can really do is to just wait it out and let time do the healing. But for some decent relief in the interim, it is a good idea to have either a supportive elbow brace of some kind  (with neoprene and Velcro straps), or wrap your elbow in an ACE bandage. During the recovery time, once you feel a decent level of comfort in performing elbow-related movements, it is a good idea to do some gentle arm exercises such as lightly pushing against a wall to test how much stress your elbow can withstand. Again, don’t rush into these types of exercises, but it is an important part of the rehabilitation process. Frequent stretching is also another way to rehabilitate your elbow back into its usual working order. It may be a good idea to consult a physician if you feel the pain is more severe and are looking for some more immediate elbow pain relief. To sum it all up, be sure to investigate every available option to help you get back into the swing of things.


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    • profile image

      Shani 3 years ago

      That's cleared my thoughts. Thanks for coutirbnting.

    • Kimberly Bunch profile image

      Kimberly Bunch 8 years ago from EAST WENATCHEE

      Good Hub! Here's one that might help too: