Pain in the elbow is a relatively common and often debilitating condition, especially if it’s on your dominant arm. It can range from the dull ache, to the inability to open jars or lift shopping bags. It can be very problematic!
Interestingly, despite the sporting-oriented names, sports are one of the more unusual causes of elbow pain! Often poor ergonomics and postural habits are the cause!
Some of the more common elbow complaints that we as Osteopaths see are,
Lateral epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow) – A tendinopathy (inflammation of the tendon) involving the extensor muscles of the forearm due to overuse or repetitive strain. Tennis Elbow is generally characterised by the following symptoms: Pain and tenderness over the outer aspect of the elbow, a weak grip, pain or stiffness when the arm is extended, pain with twisting of the wrist (turning a door knob or opening a jar) or holding objects.
Medial epicondylitis (Golfer’s Elbow) – A tendinopathy involving the flexor muscles of the forearm due to overuse or repetitive strain. Symptoms may include: Pain with flexing the wrist towards the forearm, tenderness over the inner aspect of the elbow, loss of grip strength and pain and/or tingling sensations radiating from the elbow to the ring and little finger.
Olecranon Bursitis – Inflammation of the bursa (fluid filled sac that lubricates the joint) usually due to constant pressure on the elbow such as leaning on a hard surface for a long period of time or trauma. Symptoms may include swelling, pain and tenderness, a lump on the tip of the elbow and warmth of the area.
Ulnar nerve entrapment – The ulnar nerve starts in the neck and travels down the arm into the hand. Entrapment of the ulnar nerve can occur in the neck, shoulder, elbow or wrist. Common symptoms include: weakness or tenderness in the hand, numbness and tingling in the palm, 4th and 5th fingers, sensitivity to cold and tenderness in the elbow joint.
HOW CAN OSTEOPATHIC TREATMENT HELP?
Your Osteopath will undertake a thorough case history and conduct an osteopathic examination in order to reproduce your pain and determine a diagnosis. Treatment will generally involve a combination of soft tissue, joint articulation, muscle stretching, manipulation, dry needling, mobility exercises and postural taping.
We will also ascertain the cause, which fast-tracks recovery and prevents recurrence. Often it is simple things like the mouse is too far away, you chicken wing that elbow when typing, or you constantly lean on that elbow at work! We will go through a detailed postural and ergonomic assessment to try and work out why.
If elbow pain is getting you down, and impacting your life, why not make an appointment with one of our experienced Osteopaths today!