Although one hardly notices it, the elbow helps people perform many jobs in their day-to-day lives. It enables the hand to get a firm grip, lift, hit, clean, eat and move smoothly. When it gets damaged, it is bound to be painful. Feeling short-term pain in the elbow and tending to it at home is normal. But when that pain becomes persistent and severe for an extended period, one cannot ignore it. It needs to be assessed, diagnosed and treated by licensed professionals. Clinics like MTP Health provide exercise, and physiotherapy services to relieve the pain and rehabilitate people to live their everyday lives.
General Causes of Elbow Pain
Several types of injuries and illnesses result in elbow pain, which requires attention. A few common causes are listed below.
1) Injuries caused by overuse and stress
People who exert excessive physical force consistently on the elbow during work or otherwise tend to experience elbow pain. Pushing, carrying, lifting, and other strenuous work causes the tendons, muscles and ligaments surrounding the elbow joints to tear, strain or inflame. Golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow are the most commonly known elbow injuries caused by overuse.
2) Pain caused by arthritis
People develop pain when there is a decrease in the amount of cartilage tissue present in their elbow area, known as arthritis. This happens when either an infection or injury causes the breakdown of the cartilage (osteoarthritis) or when the body’s immune system attacks the cartilage tissue of the elbow joint (rheumatoid arthritis).
3) Injuries caused by acute trauma
People who experience an accident, a fall or an acute force, may sustain an injury to the elbow in the form of dislocation, fracture or a break. This causes damage and pain.
4) Pain developed by nerve entrapment
People who suffer from radial tunnel syndrome and cubital tunnel syndrome caused due to pressure or damage to the nerves experience immense pain.
How Physiotherapy Helps Reduce Elbow Pain?
While experiencing the pain of this magnitude, one must consult a trained physiotherapist who would assess and treat the pain, ensuring no further injury. They provide the appropriate treatment and set up a rehabilitation regime based on the functional limitation, type of impairment, contributing factors, other comorbidities and the final goal of recovery. After the initial assessment, they would devise a treatment plan surrounding the person’s lifestyle and habits, and the exercises, training and therapeutic techniques required to heal the pain.
The multi-modal approach focuses not only on the recovery but also on preventing harm in the future. It includes educating the patient about the condition and dysfunction, the process of healing, therapy and the importance of self-management. The rehabilitation includes a combination of different types of treatments. Pharmacotherapy provides appropriate medication, and manual therapy introduces mobilisation techniques for pain-free movement. Exercise therapy focuses on strengthening the muscles and tendons (especially in treating tennis elbow), tendon neuroplastic training and home exercise programs.
What Habits Should One Develop for Faster Recovery?
As one recovers from the elbow pain, one must incorporate certain habitual changes in their everyday lives to ensure that they are not causing more harm or getting in the way of recovery. It is crucial to follow the suggestions provided by physiotherapists regarding home exercises, habits and lifestyle changes to ensure quick results. These include providing enough rest to the arm and the elbow and applying ice-pack. Changing the work habitat, the sporting gear and techniques, wrapping the elbow with elastic bandages, and doing mild stretching exercises recommended by the physiotherapist are also essential.
The process of elbow pain recovery might be tedious. But if the right treatment is taken by the right professionals, like the physiotherapists from MTP Health, the process would be relieving and empowering.