What You Should Know About Physical Therapy and Elbow Pain
You, like many other people, are probably wondering what the best ways are to alleviate the discomfort of elbow pain. Many people don't think about it much because they assume their worries are unfounded.
The good news is that elbow pain doesn't have to be something you let ruin your day or even put an end to your sport or other activities. If you know the cause of your pain, however, you might see different results.
Why does your elbow hurt?
Tennis elbow is a common name for lateral epicondylitis, an inflammation of the tendons and ligaments at the outside of the elbow. This causes pain on the outside of the elbow and usually starts to hurt when using your forearm muscles and gripping objects too hard.
When you have a tennis elbow, it’s typically due to overuse of the forearm muscles. The most common causes are playing tennis or other sports that require throwing and work or any daily activity that requires repetitive use of the forearm.
The tennis elbow diagnosis and treatment
Tennis elbow can be a confusing injury and can be difficult to diagnose because they can mimic other common sports injuries. But there are some ways to diagnose the condition and understand the best treatment options.
To diagnose your tennis elbow, your doctor will perform a thorough exam. Tests such as an X-ray to see if you have arthritis, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to check your tendons and how severe the damage is, and electromyography (EMG) of your elbow to know if you have any nerve problems.
In treating tennis elbow, it’s important to take a break from the activity that caused it. Other treatment includes:
• Strengthening exercises
• Stretching exercises
• Anti-inflammatory medicines
If the above treatments don’t work or your pain doesn’t get better, you may need to seek out a physical therapist to provide you with guidance in your recovery.
What to expect from physical therapy?
The physical therapist will take a full history and examine your arm. He’ll use a variety of ways to assess how the injury has changed the surrounding tissue and what strategies he’s going to do.
He will help you strengthen the muscles around your elbow and teach you how to do very specific exercises that are meant to target affected muscles. Your therapist will also show you how to modify the exercise if your pain or range of motion is limited in any way.
He can also help you select an elbow brace that can alleviate pain and reduce the stresses placed on your tendons.
Take note that pain during physical therapy is normal and every patient should experience pain at some point. However, if it’s sharp pain, the therapy exercises should be stopped.
In rare cases, people don’t get relief from physical therapy and may need surgery.
If you are experiencing difficulty with bending the forearm or elbow, consider visiting a therapist for tennis elbow. This includes following their instructions to an extent, improving your strength in your wrists, forearms, and nearby muscles.
Tennis elbow is one of the most common overuse injuries and many people will take mild to moderate pain for months or longer without seeking medical treatment.
Physical therapy allows you to get back on your active lifestyle and stay there, and if you can take care of your injury early on it will decrease healing time and potential future problems.
Although the information is gathered with great care, please note that the tips given on this website by no means substitute medical advice. If you’re experiencing any pain, consult your healthcare professional immediately and follow his advice regardless of what you’ve learned on this website.