Elbow Pain

Elbow pain refers to discomfort or soreness in the elbow joint, often due to overuse, injury, arthritis, or tendonitis.

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Your Guide to Understanding Elbow Pain

Elbow Pain

What is Elbow Pain?

Elbow pain is a common condition characterized by discomfort or soreness in the elbow joint. The elbow is a hinge joint that connects the upper arm bone (humerus) to the two bones of the forearm (radius and ulna). It allows for bending and straightening of the arm, as well as rotation of the forearm.

There are several potential causes of elbow pain. One common cause is overuse, which can lead to conditions like tennis elbow or golfer's elbow. These conditions occur when the tendons in the forearm become inflamed due to repetitive motions or excessive strain. Activities that involve repetitive gripping, twisting, or lifting can contribute to the development of these conditions.

How can Chiropractic help treat Elbow Pain?

Chiropractic services are beneficial in alleviating elbow pain by addressing the underlying causes of discomfort and promoting natural healing. Chiropractors use manual adjustments and manipulations to increase mobility and reduce pressure on the affected area.

By restoring proper motion, chiropractic care helps to relieve tension in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments surrounding the elbow joint. Additionally, chiropractors may utilize soft tissue techniques, such as myofascial release or therapeutic massage, to reduce inflammation and improve flexibility. Through a holistic approach, chiropractic services provide personalized treatment plans to alleviate elbow pain and restore optimal function.

What causes Elbow Pain?

Elbow pain can be caused by a variety of factors, and understanding these causes can help shed light on the source of discomfort. Some common causes of elbow pain include:

  • Overuse or Repetitive Strain: Engaging in repetitive activities that involve gripping, twisting, or lifting can put strain on the tendons in the forearm, leading to conditions like tennis elbow or golfer's elbow. These conditions result from inflammation and microtears in the tendons due to overuse.
  • Injuries: Direct trauma to the elbow, such as a fall onto an outstretched arm, can cause sprains, strains, fractures, or dislocations. Sports-related injuries or accidents are common culprits of elbow pain.
  • Arthritis: Osteoarthritis, which is the wear and tear of the cartilage in the joint, can affect the elbow and contribute to pain and stiffness. Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease, can also lead to inflammation and joint damage in the elbow.
  • Nerve Compression: Nerves passing through the elbow joint, such as the ulnar nerve, can become compressed or irritated, causing pain, tingling, or numbness in the elbow and hand.
  • Bursitis: Bursae are small fluid-filled sacs that cushion the joints. When the bursa in the elbow becomes inflamed, usually due to repetitive pressure or trauma, it can result in bursitis and subsequent pain.

What treatments might help Elbow Pain?

Treatment for elbow pain aims to alleviate symptoms, promote healing, and improve overall function. Here are some ways in which treatment can help improve elbow pain:

  • Pain Management: Various methods can be employed to manage and reduce pain. This may include over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), to help alleviate discomfort.
  • Rest and Modification of Activities: Resting the affected elbow and avoiding activities that aggravate the pain can aid in the healing process. Modifying movements or using protective equipment during physical activities can also help prevent further strain on the joint.
  • Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can provide exercises and techniques aimed at improving flexibility, strength, and mobility in the elbow joint. These exercises can help reduce pain, increase range of motion, and enhance overall function.
  • Modalities: Therapeutic modalities, such as ice or heat therapy, ultrasound, or electrical stimulation, may be used as part of the treatment plan to help reduce pain, inflammation, and muscle tension.
  • Brace or Splint: Depending on the underlying cause, wearing a brace or splint may provide support and stability to the elbow joint, allowing it to rest and heal.
  • Injections: In certain cases, corticosteroid injections may be administered by a healthcare professional to reduce inflammation and provide temporary relief from elbow pain. This is typically done in conjunction with other treatments.
  • Surgery: In severe cases or when conservative treatments do not provide sufficient relief, surgical intervention may be considered. Surgical options vary depending on the specific condition causing the elbow pain and can range from minimally invasive procedures to more extensive surgeries.

Signs of Elbow Pain:

Elbow pain can manifest in various ways, and recognizing the signs can help identify the presence of a problem. Here are some common signs of elbow pain to look out for:

  • Aching or Pain: Elbow pain often presents as a persistent ache or discomfort in the joint. It may be dull or sharp and can range in intensity from mild to severe.
  • Swelling: Inflammation around the elbow joint may result in noticeable swelling. The affected area may appear swollen, puffy, or feel tender to the touch.
  • Limited Range of Motion: Elbow pain can lead to difficulty fully bending or straightening the arm. You may experience stiffness or a sense of tightness when trying to move the elbow.
  • Weakness: Weakness in the forearm or difficulty gripping objects firmly can be indicative of elbow pain. You may notice a decrease in strength or a sense of instability in the joint.
  • Clicking or Popping Sensation: Some individuals with elbow pain may experience clicking or popping noises when moving the joint. This can be accompanied by pain or discomfort.
  • Numbness or Tingling: In cases where nerves are involved, elbow pain may cause sensations of numbness, tingling, or a "pins and needles" feeling in the forearm, hand, or fingers.

Symptoms of Elbow Pain:

Elbow pain can manifest with a variety of symptoms, which can vary depending on the underlying cause. Here are some common symptoms associated with elbow pain:

  • Pain: The primary symptom of elbow pain is discomfort in or around the elbow joint. This pain can range from a mild ache to a sharp or throbbing sensation.
  • Swelling: Inflammation may cause the elbow joint to become swollen or appear larger than usual. The swelling can be accompanied by redness or warmth in the affected area.
  • Stiffness: Elbow pain can lead to stiffness, making it difficult to fully bend or straighten the arm. This limited range of motion can affect daily activities and may worsen over time if not addressed.
  • Weakness: Some people with elbow pain may experience weakness in the forearm or difficulty gripping objects firmly. This weakness can make it challenging to perform certain tasks or activities.
  • Numbness or Tingling: If nerves are involved, elbow pain may result in sensations of numbness, tingling, or a pins-and-needles feeling in the forearm, hand, or fingers. This can indicate nerve compression or irritation.
  • Clicking or Popping Sensation: Certain conditions causing elbow pain may be accompanied by audible clicking or popping noises when moving the joint. This can occur alongside pain or discomfort.
  • Difficulty or Painful Movement: Elbow pain can make everyday movements, such as lifting objects or performing repetitive motions, uncomfortable or painful.
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When is the right time to see a Chiropractor for Elbow Pain?

The right time to see a chiropractor for elbow pain is when you are experiencing persistent or worsening discomfort in the elbow joint. If the pain is affecting your daily activities, limiting your range of motion, or not improving with self-care measures such as rest and over-the-counter pain medication, it may be a good time to seek professional help.

Additionally, if you have recently experienced an injury to the elbow or have noticed swelling, redness, or warmth around the joint, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional. They can assess the severity of the condition and provide appropriate treatment options.

Meet our Lead Chiropractor

Dr. Brett Herlehy

Dr. Brett Herlehy


Doctor of Chiropractic from New York Chiropractic College

Dr. Brett enjoys working with active individuals looking to reach the next level and also anyone who is trying to incorporate more physical activity into their daily lives.

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