Elbows are a crucial part of our arms, and when they are sore or injured, it is important to seek medical attention. Los Angeles Elbow doctors at LifeSpan Medicine can evaluate the pain and recommend treatments that help ease it.
Medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications can reduce pain and swelling. Doctors can also prescribe cortisone injections.
Most elbow pain comes from strained and inflamed soft tissue, such as tendons. A few days of rest and simple self-care steps are usually enough to ease the pain and prevent it from returning. Resting includes taking a break from any activities that could irritate the elbow or make the symptoms worse. For example, if the problem is tennis or other racquet sports, switch to a different type of activity until the symptoms clear up.
Heat therapy — a heating pad or hot water bottle wrapped in a towel — can ease stiffness and encourage healing of the elbow. Alternatively, an ice pack can reduce swelling and soothe the pain. Lavender oil can also provide relief, especially if it is applied regularly. Add 12 drops of lemongrass oil to 30 mL of any carrier oil and apply it to the affected area. Repeat this several times a day to relieve inflammation and treat the pain.
The elbow is less prone to wear-and-tear damage than the shoulder or wrist joints, but sports injuries and repetitive wrist and hand movement at work can injure the muscles, tendons and ligaments. Many types of elbow pain can be relieved with physical therapy, and this non-surgical treatment option can often return patients to their normal activities much faster than surgery.
When you first visit a physical therapist, they will take the time to ask about your symptoms and how they affect your daily life. They will also examine the area and may do diagnostic tests to determine the cause and severity of your elbow pain.
Once they know the cause, they will develop a personalized plan to relieve your pain and get you back to your regular activities. They will likely give you exercises to do at home, and it’s important that you follow their instructions carefully. This will ensure you get the best results from your treatment.
Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and can help prevent injuries. It can also improve strength and flexibility, aid in weight control, help manage health conditions (like type 2 diabetes), increase endurance, and aid bone health.
For people who experience elbow pain, simple exercises can help ease stiffness and strengthen muscles around the elbow joint. A physiotherapist can recommend various stretching and strengthening exercises to do at home.
One easy exercise to try is the supination and pronation wrist turn. This exercise helps to strengthen the wrist, forearm, and elbow muscles. Sit down and relax your arm, then bend it up to 90 degrees with the palm facing down and then slowly twist it so that the palm is facing upwards. Repeat this for about ten repetitions on each side. This exercise can be done in conjunction with the finger stretch and grip exercises. For best results, perform these exercises every day.
If you have an elbow injury that doesn’t respond to rest, stretching and strengthening or an injection, our pain management specialist can provide additional treatment options. These include ultrasound, ice massage and a high energy shock wave treatment called orthotripsy. These treatments have been shown to improve muscle healing and decrease pain and tenderness in 80-95% of patients.
For severe elbow injuries, like complete tendon tears, surgery may be necessary. Our team of board-certified orthopedic surgeons is well versed in minimally invasive surgical techniques to alleviate your elbow pain.
Dr Schneider has trained and worked with some of the preeminent shoulder and elbow surgeons in the country. He is a nationally recognized expert in Tommy John surgery to treat elbow instability and is a consultant team physician for the LA Dodgers, Anaheim Ducks and USA Rugby teams. His approach to shoulder and elbow care is based on his extensive clinical experience and knowledge of current research in this area.