Do You Have Elbow Pain?
The elbow is a complex joint that allows pushing and pulling movements and the ability to rotate the forearm. Elbow pain can be caused by injury or strain to the bones in the elbow joint, the surrounding muscles, or the tendons. Elbow pain may also be due to damage arising from the elbow joint’s network of nerves, blood vessels and ligaments. People who play racquet sports are most likely to injure the tendons on the outside of the elbow. Golfers are more likely to injure the tendons on the inside of the elbow. Gardening, playing baseball, using a screwdriver, or overusing your wrist can also lead to elbow pain.
Causes of Elbow Pain
There are many causes of elbow pain such as: Tendinitis, Tennis Elbow, Bursitis, Arthritis, elbow strains and injury, elbow infection, and neck, shoulder, arm, and wrist pains and injury.
Most elbow pain results from trauma (slips and falls or sports injuries) overuse injuries from repetitive movement of the hand, wrist or arm. Elbow pain could also be from arthritis, but in general, your elbow joint is much less prone to wear-and-tear damage than are many other joints.
Common causes of elbow pain include:
- Cubital tunnel syndrome
- Elbow fracture
- Golfer’s elbow
- Ligament sprains and tears
- Little league elbow syndrome (pitcher’s elbow)
- Olecranon bursitis
- Osteochondritis dissecans
- Radial tunnel syndrome
- Tennis elbow
Diagnosing the Cause of Elbow Pain
A thorough history and physical examination are usually adequate to establish the diagnosis for most elbow injuries. However, your doctor may do a series of tests, depending on the cause of your injury, the location of your pain, or your other symptoms. This may include x-rays, CT scan and MRI.
The most important part of caring for patients with elbow pain is an accurate diagnosis. Dr. Magaziner uses his years of clinical experience, using a thorough examination and sophisticated diagnostic tools to arrive at his diagnosis.
Most minor elbow pain will respond to home care that initially starts with rest, OTC medication and ice. This is followed by moist heat and light exercise. For those condition not responding to home care, medical attention is necessary.
Medical treatment may include immobilization, pain medication, physical therapy and further instructions. Additional treatment with joint or muscle injections may be necessary for more severe conditions. Surgery is indicated is some cases with a clear pathology which will not heal with conservative treatment.
Dr. Magaziner’s philosophy is to start with the more conservative treatments (less invasive) first such as rest, medication, bracing, ergonomic changes, physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic and laser therapy. If the condition does not respond to conservative care some possible treatments include: joint injections, prolotherapy, PRP, and stem cell grafts. As a last resort surgery may be necessary.