Elbow Pain Treatment in Mississauga

What is Elbow Pain?

Elbow pain is commonly caused by repetitive strain in sports, recreational activity and even in the workplace such as desk job. Something as small as computer mouse can cause severe elbow pain. This type of elbow pain usually causes persistent or recurrent issues over time. Elbow pain may also be sudden and come from a onetime event like a fall, car accident or tackle in football. It is important to describe your elbow pain location and characteristics to a health care professional. Some descriptors of elbow pain include be dull, achy, shooting, burning, numbness or tingling. It may refer into the hand, wrist or up into the shoulder.

Elbow Pain Treatment in Mississauga

Anatomy of the Elbow Joint:

The elbow joint allows us to bend the arm (flexion) and accomplish daily tasks like lifting, grasping, and reaching for objects. The joint is made up of three different bones, the humerus (upper arm bone), and two bones in the forearm, the ulna and radius.

The common extensor tendon is located on the outer portion of the elbow (lateral epicondyle of the humerus bone) and includes five muscles. These muscles come together and collectively contribute to extension of the wrist (moving the back of the hand towards the forearm). When the tendon gets irritated this leads to a diagnosis of Tennis Elbow (see below for signs and symptoms).

The common flexor tendon is located on the inner portion of the elbow (medial epicondyle of the humerus bone) and includes four muscles. Collectively, they contribute to wrist flexion (moving the palm of the hand towards the forearm). Also, when irritated, this leads to a diagnosis of Golfer’s Elbow (see below for the signs and symptoms).

The elbow is a relatively strong joint however, extra pressure in the wrong direction or at the wrong position can irritate the ligaments, muscles and/or joint itself. Continued irritation or repeated tasks without adequate rest or an elbow that is not treated after an initial injury can lead to a chronic condition.

Anatomy of the Elbow Joint

Common Causes of Elbow Pain:

Tennis Elbow (Outer Elbow) or Lateral Epicondylitis

Most common painful condition affecting the elbow joint.  Tennis elbow got its name due to frequency of this type of injury in tennis players. However, you do not have to be a tennis player to get lateral epicondylitis. It is an overuse type of injury, if you are using your wrist in repetitive motion for extended periods of time (computer mouse, key board, screw driver, fly fishing, video gaming etc.) you are in the high-risk category.

Risk Factors:

  • Repetitive motion with the wrist/elbow
  • Handling tools heavier than 1kg
  • Typing / using computer mouse
  • Use of screw driver
  • Playing tennis

Signs and Symptoms

  • Pain on the outer part of the elbow
  • Dull achy pain
  • Sharp pain with wrist motion
  • Pain aggravated by wrist motion

Golfer’s Elbow (Inner aspect of the elbow) or Medial Epicondyitis

This diagnosis is less common than Tennis Elbow but also is caused by repetitive arm and wrist movements.  A different set of forearm muscles is involved in this condition and pain is felt over the inner elbow at the origin of the common forearm flexors. You don’t need to play golf to have Golfer’s elbow! Any sort of repetitive motion with the wrist and elbow can aggravate this region. Commonly, cooks, painters, construction workers, electricians, and computer workers with mouse and keyboard action are at high risk for developing Golfer’s Elbow.

Risk Factors:

  • Repetitive motion with the wrist/elbow
  • Overhead activity
  • Handling tools heavier than 5kg
  • Tasks that require hand grip strength
  • Working with vibratory tools
  • Direct injury to the elbow

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Pain on the inner part of the elbow
  • Dull achy pain in the forearm
  • Pain aggravated by wrist motion
  • Decreased grip strength or weakness
  • Tingling or numbness in the pinky or ring fingers

Elbow (Olecranon) Bursitis

There are many bursae located in the body which act as cushions between the bone and soft tissues like muscles or a tendon. They contain a small amount of fluid that allows for smooth movement of the cushion between structures. The bursa in the elbow normally goes unnoticed as it lays flat protecting the pointy part of the elbow. However, when it becomes irritated or inflamed more fluid develops, causing pain and swelling. This is sometimes also known as student elbow because students tend to rest their elbows on their desk for long periods of time when they study. 

Mechanisms of Injury:

  • Repetitive bumping or rubbing of the elbow
  • Direct trauma from a fall or hit to the elbow
  • Infection
  • Injury to the triceps brachii (muscle that straightens the elbow)
  • Friction (hockey elbow pads)

Sign and Symptoms:

  • Swelling and/or bruising
  • Elbow pain
  • Redness and warmth
  • Tender to touch

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome (nerve entrapment in the elbow)

In many cases the exact cause of nerve entrapment in the elbow is unknown. Many people sleep with their elbows bent which can aggravate symptoms. Repetitive elbow motions, leaning on the elbow for extended periods of time, direct trauma to the elbow or swelling are also potential causes for cubital tunnel syndrome. The ulnar nerve is vulnerable to compression at the elbow due to the size of the canal it must travel through to bring sensation to the hand. 

Risk Factors:

  • Previous fracture or dislocation of the elbow
  • Swelling in the elbow
  • Repetitive or prolonged activities that require the elbow to be bent 

Signs and symptoms

  • Numbness and tingling into the right and little fingers
  • Decreased grip strength / wrist weakness
  • Dropping of objects
  • Decrease is muscle size in the affected forearm (if chronic)

Chiropractic Care for Elbow Pain:

Whether your elbow pain is new or something you have had for a long time it is important to seek care to prevent further damage or complications.

To provide a correct diagnosis and treatment plan, a chiropractor will take a full medical history and perform physical examination of the elbow. Also, it is extremely important to assess the shoulder, neck and wrist to see if those structures are contributing to the presenting condition.

Chiropractic Care for Elbow Pain

What is included in an elbow examination?

The chiropractor will assess how the elbow moves in all directions, seeing if the range of motion is full and if the strength of the muscles and ligaments is sufficient. Some special tests may be performed to recreate your pain. This may not be pleasant but is a step in the right direction to finding the cause of pain.

Treatment Options:

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