Are you a golfer? Maybe you have children, little ones that like to be carried? I have daughters, both love being carried by their papa; and although I am not a golfer, I have experienced the same pain many Tiger Woods-in-training have, at the inner elbow, otherwise known as golfer’s elbow. Golfer’s elbow is also known more technically as medial epicondylitis. It hurts badly. And if like me you use your hands in your work, it can be downright debilitating. What exactly is golfer’s elbow and how do you treat it? That’s the topic of this article, so if you have pain, weakness and swelling in your inner elbow, you will want to read on.
What is Medial Epicondylitis (Golfer’s elbow)?
Medial epicondylitis is an inflammation of the medial epicondyle, a bony protuberance on the humerus (upper arm bone). This site attaches to the ulna, or elbow bone, and it is an attachment point for the flexor muscles of the forearm. Medial epicondylitis, then, results from the repetitive overuse of those forearm muscles, like when swinging a golf club improperly, or in baseball pitchers, or in fathers who have young children that want to be carried. Inflammation is characterized by heat, redness, swelling, PAIN and loss of function. Those symptoms about sum up medial epicondylitis to a tee (pun intended).
When one has inflammation of the medial (inner) epicondyle, or the muscles attaching to it, any sort of writs flexion or pronation (turning the hand face downward) can cause pain at the inner elbow and forearm. Carrying heavy items (bags, furniture, children) can be near impossible. In my experience, when my inner elbow pain was acting up, I could carry my daughters, I’d just be in serious pain for several days afterward. Worse yet, if you use your hands in your line of work, like this Los Angeles chiropractor (or a hair stylist, contractor, carpenter, auto mechanic, or such), then you’ll be hurting for sometimes weeks. I was, literally.
How to Treat the Inner Elbow Pain of Medial Epicondylitis
Medial Epicondylitis, like any inflammation needs to have the pain and swelling reduced by icing the area. Ice is a natural, and in my opinion, the most effective anti-inflammatory there is. It gives the greatest concentration of anti-inflammation to a localized spot than any other sources, including medications, ultrasound or lasers. Saying that, using ultrasound on the area can also be very helpful. In my Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood chiropractic office, we’ll do just that. Ultrasound, then ice for fifteen minutes; it is crucial that icing continues at home, 4-6 times per day, fifteen minutes is best, but 5-10 will suffice if you are in a rush. Better to get the icing in than skip it for lack of time.
This process will continue for several sessions, along with myofascial release of the involved musculature—the forearm flexors and the pronator teres. Giving the arm a rest helps enormously; so if you are a golfer, or baseball player, then you might be looking at a couple to a few weeks off the playing field.
Elbow braces also work wonders. I know that for me, it was paramount to my recovering, because like most hand-using professionals, taking time off is not an option. I carry great elbow braces/splints in my office, so visiting you local Beverly Hills Sports chiropractor, moi, can give you the full treatment (and diagnosis) for inner elbow and arm pain.
We will also check to see if you have any elbow subluxations, as these can exacerbate medial epicondylitis. And, of course, adjusting your spine, particularly the neck, will go a long way in treating this elbow pain disorder.
Golfer’s elbow is often misdiagnosed as tennis elbow, a much more common malady. Good reason to see a sports chiropractor, then, as you will get a comprehensive exam and correct diagnosis of your problem. Treating a golfer’s elbow like a tennis elbow won’t heal you, so choose wisely when looking for a doctor. If you live in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, or West Hollywood, you would be making a good choice by calling my office.
Finally, stretching and strengthening the region will be necessary as the inflammation decreases. This is done with a wrist wand and light weights (both of which I carry for my clients’ convenience). Sports injury rehabilitation is a big part of my practice, and in the case of medial epicondylitis, part of the preventative program.
Medial epicondylitis is not fun. But like I said, not all of us have the luxury of sitting out of work. And, at least in my case, neither is not picking up my daughters—they’ll have none of that. So for any of you in my situation, or if you simply are having inner elbow and arm pain, do not hesitate, call my Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood sports chiropractic office. We will get you back on the course, the diamond, or in your kiddy-chauffeur role quickly. That’s as good as a hole-in-one. Sorry, couldn’t resist.
-March 31, 2010