Elbow and Forearm Pain

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ELBOW AND FOREARM PAIN: A COMMON PROBLEM

A doctor who moved from San Antonio, Texas, to Portland called the clinic one day and asked, “What’s up with the epidemic of elbow and forearm pain around here?” His question came from the large volume of people who were experiencing elbow and forearm pain in the Pacific Northwest, as compared to Texas. Although elbow pain is not limited to the Northwest, it does seem to occur in greater numbers around here. Why is that?

A 2015 article in the Annals of Translational Medicine noted a common elbow problem known as Tennis Elbow, affects approximately 1,000,000 people per year in the United States. Cold weather was noted as a factor in elbow pain. The variable weather we experience in the Northwest often leads to people being less active for many months. It may feel good to jump into activities such as biking or gardening at the first sight of sun, but the muscles and tendons may be weak from months of watching movies during the rainy season.

There are two common problems that occur at the elbow and forearm. They are:

  • Tendonitis: “Tennis elbow” and “Golfer’s elbow”
  • Nerve impingement: Median, Ulnar, or Radial nerve pressure

Due to the frequency of tendon and nerve problems, the therapist at Armworks Hand Therapy have dedicated a great deal of time to studying and treating elbow and forearm pain. Therapists answer one question all the time: Why does my elbow hurt so much?

Tennis elbow, also called Lateral Epicondylitis, is caused by the overuse of muscles at the outside of the elbow. Golfer’s elbow, also known as Medial Epicondylitis, is the same overuse issue, but at the inside of the elbow. Prolonged pain on either side of the elbow is due to the body’s inability to fully heal injured, weak, or overused tendons. When the pain does not go away, it’s time to see a professional.

Nerve impingement problems can cause elbow, forearm, and even hand pain. This occurs when a nerve is pinched, becomes inflamed, or is no longer conducting properly (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome). Nerve issues are never something to try and ‘tough out.” Nerves under pressure can eventually stop working. Nerve pain in the elbow, forearm or hand, requires the attention of a doctor or therapist. Early intervention can often ward off a worsening of symptoms and permanent problems.

If you are experiencing elbow or forearm pain, an assessment at Armworks Hand Therapy will help determine the source of the problem. Once this is known, treatment and further guidance will be given to resolve the pain. Contact our office today for an appointment!

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