Reading this title, you might have considered "local" as a geographical location such as Wichita, KS; however, I am referring to pain that is arising in tissues (muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments) local to the elbow. There are many causes to elbow pain. Elbow pain can originate from simple issues such as: muscular tension surrounding the elbow, or more complex scenarios arising from the shoulder blade and neck. When the source of the pain is close to the elbow, it is considered local pain. Elbow pain arising from the shoulder or hand is considered regional pain, and when pain is a full body experience, it is considered a global pain mechanism. Whatever the cause may be, taking the time to identify if the pain source is local, regional, or global is the only way to decrease and eliminate the pain as fast as possible.
When someone presents to us with elbow pain, our first goal is to establish the category of pain you are experiencing. What is driving your elbow pain - inflammation from movement, chemical inflammation, tightness, tension on the nerves running through the arm, etc. Once this is understood, only then can an effective treatment approach be taken. If your elbow pain is due to tension on a nerve near your shoulder, then treating the elbow will produce no results. This lack of understanding, during an initial visit, is often times the source of long treatment plans. By taking the extra steps to identify the possible local, regional, and global influences on your elbow pain, we can produce better and faster results.
Local causes of elbow pain typically include:
These are typically the easiest to treat, not always the fastest to heal. When it comes to different tissues in the body (muscle vs tendon), each have their own healing timeframes. Typical diagnosis that you may hear about that fall within this category of local elbow pain include: golfer's elbow, tennis elbow, and little leaguer elbow. Each one of these diagnoses indicate the pain source is local to the elbow. A treatment plan that addresses both the pain source and the mechanical source is the ultimate way to improve the elbow back to its full capabilities.
Many who know us, know we hate the typical shotgun approach. Same thing for all patients, diagnoses, and anything and everything under the sun. To produce great results, there needs to be specific, non-generic techniques/procedures to back up the findings of a thorough assessment. Techniques that we implement, that produce incredible results with local elbow pain, include: A.R.T., DNS, KT tape, and McKenzie/MDT. These approaches help to target different soft tissue structures surrounding the elbow, to reduce the pain and improve the surround mechanics.
Becoming an educated healthcare consumer is what is going to drive healthcare into the future. Better options are out there; our goal is to help you identify them and become more educated throughout the process.
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