Repetitive stress injuries are the result of actions done repeatedly, consistently and frequently over time. They are often difficult to treat because they have taken a long time to build up.
The healing process can be long. Some common repetitive injuries are shin splints, iliotibial band syndrome, tennis elbow, and rotator cuff syndrome. They can also be called overuse injuries.
“Tennis elbow” is often a repetitive use injury of the wrist extensors. Tennis elbow can present as pain on the outer bony edge of the elbow joint. Sometimes there is pain on the inner surface of the elbow too. It can interfere with many other activities.
Repetitive twisting and gripping motions typically cause pain. Gripping or twisting a lid off a jar can aggravate it and cause pain. Driving and even typing can be bothersome. Conventional treatments include rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and steroid injections. Sometimes these help to resolve the problem and sometimes they only provide short term relief.
It can be frustrating as it might seem like the pain will never go away.
Finding the source of the problem can be useful in finding ways to treat it. Often mechanical issues of the elbow itself need to be addressed. Focusing on good can be useful. For the tennis or even golf player, learning how to generate parallel lines of force in the swing can help solve the problem over time. For example, sometimes the lines of force generated by the upper arm muscles and lines of force generated by the forearm muscles cross at the elbow. When this occurs, pain will most likely develop over time. Rather learn how to generate parallel lines of force.
Another effective treatment can be targeting trigger points. This can be done with a soft tissue practitioner. Trigger points can be painful and cause chronic fatigue in the muscle itself. We continue to use this fatigued muscle and that can result in chronic pain and even muscle spasms. A manual trigger point therapist can help to relax these spasms and restore muscle tone. This can also increase blood flow to the muscle providing nutrients for healing.
You can visualize that the elbow is in between the wrist and the scars. So we like to look at those areas as well to balance things out! Scapular stability is known to reduce overloading the wrist extensors.
Sometimes wearing a brace can be helpful too which will enforce rest! Combining rest with a brace, a progressive strengthening plan, and trigger point therapy can put you on the path to healing.
Talk to one of our providers today so we can make a plan to get you out of pain.