Elbow joint pain is a common ailment among athletes because of the repetitive motions in the elbow joint brought about by swinging, throwing and other movements of the joint. Non-athletes can also develop such from doing regular heavy lifting work especially so if you have been doing it in the wrong way. The tendons around the elbows are very delicate making them swell easily from physical trauma.
If you have been suffering from elbow pain, here are the step-by-step guides on how to relieve the pain effectively:
- Rest your arm
The moment you feel pain on your elbows, stop any activities involving your arms and elbow joint. The more you use it, the more will it get hurt. Never think that the pain will go away when you continue working because it will just get worse over time.
- Place an ice pack over the elbows
The next thing you need to do is to get an ice pack and place it over the affected elbow/elbows. The cold temperature will help relieve swelling as well as pain. Place the ice pack for at most 15 minutes three times a day. You can also use alternate cold and warm packs to help the muscles relax.
- Immobilize the elbow
Elbow pain is usually a result of overuse injury to the tendons, ligaments and surrounding muscles so immobilizing the joint will help the injured soft tissues to heal. To immobilize it, get a sling or a large handkerchief and support the elbows. Tie the two ends around the neck for support. Make sure that your elbow is in a 30 to 45-degree angle to prevent overstretching the soft tissues further.
- Take anti-inflammatory medications
Anti-inflammatory medications help relieve pain and inflammation effectively. You must be feeling relief after you have taken ibuprofen or naproxen. You should take the medicine every 4 to 6 hours when pain is felt.
- Use counterirritant oils or creams
Using peppermint oil or capsicum oil helps relieve pain on the elbow as well. These provide a counterirritant effect so that you won’t feel the pain in the elbows. They are also very relaxing to the surrounding areas of the elbow providing more relief.
Elbow pain is usually self-limiting and following all these steps, your elbow pain should go away in a matter of 3 to 5 days. However, if the pain still persists with increasing or steady intensity, the elbow joint pain might be due to more serious conditions that may require further medical managements.
Most physicians will conduct a complete history with physical assessment to determine what is wrong on your elbows. An X-ray may also be done to determine the root cause for pain. For non-responsive pain, steroid injections may be used on the affected joint itself to provide immediate and longer-lasting relief from elbow pain.
Elbow pain may be a simple ailment and can go away on its own; however, make sure to consult a physician when you experience increasing pain and limited range of motion of the elbow joint because the pain may be something else.