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Chiropractic Treatment for Tendinopathy
The elbow is the link between our shoulder and wrist/hand, and so is functionally challenged with repetitive activities. Overuse injuries form a large proportion of elbow problems. Everyday activities, such as computer/desk work or carrying heavy shopping bags can overstrain the elbow and lead to pain. Athletes involved in throwing sports or racquet activities are also at risk of stressing the elbow.
Common Elbow Conditions and How Chiropractic Can Help
Firstly, it is important that the chiropractor forms a correct diagnosis for your elbow pain. Chiropractors are trained in assessing the elbow joint. They ask detailed questions to form an initial impression of the mechanism of injury. They then combine this case history information with thorough tests of the muscles, joints and nerves to work out what is causing the pain. Below is not an extensive list of elbow complaints, but it highlights how chiropractic can be an effective treatment plan for elbow pain.
TENNIS ELBOW or LATERAL EPICONDYLITIS
Tennis Elbow is pain on the outside of the elbow. It is caused by repetitive movements of the wrist, which stresses the tendons of the extensor muscle group. It is thought that it involves mild tearing of the extensor carpi radialis brevis tendon. Although it is associated with tennis, plumbers or desk workers may also suffer with Tennis Elbow. Chiropractors can help with treatment of Tennis Elbow by using myofascial release techniques on the forearm muscles. Cross-friction massage, manipulation and mobilization may also help. Ultrasound can speed up healing in the tissues and Dry Needling techniques can be very effective for Tennis Elbow. Chiropractors will also offer advice on ice, exercises, splints/braces. Most importantly, your chiropractor will help find the root cause of the problem so that once treated, it will not return. For example, is your work station set up correctly? Do you need advice on sporting technique?
GOLFER’S ELBOW or MEDIAL EPICONDYLITIS
Golfer’s Elbow is pain on the inside of the elbow. It may come on after a bout of DIY, or sports involving throwing. Golfer’s Elbow or Medial Epicondylitis is tendinopathy of the common tendon insertion of the flexor muscle group. Chronic or severe cases of Golfer’s Elbow can lead to Ulnar Nerve Irritation. Chiropractors can help Golfer’s Elbow by using massage and stretching to ease tension on the tendons. Cross-friction massage, manipulation and mobilization may also help. Ultrasound can speed up healing in the tissues and Dry Needling techniques can also be very effective for Golfer’s Elbow. Chiropractors will offer advice on stretching and strengthening exercises. If you need help finding the right elbow support, your chiropractor can help.
Tendinitis (sometimes spelt Tendonitis) means inflammation of the tendon. More frequently, physicians are using the term tendinopathy to describe many tendon injuries as experts now recognise that typical tendon injuries are more often caused by long-term overuse that results in a deterioration of the tendon without any associated inflammation. Tendonitis, on the other hand, refers to an inflammation of the tendon. This distinction is important because the inflammation of tendinitis is treated differently than the deterioration of tendinopathy (tendonosis). Inflammation
from acute tendonitis often responds quickly to medication such as NSAID’s (Non Steroidal Anti- Inflammatory Drugs). However, if the injury is due to tendon tissue degeneration, treatment may be quite lengthy and will be focused on improving the strength of the tendon and rebuilding tissues.
There are many tendons around the elbow joint. Triceps Tendinitis may be felt as pain in the tip of the elbow. As described above, you can also suffer with tendinitis of any one of the forearm flexor or extensor muscles.
Olecranon Bursitis is seen as swelling at the point of the elbow. The olecranon bursa acts as a cushion for the elbow. A single fall on the elbow can cause irritation and swelling of the bursa, or repetitive overuse may also be the cause. Infection of the bursa must be ruled out.
Chiropractic treatment can help bursitis by using pulsed ultrasound and giving ice advice.
There are other more serious causes of elbow pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis, fracture or dislocation, nerve damage/entrapment or Osteochondrosis. Elbow pain may be referred pain from the cervical spine (neck) or the wrist. Your chiropractor will examine the elbow and refer you for X- ray if needed, or to the right specialist for appropriate management.