Elbow injuries are common conditions, most often resulting from repetitive strain or overexertion. They frequently occur during sports or exercise, or during certain occupational activities, such as construction work. Chiropractic care is an excellent treatment option for disorders and injuries of the elbow. The holistic approach taken by chiropractors is beneficial both in providing pain relief and in addressing underlying structural or postural causes of such problems. Although elbow conditions vary, they are often treated with many of the same chiropractic techniques.

The elbow joint is the place at which three bones, the humerus, the radius, and the ulna, join. The complex bones, muscles, and ligaments of the region allow for a large degree of mobility and flexibility, but by the same token permit a variety of injuries due to twisting or overuse. Other factors may cause elbow problems, or make such difficulties more likely. These include certain genetic or disease conditions.

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Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow involves pain on the outside of the elbow, sometimes the result of tightly gripping a tennis racket. Very often, though, the condition is the result of tiny tears in the tendons that attach the forearm muscles to the outer elbow and has no relationship to the game of tennis.Tennis elbow is a form of tendonitis that usually causes pain when reaching, lifting the arm, squeezing an object with the hand, or turning a door knob.

This condition typically affects middle-aged patients, women more frequently than men.

Posterior Tennis Elbow

With posterior tennis elbow, or triceps tendonitis, the back or underside of the elbow is the damaged part of the joint. This injury usually occurs as a result of throwing, weightlifting or punching (for which reason the condition is also called “boxer’s elbow”).

Golfer’s Elbow

For a patient with golfer’s elbow, also called medial epicondylitis, the pain is experienced on the inside of the elbow. This condition is typically the result of repetitive stress and develops gradually. Individuals who are “weekend warriors,” engaging strenuously in a particular activity somewhat irregularly, are more prone to this injury.

Posterior Impingement Syndrome

Posterior impingement syndrome is caused by a sudden forced motion, as is common in throwing a ball hard. While at first the injury may result in inflammation of the joint lining, it can progress to include cartilage and bone pain as well. Patients with this condition have difficulty straightening the arm and experience extreme stiffness and pain in the back of the elbow. Posterior impingement occurs frequently in racketball players, swimmers and boxers.

Little League Elbow

Overuse injury is quite common in young Little League baseball players, particularly pitchers, since the ligaments and bones of prepubescent children are still growing. Damage occurs when the ligament that attaches the inside of the elbow to one of the child’s growth plates pulls away, resulting in a dislocation of the growth plate. Once the growth plate is weakened, it is more prone to injury.

Olecranon Bursitis

Bursae are sacs that cushion bones at the joints. When these sacs are injured, they may become irritated or inflamed, causing pain and immobility. This bursitis can be caused by traumatic injury, infection, prolonged pressure, or certain disease conditions, such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis.

Integrative Medicine Care for Elbow Conditions

As with many other injuries, the immediate treatment should be rest and applications of ice. Other integrative medical treatments for elbow conditions may include:

  • Joint manipulation
  • Cross friction massage
  • Myofascial release
  • Trigger point therapy
  • Heat therapy
  • Cold therapy

As the patients heals, graduated exercises are recommended to improve mobility and flexibility. Chiropractors may recommend stretching exercises designed to loosen up the body prior to exercise and methods of movement that will be safer and healthier. In some cases, especially with children, changing activities may be recommended to avoid further damage.

Benefits of Integrative Medicine Care for Elbow Conditions

Integrative medical care offers more immediate relief than many allopathic forms of treatment. Because it is holistic, does not involve medication, and is non-invasive, integrative medical care helps the body to heal itself and to become more resistant to repeated injury. Elbow injures may take as long as 6 to 8 weeks to heal completely.

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