Arm pain can be the result of a cervical disc herniation, or referred pain from cervical facet syndrome or from the shoulder. In many cases arm pain can be due to specific pain from structures in the arm itself as in the case of tennis elbow.
Tennis elbow or lateral epicondilitis is an inflammatory process localised around a few tendons near the outside of the elbow. This condition usually occurs due to neuro-biomechanical stress, or overuse of muscles because of repetitive movements usually involving wrist turning such as in tennis, but by no means restricted to this activity. Our patients have suffered from this condition after pruning olive trees, carrying heavy trays, opening bottles and we ourselves have had to treat each other after a phase of do-it-yourself! Once the micro trauma has been initiated the problem is aggravated by any repetitive movements of the forearm.
Treatment involves rest from the offending activity whether this is work or sport. Luckily a specially made arm band can help rest the insertion of the muscles while they recover from the repetitive micro trauma. Severe cases will however have to rest completely. Chiropractic treatment helps to restore contracted muscles and release blocked joints. The cervical spine is treated to ensure correct nerve supply to the elbow and forearm.
Advice for a timely recovery
- Specific chiropractic adjustments.
- Arm band for epicondilitis to be worn over the forearm muscles about 10 cm below the elbow during sporting activity and work, to be removed when at rest.
- Cryotherapy, 10 minutes massage to a specific area indicated by your chiropractor.
- If available ultrasound on the cold setting.
Exercises for tennis elbow
Stretching the forearm extensors is very important.
A) With the arms stretched out in front of you, hold the wrist of the painful arm with the other hand.
B) In the standing position with your painful arm stretched out press the back of the hand on the table, using a cushion to avoid hurting yourself.
Seated or standing and using a long stick with a cord of about a meter in length and a weight of about a kilo tied to the end. Holding the end of the stick twist it until all the cord is wound around the stick. Next, the exercise is repeated but the cord is allowed to gently unroll.
Repeat this procedure two or three times a day.
Lean your hand of the painful arm on the table on top of a cushion with the palm side up. Holding the elbow of the same painful arm, pull it toward you stretching the muscles of the forearm.
Hold for 10 seconds while you feel the stretch.
Relax and repeat 5 times twice a day.