Your arms help you do a lot of things, including lifting objects, writing, and typing. Your elbow, one of the major joints in your arm, plays a significant role in these activities. The elbow is susceptible to stress and pain, especially when it is overused. Fortunately, elbow pain can be treated at home or with the help of an orthopedic doctor. Here are treatments that can help improve your elbow pain.
Your first step toward dealing with your elbow pain is RICE therapy—rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
- When you begin to feel pain in your elbow, stop whatever you’re doing and rest. Overworking strains your elbow, so a period of rest can help alleviate the pain.
- Likewise, putting an ice pack on the elbow can also help with the pain. Always remember not to put it directly on your sore elbow. Wrap the ice in a cloth first.
- You may also wrap your elbow with an elastic bandage. This will help support it, increase blood circulation, and reduce swelling.
- Keep the elbow raised above the level of your heart to reduce swelling in the area.
An alternative to ice therapy is heat therapy. Heat encourages healing by promoting blood flow in your elbow, allowing your muscles to relax. Improving blood flow will also hasten the healing process because it brings oxygen and nutrients to the affected area, thus alleviating pain symptoms.
You can take medication to temporarily alleviate elbow pain. Drugs for elbow pain include:
- Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) will help manage mild to moderate pain. Some of these medications include ibuprofen, naproxen, and diclofenac. You may need to speak with your doctor about the best medicine to help you.
- Steroids help relieve pain and are prescribed when rest and ordinary medications do not work. These may be taken orally or through injection.
Your healthcare provider may also recommend that you use external support for elbow pain. Wearing a brace will prevent you from straining your arm muscles further and allow it to heal and improve.
Physical therapists or occupational therapists can also help alleviate pain. PTs can teach you techniques and exercises that will help you regain mobility and flexibility in the elbow while also reducing pain symptoms. Some of these are range-of-motion and strengthening exercises.
An occupational therapist can help you identify the specific movements you make at work and home that are causing the pain. They will then find ways for you to do these activities in the safest way possible, so you don’t have symptoms.
Another treatment option for your elbow pain is platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. This procedure is minimally-invasive and is done by injecting a concentration of PRP (from your blood) into your elbow. PRP therapy accelerates the healing of injured muscles and joints, helping reduce pain symptoms.
This procedure, also known as the TENEX procedure, is performed by inserting a special needle into your elbow. With ultrasonic energy, vibrations are sent through the needle into the elbow, liquefying the damaged tissue. Once liquefied, your doctor will remove the tissue by suctioning it out.
If your elbow pain does not improve using a conservative approach and persists for more than six months, you may need surgery. After surgery, you will need to do rehabilitation exercises to improve your recovery.
Treatments for Elbow Pain in North Dakota
The exact issue causing your elbow pain will determine the specific treatment option you need. So, if your pain has been bothering you and negatively impacting your life, you should get your elbow checked to get a proper diagnosis.
The board-certified orthopedic doctors at The Bone & Joint Center have years of experience diagnosing and treating problems related to the musculoskeletal system. We have 11 locations in North Dakota for your convenience.
If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, please call (800) 424-2663 or (701) 946-7500. You can also request an appointment request online.