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Elbow injuries can be quickly improved with Chiropractic care.

Posted Nov 26 2010 8:31am

I have been getting a rash of elbow complaints recently which is a common complaint in athletes as well as office workers. Tennis elbow, also called lateral epicondylitis, can occur as a repetitive use injury with computer work and as a traumatic injury when playing baseball, soccer, wrestling and football.

Elbow fractures are common, more than you realize. Athletes that drink a lot of soft drink seem to have more fractures because theoretically less calcium is absorbed causing diminished strength in the bony structure. Also fracture occur in 40 and 50 year olds who think they need to play football again and the elbow’s not strong enough to take it after a few years off.

Since fractures are common, I will err on the side of caution and x-ray the area. I will do a test first to make an educated guess as well. With the palm up, I extend the elbow. An article in the “Southern Medical Journal in 2002 described this test and found that x-rays can be reduced by 50 percent. But since I can’t see the inside of the joint, I will frequently x-ray.

The more common injury is the repetitive strain. Younger kids, particularly, all want to be the pitcher or the quarterback. If they don’t learn the proper mechanics, and the more sidearm they throw, the more stress they put on the elbow. After the acute treatment, I will often work with the athlete to strengthen the area and get a trainer involved to work on proper technique. Sometimes making a small change in throwing technique or using protection or just being aware of the problem can resolve the issue.

Since the elbow is not a weight bearing joint, it doesn’t suffer from the same postural problems that the legs do. But sleeping positions, writing and sitting postures that an arm or elbow is put into can create some problems. If you do one thing repeatedly over time with stress, it can lead to some degenerative issues. So one of the ways I treat the area is thoroughly finding out what a person does in their life, including hobbies. I want to know how you sit in your car, what sports you play or what type of job you have. Truck drivers that lean on the elbow for long periods will develop problems. Their symptoms might be numbness and tingling in the little finger.

A lot of times people with that symptom think they have carpal tunnel. But that problem shows up in the thumb, index, middle and half of the ring finger. The little finger isn’t involved in carpal tunnel. But it frequently is with irritation to the Ulnar nerve which is known as the funny bone. That nerve is very superficial in the elbow area and is frequently irritated.

We treat tennis elbow and other injuries with two forms of therapy besides manipulating the joint. Cold Laser is a form of light energy that penetrated deep into the tissue and stimulated healing. We also do a type of massage technique which breaks up adhesions and stretches the muscle fibers. This allows the nerves to move freely in the area…remember the funny bone. Without the free movement of the Ulnar nerve, numbness and tingling can be very problematic. By freeing up nerve movement, the healing process is speeded up as well. Sometimes bracing the area allows the tendon attachments to calm down and heal then rehabilitating the area including strengthen will be done. Chiropractic care for elbows is very effective and usually responds quickly.

By treating the elbow conservatively, cortisone shots and surgery may be avoided. Remember once the area is cut, it will never be the same. Scar tissue can form and lead to more problems. We have had success with post surgical problems as well but prevention is always better.


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