Has your elbow been bothering you? Does it hurt to lift things? Open bottles? Carry a laundry basket? You may be suffering from acute elbow pain. Sure, it feels worse and lasts longer than the last time you hit your funny bone against the counter. But, the good news is, in many cases, with proper care and treatment you can find relief.
A Drug-Free Alternative
Many instances of acute elbow pain come from overuse or repetitive stress. Athletes in particular suffer so much that two common afflictions are named after them. Even so, they are not the only ones vulnerable to acute elbow pain. Any profession that requires repetitive movement in the arm and wrist area every day is at risk. In these cases,it is easy to turn to painkillers and anti-inflammatories for relief.However, these don’t resolve the cause and, in the long run, may make it worse.
Using electrotherapy treatments like TENS or EMS to combat acute elbow pain is a safe, drug-free alternative. The TENS unit works by stimulating the nerve endings, thus blocking the pain signals from the brain. TENS therapy can be used in many ways to provide instant relief from acute elbow pain.
Golfer's Elbow & Tennis Elbow
Golfer’s Elbow, also known as medial epicondylitis, is an inflammation of the tendons on the inside of the elbow. Golfers and baseball pitchers alike use these tendons in their sport every day. However, golfer’s elbow can also occur from other repetitive motions, like swinging a hammer.
Another similar athletic woe is tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis. The only difference is that the inflammation occurs on the outside tendons of the elbow. Many professions are at risk for developing tennis elbow. Cooks, car mechanics, and painters, for instance, all use repetitive motions every day that put stress on these outer tendons.
Several precautions can be taken to decrease the chances of developing golfer’s or tennis elbow. First and foremost, avoid overuse. When possible, take time away from whatever activity is stressing your elbow. If the motion is part of your job’s daily routine, try using the opposite arm for the task. It may take some time to adjust but it will provide relief. Gently stretching can also help prevent pain. The stretching should be pleasant, so be sure to not push too far. Strengthening the muscles around the elbow will also be beneficial. EMS uses electrical impulses to stimulate and thus strengthen muscles. Using EMS for acute elbow pain can help keep muscles working even while they are resting. Extra strength will help protect from repetitive stress injuries.
Other Types of Elbow Injuries
The same can be said for olecranon bursitis, an inflammation of the protective, fluid-filled sacs behind the elbow. Olecranon bursitis may occur from direct impact or pressure to the elbow or arthritis. Especially in the case of arthritis, the elbow will feel stiff. EMS will help increase blood flow to this area, which helps heal inflamed bursas and remedy a feeling of stiffness.
Acute elbow pain may also occur as a result of a more serious injury, like a fracture. Fractures should be treated by medical professionals. However, as a painkiller, TENS can frequently be used in place of drugs. Place the TENS unit pads around the painful area on the elbow or arm and at least one inch apart for instant relief. TENS can be used as often or as infrequently as needed for a safe alternative to pain pills.