You’re in the gym, you’re moving furniture, you’re shoveling, and that darn burning sensation in your elbow is back again. “I thought this would have passed by now,” you mumble to yourself, as you try and ignore the pain. No matter how much you try to battle it out of your mind, you can’t help but feel weak and physically impaired. It’s not a good feeling to live with.
The thing about elbow injuries is that you can do things to reduce swelling and pain. But – like with every other injury – you should make an effort to understand what is actually going on.
How the problem arises
The pain you’re experiencing is housed either on the outside or inside of your elbow (lateral and medial epicondyle) and is a result of overuse of the flexor and extensor muscles in your forearm.
Example of a flexor movement: the bending at the elbow on the way up during a cable triceps press down or pulling yourself up during a chin up. Example of the extensor movement: the action of moving the handle down to a straight elbow position during a cable triceps press down or lowering yourself to the bottom during a chin up.
Elbow trauma is typically caused from overuse, but specifically acute trauma, muscle imbalances, and lack of soft tissue movement is a result of built up scar tissue. Built up scar tissue needs to be broken down to induce healthy blood flow and range of motion. For less serious elbow tendonitis cases, massages or active release technique (ART – activerelease.com) are great solutions. For more serious cases, surgery may be necessary.
Taking care of your injury
Depending on what your problem is specifically, you will treat your tendonitis differently. When the tendonitis subsides, it’s important to continue preventative measures.
You can continue getting massages or ART treatment, but realistically you need to switch up your gym routine to adapt to what your elbow demands. Its might sound silly, listening to your elbow. But if it hurts then it’s sending you a message, and that can be dangerous to ignore.
Most importantly, you should slow your exercise movements to about a three-second speed in each direction. Use comfortable weights and stop any extra body movements to complete repetition. Moving slow does not mean you compromise working hard. Moving slower actually stimulates muscle for greater growth. If you are experiencing any pain on the inside of your elbow (golfer’s elbow) or the outside of your elbow (tennis elbow), download Fitivity’s Elbow Pain & Tendinitis Rehab app to reduce stiffness and increase flexibility.
Finally, try these stretches to help reduce swelling and pain
1. Wall biceps stretch
1 minute each arm
2. Lacrosse ball triceps stretch
1 minute each arm
3. Palm up forearm stretch
30 seconds each arm
4. Suspension trainer chest extension
2 sets of 20 seconds