How Much Do You Know About Elbow Pain?
Did you know that the elbow is a complex system which, like other joint systems in our body, relies on the smooth interaction between muscles, tendons and bones in order to allow us to manipulate objects or support our weight? A staggering number of small bones and muscles can be found in each finger alone, which has a set of joints unto it that allows it to do its job subtly or strongly. Our elbows are the same way, except larger in terms of scale. It’s another big joint in our body that we use for more than we realize – is there anything your hand does that doesn’t require it to be positioned by your arm, which includes your elbow?
Elbow Pain Statistics
The statistics don’t lie. Tennis elbow, a common ailment involving the elbow for both players and viewers of (and even those apathetic toward) tennis, is too big to simply ignore. Up to 30% of those working in jobs requiring repetitive hand tasks suffer from tennis elbow. Around 40% of actual tennis players suffer it as well. Tennis elbow can affect us from 6 months to 48 months – stunning information, that. Finally, about 10% of cases will specifically require surgical intervention, while others might not at first. These are numbers that one shouldn’t really just shake a stick at, especially not since being afflicted with tennis elbow might render shaking a stick – or even holding it in one’s closed hand – excruciatingly painful.
Why Tennis Elbows Happen?
Tennis elbow is an ailment that sadly arises from proper, common use of one’s arms and hands. See, when we grip something in our hands, the action pulls on the tendons running the length of our forearm. When we do this a lot over time, it can wear the tissue out. This usually takes quite a while, of course, since our bodies are usually resilient enough to deal with it, but if there’s a long time of uninterrupted repetitive gripping, microscopic tears can occur in the tissue thanks to the cumulative stress places on the tendon. As noted above, this affects way more than actual tennis (or squash, or racquetball, or badminton, or even fencing or weight lifting) competitors. Those who perform a similar repetitive gripping as part of a regular routine – gardening with tools, painting, typing, carpentry, and so on – will find themselves at risk as well.
Tennis elbow can be frustrating because it causes pain in the elbow, and often doesn’t stop there. Pain can shoot up and down the length of your arm even when you’re not holding a tennis racquet or a paintbrush or a trowel – even when you try to do something as seemingly simple as open a door. There are many different ways to injure one’s elbow, but this one – where one gets it hurt simply by using it enough times over time – is worth focusing on.
Doctors have many recommendations, some that could already be considered intuitive. For example, icing an injured elbow is a natural remedy for elbow pain because the cold helps reduce the swelling and sensitivity of the affected area. Keeping the elbow steady is also something they recommend, usually with the use of an elbow strap. Doctors may suggest exercises to extend the range of flexibility and reduce stiffness, and so on. Ultimately, the best elbow pain remedy for this type of ailment is arguably giving the elbow a rest – while elbow pain from tennis elbow can drag on for a while, giving the body a chance to heal and knit itself back together is usually enough to come back from it.
Natural Remedies for Elbow Pain
There are other natural remedies for elbow pain that you might want to try. For example:
- Drink turmeric. The circumin in turmeric will serve as an anti-inflammatory agent, and this combined with the antioxidants in the spice can help speed up your overall healing time. The spice can also act as a natural painkiller, which is a helpful bonus. One good recipe involves dissolving a teaspoon of turmeric powder in a cup of milk over low heat. You can take this with honey twice a day for s few weeks.
- On the turmeric note, there are also turmeric capsules you can take – available in 250 to 500 milligram variations – with the advice of your doctor.
- Ginger is another spice that can give you some relief thanks to its strong anti-inflammatory effects. Make some tea out of it – a small piece of ginger root can be boiled in two cups of water for ten minutes. After straining and adding honey, this can form a tea that can be taken three times daily.
- Aside from ginger tea, a ginger based poultice can also be helpful. Wrap four teaspoons of grated ginger in a cotton bag and leave it in hot water for no more than a minute. Thus heated, this poultice can be put on the elbow for 15 minutes.
- St. John’s wort can also be a helpful natural elbow pain remedy – this also has good anti-inflammatory capabilities that can help ease the pain and swelling of an affected elbow. Dried St. John’s wort can be mixed in with hot water and then strained to leave a tea, which you can add honey to for drinking. A warning, however: before taking St. John’s wort, get clearance from your doctor if you’re taking prescription medication.
- Like the above, fenugreek also has anti-inflammatory properties. Unlike the above, it works as a paste applied externally instead of a tea to be ingested. Grind two tablespoons of fenugreek seeds with some milk to create this paste, and put the paste on the affected elbow. Leave it on for up to two hours then rinse off. Alternatively, you could eat one teaspoon of the seeds, finely ground – don’t make tea out of it – every morning.
- Wear compression sleeves. Compression sleeves on the elbow promotes blood circulation and speeds up healing. The technology used in copper-infused sleeves make healing faster. The snug fit is not like that felt on neoprene sleeves which can be too tight and too heavy. Because of the right amount of compression brought about by copper infused sleeves on the elbow, swelling and pain is lessened.
For more information on our Copper Infused Elbow Sleeve, Click Here!