More often than not, people call us asking for help for lateral epicondylitis or more commonly known as tennis elbow.
I also often find those coming for occupational therapy for tennis elbow, will oftentimes have golfer’s elbow as well.
Regardless where your elbow may hurt – I want you to know that it is possible to get rid of tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow without having to take pills, wear braces endlessly, or get injections.
Those things are THE go to when you are searching for treatment for elbow pain on Google.
There’s the RICE method – which includes taking NSAIDs….but honestly….for how long if your pain continues?
Also included in most people’s search are those elbow straps. I’m sure you may have even had a friend tell you that they used one and all the sudden, their pain went away. Most of the time, it’s not true.
The most popular that you might see is that you can go to your doctor to rule out any other problem and if you have elbow pain and want to get rid of it fast, you can have a cortisone injection.
Regardless of what you have tried or how long you have had elbow pain – read on how one musician in Miami was able to avoid pills, injections, and braces and get rid of her elbow pain.
Patient Success Story – Meet Kari
Kari had been experiencing pain in her elbow for several months before calling our Miami hand therapy clinic at Hands-on Therapy Services. She had already gone to the doctor to ask “What’s going on? Why is my elbow hurting? And I didn’t fall. I didn’t do anything.” Kari plays an instrument, and her busy season was about to get started. Worried about missing out on work opportunities and her career she reached out to us at the clinic.
She had already gone to the doctor. He gave her some pills for her inflammation at first. She didn’t necessarily want to take them but she might have taken them at the beginning. She also started therapy at the big hospital. Some doctors will recommend therapy right away, and some they won’t recommend therapy.
It was not terrible, the therapists were very kind. She just didn’t get rid of her pain. When she would start playing, her elbow would start hurting again.
A little advice from our certified hand therapist in Miami:
No matter where you go, you want to find someone who specializes and treats people for that particular injury that you have and knows what your goals are. Especially look for an occupational therapist and certified hand therapist. You want to go somewhere where they’re taking the time to give you the time and attention. Find someone who will listen to what problems you are having, ask the right questions, and create a plan for how to help you.
Kari at Hands-on Therapy Services
After going to therapy at a large popular clinic, she was not getting the results she hoped for.
And that’s why she was frustrated when she called us.
First of all, we need to find out what’s wrong. Get clear on what’s wrong. Sometimes people come to me with a tennis elbow, and I’ll find that they have golfer’s elbow, too, and we have to treat them both.
And actually, truth be told, a lot of times if you don’t play tennis, and you don’t play golf, and you’re like, “How did I get this?” We use our arms all the time for everything, and our elbow takes the force of everything that we do, absorbs the force of everything that we do in our everyday lives, whether we are driving, playing sports, going to the gym, playing with your kids, just picking them up sometimes.
We use our arms. You want to go somewhere where they’re actually looking for the source of the problem. That they’re not just, like, “Oh, let’s do your treatment just like everyone else’s treatment. Put a hot pack. Put a machine. Put a cold pack. Do ultrasound. Do the same exercises like wrist curls. Everyone is doing the same thing.” You want to find someone who’s going to really hear your treatment, your needs based on what you do, what you want to do.
One of the things that I don’t like doing, and I try to avoid it if I can, is to tell people to stop doing something. I want to know what you’re doing and find out what you’re doing, so I can see what it is that you’re doing, can I improve your positioning, or how you’re doing it so that we can find out, what’s the problem?
What is the root cause? Find somebody who’s going to look above and below the problem, and around the problem.
That’s exactly what we do.
When clients come to us for elbow pain, we look at tennis elbow, and we find out that they have golfer’s elbow, too. So, is it just pain on the outside of your elbow or pain on the inside of your elbow?
There’s a lot of things that you can do on your own, like massaging it, icing it. But sometimes you have to find out what is really truly the problem so that you can ice it correctly, so that you can ice it in the right place. And in terms of exercise, making sure you’re exercising the right way. I’ll tell you honestly, a lot of times my elbow people have shoulder problems. Sometimes my elbow people have hand problems.
So, just to say, “Oh, massage here and ice here,” it’s fine. It’s great. Get started that way if that’s the way you need to.
But honestly, in order to get rid of it for good, you want to find the source of the problem, and you want to look above and below and make sure, what else is wrong? What else is out of balance?
So, you can get clear on what you need to do to fix it, get the right kind of help so that you can get rid of it, so that you can be more active, and avoid having to take pills and get injections.
In Kari’s case :
her elbow was a little “off centered” due to imbalances in her shoulder. She had no pain there, just weakness in a particular area. When she played for a long time, her shoulder would get tired and that’s when her elbow would start hurting. Certain muscles of her forearm were weak as well. Once we knew the source, it was a matter of giving the right prescription of movements in a particular order.
Years later, she was still doing great and would come in for the occasional “tune-up” sessions so that she didn’t have to stop playing.
Most of the time with elbow pain, surgery is not necessarily recommended.
Pills, braces, and injections can be avoided. If you have tried all the above or none at all but have elbow pain, there’s hope for you.
Written by Hoang Tran
About the author – Hoang Tran
Hoang Tran is a certified hand therapist and the owner of Hands-on Therapy Services and author of the book “The Hands-On Approach”. She loves helping people with hand, neck and shoulder problems, because she knows how bad and debilitating they can get if not addressed and treated properly (once and for all!).
The aim of her occupational therapy practice in the Miami area is to bring patients back to full functionality, without pills, injections or surgery.
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The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.