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Should I stop working out if my elbow hurts?

Miami Certified Hand Therapist

We often get this very question daily when people call the office asking about elbow pain.

“I’ve been working out and trying to increase my weights but now my elbow hurts. Should I stop working out if my elbow hurts?”

When something like your elbow hurts, most medical professionals will tell you to REST.  If you  search Google, they will tell what elbow tendonitis is and how you can rest first, and get injections or surgery if it gets worse. Go to Youtube, and they may show you where to massage.


You want to know – should you stop working out? 

You could stop….but if you FINALLY got started working out again…or have been working hard  getting a routine of working out… you don’t want to derail that!  

But if you continue working out without professional help – your elbow pain can get so bad, that you can’t even grip your steering wheel to drive to work. You can’t even type on your computer. 

You do NOT have to stop working out.  Even with elbow pain.  It does depend on the severity though. If you start to have elbow pain, there’s a lot that you can do to eliminate the pain from getting worse. It is severe once you feel the elbow pain more often than not. Then it is a good idea to stop doing arm workouts (you don’t have to stop working out all together).

Our clients often tell us it’s severe when they “just can’t take it anymore” or “it’s just driving me crazy because I can’t even squeeze a sponge.”  This is the worst, “I can’t even grab a small container of milk from the fridge without the elbow hurting”.


So what can YOU do about it.

  1. KNOW that it is possible to get rid of the pain. You don’t have to live with it or wait for it to get worse.
  2. Pay attention to which movements are giving you pain, when it gets aggravated. You can grab our free Elbow Pain Guide for even more tips and how-to’s that you can get started with.
  3. When the elbow pain is at it’s worse – Gel ice pack that wraps around the outside and the inside of your elbow is the best.  It needs to be done at least 3 times daily for 10 minutes for best results. 


Patient Success Story – Meet Micheal

Michael, one of our clients with elbow pain suffered over a year.  He had been very successful losing weight and getting back to working out BEFORE the pandemic. He lost about 80 pounds on his own with better eating habits and a slow and steady workout routine.  

Then his elbow started to hurt, little by little getting worse. The thing with elbow pain is that he can move it, it didn’t bother him all the time, so it was easy to ignore and think that it would just go away on its own. 

He finally went to the doctor who referred him to their own therapy center. And he went for 12 weeks and he felt like it was helping him. They worked on his arm with massage, used different types of machines like electrical stimulation, and gave him exercises to do. Michael said he was good about doing some of the stuff at home but it still didn’t go away completely.

By one month, they discharged him and told him he could do it alone. But the pain was not gone, he was feeling like the exercises that he did at the beginning no longer helped.


Looking for help at our Miami hand therapy clinic 

That is when he gave us a call at the clinic and requested a Free Discovery Visit with one of our Miami Certified Hand Therapists.   

We love talking to people and finding out what their goals are. Michael wanted to get back into martial arts and boxing, and he just didn’t see how that was possible if his elbow kept hurting.

Though he had great motion, he didn’t feel excruciating pain, he didn’t want to feel limited in his work outs. I mean, 3 pushups flared up his elbow! And then he could barely type at his work. 

So he stopped doing push ups and arm workouts until he started to come in and see us for his elbow pain. We dove deep into what worked or didn’t work for him in the past. Found out what was the real cause of his elbow pain – he had imbalances in his arm and poor movement patterns that he never even considered was causing his elbow pain! Created a plan that was realistic for what he wanted.  

Within several sessions, he was back to doing push ups. Now, he can completely workout without fear of elbow pain and further injuring his elbow.  And most importantly, he’s empowered to know what to do the next time he starts to feel anything at his elbow.  

Are you struggling with elbow pain?

If you have elbow pain – you don’t have to stop working out all together. And you certainly don’t need to be dependent on pills or resort to injections or surgery. 

Give us a call at 786-615-9879  or visit Hands-on Therapy Services and talk with our specialists. Let us help you get clear on what is possible 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.

If you are struggling with hand, elbow, or neck and shoulder pain schedule an appointment, OR request a Free  Discovery Visit!

In these difficult times, we are here to help. Telehealth and online sessions are available!

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

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