Our Ramsey pain management doctors, Dr. Steven Ferrer and Dr. Kevin McElroy, have seen many of their patients affected by elbow pain. Epicondylitis, or inflammation of the muscles and tendons that attach to the elbow, is often the underlying cause. You may know this condition as 1 of its 2 varieties, golfer’s elbow or tennis elbow–both of which respond positively to the variety of services we offer at our facility.
Golfer’s Elbow vs. Tennis Elbow: Similarities & Differences
Epicondylitis is a relatively common health condition, especially among working adults in their 40s and 50s. It’s typically caused by excessive physical load or overuse, including repetitive arm movements which are commonly seen during certain athletic and occupational activities. According to research published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, epicondylitis is more likely to occur in people who smoke and/or who are obese.
There are 2 specific types of epicondylitis, lateral and medial:
- Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis): pain presents on the outer elbow and may radiate down the forearm; the main muscle and tendon involved is called the extensor carpi radialis brevis
- Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis): pain presents on the inner elbow and may also radiate down to the forearm or wrist; the main muscle and tendon involved is called the flexor carpi radialis
Of course, you don’t have to play tennis or golf in order to be afflicted with either of these injuries, however the nicknames are apt since these activities are often precipitating factors. In both cases, the elbow pain typically presents gradually. Both conditions may lead to weakness in grip strength and a decreased tolerance to perform certain upper extremity tasks such as holding a racquet or golf club, typing, turning a door knob, etc. Typically, a person’s dominant arm will be affected, although either or even both arms may be involved.
How Our Ramsey Pain Management Team Treats Golfer’s Elbow & Tennis Elbow
Since the majority of golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow are caused by some sort of overuse, one of our main tasks when treating this type of elbow pain is to identify the causative movements and figure out how to modify or avoid them in order to reduce further damage. This may include taking a break from your sport of choice or adjusting your occupational body mechanics and work tasks. We also need to initiate tissue healing as soon as possible. Not only will this help relieve your elbow pain and reduce inflammation, but it will also minimize the risk of recurring symptoms.
- Our physical therapy team can help by providing therapeutic exercises to promote tissue healing and increased circulation, along with soft tissue mobilizations to relax painful muscles
- Our Ramsey doctors can also prescribe various pain management modalities including acupuncture, electrical stimulation, and pain relief injections to provide fast and effective pain relief
- Osteopathic manipulations that improve the alignment of your spine may also help reduce strain and tension on the nervous system which could be contributing to/exacerbating your symptoms
No matter what your unique presentation is, our team will work thoroughly to develop the most appropriate treatment plan to manage your elbow pain effectively. Is your elbow pain holding you back? Come experience the difference in care at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine, serving Ramsey and surrounding New Jersey communities. To book an appointment, call (201) 962-9199 today.