The elbow is one of many joints in our body and is the point where three bones come together. These are the two bones of the lower arm (ulna and radius) and the single bone of the upper arm (the humerus). Where they meet, they are held in place with tough connective tissues called ligaments, while tendons connect the bones to our muscles to enable us to move our arms in a range of different ways.
Unsurprisingly, certain movements can put our elbow joint under excessive strain, and this can cause damage that will result in pain and mobility problems. Fortunately, chiropractic treatment can help the area to heal and eliminate the symptoms that you are experiencing.
There are many different types of elbow injuries and these tend to fall into one of several categories, including one-off injuries, wear and tear and injuries caused by underlying diseases. Some of the most common elbow injuries include the following:
Bursitis. Bursitis is a repetitive strain injury that usually occurs when the patient repeats the same motion over and over again. However, bursitis has been known to be caused by accidents and injuries. This painful condition occurs when the small sacs, called bursa, that are found inside your elbow become swollen.
Tennis/Golfer’s elbow. Also known as tendinitis, these injuries also occur as a result of overuse and, despite their names, they can affect anyone who makes repeated movements with their elbow. Tennis elbow affects the outside of the elbow, while golfer’s elbow affects the inside. In both cases, the condition is painful and can limit your mobility.
Trapped nerves. There are lots of nerves that run through the arms and inside the elbow. When these become trapped, it can cause a range of neurological symptoms including pain, burning, and numbness. It can even cause weakness that makes it difficult to use your arm.
Dislocations and fractures. Dislocations occur when one of the bones in the elbow gets knocked out of place, and these injuries normally occur as a result of a blunt force trauma, such as throwing out your arm to stop yourself from falling. As you may have guessed, this occurs when one of the bones that form the elbow joint breaks at the elbow itself, rather than at another point of the arm. Again, breaks are usually caused by traumatic force.
Chiropractic care is focused on the musculoskeletal system within the body – the network of bones, muscles, and connective tissues that enables us to stand and move. Each of these components is found within the elbow joint. While most elbow injuries and their symptoms won’t be resolved overnight, regular chiropractic appointments can ease their effects.
Firstly, your chiropractor will be able to determine if you have a misalignment in your spine that may be causing an overcompensation injury. This is where you might use your arm in a slightly different way to compensate for a problem in the spine, thus resulting in your elbow injury. This is important because the musculoskeletal system is interconnected and often, dysfunction in the spine can influence the nerves that extend from the spinal cord into the limbs. Sometimes, bringing the spine back into alignment can be hugely beneficial in easing the symptoms associated with an elbow injury.
There is a range of different chiropractic techniques that can help with elbow injuries, boosting blood flow, accelerating healing, and reducing pain and inflammation. These include:
Spinal manipulations, to bring the spine back into alignment and release the pressure that may be placed on the central nervous system.
Trigger point therapy, which is where manual force is applied to areas of specific tension in order to relieve it.
Massage, which helps to ease tension in the muscles.
Heat/cold therapies, which help to reduce inflammation and associated pain.
Ultrasound therapy, which uses targeted soundwaves to heat the structures inside the elbow so that they can heal more quickly.
In addition to treating your elbow pain, your chiropractor can work with you to strengthen the joint which could reduce your risk of experiencing a further injury in the future.
For more information about how chiropractic care can treat elbow injuries, please contact our knowledgeable team.