While every condition and diagnosis are different, often elbow pain requires the reduction of muscle tension in that localized region. Tendonitis straps, among other braces, are often recommended and applied to relieve tension on the muscle’s insertion point. Furthermore, a comprehensive assessment of the entire upper quadrant is often warranted to best understand the interworking of the upper extremity complex. Trauma and post-surgical cases also require special attention to the elbows ability to both flex and extend, while also rotating (supination/pronation). Eventually strengthening of the elbow, forearm and hand grip becomes a main component of rehabilitation.
Manual therapy, including soft tissue manipulation, joint mobilization and dry needling, are commonly used to decrease pain and muscular dysfunction at the elbow joint. Skilled physical therapy intervention can undoubtedly increase blood flow to these areas and ultimately reduce inflammation. Breaking up muscular adhesions in the elbow regions is essential in the reduction of elbow pain and the return of normal function.
THERAPEUTIC EXERCISE PROGRAMS
Therapeutic exercise programs, including both stretching and strengthening are the hallmarks of elbow rehabilitation. The instruction of patient assisted range of motion activities and stretching allow for the resumption of normal movements patterns. Once rehabilitation is consistently progressing, specific strengthening and stability exercises are utilized to improve upper quarter movement patterns and reduce the possibility of re-injury.
Similar to “TMJ,” oral-facial pain is a term which typically encompasses and wide variety of symptoms and diagnosis. Most often, patient experience pain with chewing and/or clenching the teeth. This can be caused by either the muscles of mastication or irritation of the trigeminal nerve, a very important cranial nerve in the face.
Elbow pain and injuries are commonly the result of overuse. Tennis and Golfer’s elbow are typically the result of repetitive use and gripping activities, such as typing or gardening. With the larger portions of the muscles that control the digits located in the elbow region, dysfunction of the hand and wrist can manifest as elbow pain. Additionally, direct trauma can lead to either tendinopathy or nerve entrapment. Specifically diagnosed conditions, which are commonly treated in physical therapy are: Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow), Medial Epicondylitis (Golfer’s Elbow), Bursitis, Fracture, Dislocation, Nerve Entrapment and Post-surgical.