What is Golfer’s Elbow?
Golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is similar to its counterpart, Tennis elbow. The primary differences between these conditions are the location of the pain and the activity that leads to injury. However, both conditions are caused by overuse of the muscles and tendons of the forearm, leading to inflammation and pain around the elbow joint, commonly called tendonitis. Golf is one common cause of tendonitis, but many other sports and work related activities can cause the same problem.
The cause of golfer’s elbow can vary from a single violent action (acute injury), to more commonly, a repetitive stress injury where an action is performed repeatedly and pain gradually develops. In an acute injury of the elbow, inflammation occurs without substantial tissue damage. However, in a repetitive stress situation, a person may experience damage to the tendon and surrounding soft tissue causing tissue degeneration over time. Inflammation from an acute injury often responds quickly to rest and anti-inflammatory treatment. However, if the injury is due to tendon tissue degeneration, treatment will be longer and will be focused on improving the strength of the tendon as well as rebuilding tissues.
Golfer’s Elbow Symptoms
With golfer’s elbow, pain is on the inside of the elbow, usually during or after intense use. Typically the pain increases during wrist flexion or pronation and often radiates to the forearm. Because this frequently occurs in golfers, it has become known as “golfer’s elbow”. However, it is also known as “pitcher’s elbow”.
Treatment for Golfer’s Elbow
Golfer’s elbow does not usually cause any long-term disability. However, the condition may become stubborn and proper rehabilitation will help alleviate the symptoms and get you back to life again.
Rest and Reduce Inflammation: The first step a person should take if tendinitis is suspected is to stop the activities that cause the pain and inflammation in this case, rest the arm. Use a topical cream containing Arnica to begin to reduce the inflammatory process quickly.
Laser Therapy to Heal the Damaged Tissue
Ending the pain caused by golfer’s elbow requires healing the damaged tissue. Class IV laser therapy is an excellent method for this, because it is presently the only form of therapy that can both reduce inflammation and heal tissue simultaneously. Laser treatments at Align Healing Center are done with the K-laser 1200 a Class IV Laser. This laser does not cut or burn but is gently absorbed by the tissue. During Laser Therapy the infrared laser light interacts with tissues at the cellular level, increasing metabolic activity and improving the transport of nutrients across the cell membrane. This initiates the production of cellular energy (ATP) that leads to a cascade of beneficial effects, increasing cellular function and health. This creates an optimal healing environment that reduces inflammation, swelling, muscle spasms, stiffness, scar tissue, and pain.
Correct the Mechanics of Motion
Assessing the forearm, elbow, shoulder, and spine for proper postural feedback is done to diagnose and correct improper alignment. After proper alignment is restored, specific muscular taping is applied to improve circulation and insure proper motion on a daily basis. Lastly, specific strengthening and stretching exercises are given. By strengthening the muscles and tendons involved with golfers’ elbow, you can prevent the problem from returning.
At Align Healing Center we are having great success treating golfer’s elbow, tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, sciatica, shoulder and neck pain, migraines, arthritis, carpal tunnel, post surgical pain, sports injuries and more; even long-term residual pain. Arthritis and degenerative disc disease sufferers can see long term benefits from this treatment without any of the negative side effects experienced with the long term use of medications.
Dr. Niele Maimone, DC is the owner and founder of Align Healing Center in Danville, California. She has been active in our natural health & wellness community since 1999. For more information or to set up a consult call 925.362.8283 or visit www.alignhealingcenter.com.