How do I Treat Elbow Pain?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Pain in the elbow can be caused by some type of ongoing medical condition or as the result of an injury. In order to effectively treat elbow pain, it is necessary to first identify the underlying cause, then make use of a combination of techniques designed to alleviate the immediate pain while also helping the body to begin the process of healing. Here are several key steps associated with elbow treatment that are likely to be relevant to any elbow injury.

Treatment for elbow pain will depend on the cause of the pain.
Treatment for elbow pain will depend on the cause of the pain.

The very first step is to identify the origin of the pain. In some cases, this is very easy. If the elbow was struck during the course of an accident, then the reason for the pain is readily apparent. For situations where the pain seems to come and go without warning, then it is necessary to see a doctor in order to identify the cause. Only after the reason for the discomfort is identified is it possible to effectively treat elbow pain.

Ice packs may be used to relieve elbow pain.
Ice packs may be used to relieve elbow pain.

For minor issues such as an elbow strain or sprain, the treatment will begin with attempts to minimize elbow swelling. This can often be achieved by applying an ice pack directly to the elbow. If necessary, an elastic bandage can be used to hold the ice pack in position. The cold from the ice pack will help to calm inflamed tissue, which in turn will relieve stress on the joint. Fortunately, ice can be used as often as needed to receive some degree of comfort, without causing any type of damage.

Along with ice, it is often a good idea to use some sort of anti-inflammatory medication. Depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor may recommend over the counter medicine as the way to treat elbow pain. When more extensive damage has taken place, something more powerful may be required to help you manage the pain. Make sure you are aware of any possible side effects from the prescription medication, as some may make you drowsy or interfere with your ability to drive or operate other machinery.

Another key process used to treat elbow pain involves wearing a bandage. Elastic bandages are often ideal for helping to minimize the movement of the elbow during the recuperation period. Limiting your range of motion will put less stress on the damaged tendons and ligaments, allowing them to gradually become less inflamed. Make sure you know how to wrap the bandage properly. Ideally, the wrap will be tight enough to restrict movement, but no so tight that it interferes with circulation.

In some cases, it may be necessary to treat elbow pain with some form of surgery. This approach is usually reserved for situations where the bones or cartilage have been severely damaged, and require intervention in order to repair the damage. Your physician can assess the general condition of your elbow, and help you determine if surgery is the best option for your situation.

Ice can help reduce pain and swelling.
Ice can help reduce pain and swelling.
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

Readers Also Love

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register: