What are the Different Types of Elbow Treatment?

Nat Robinson

Elbow problems are very common. Doctors see millions of patients each year with complaints from this part of the body. There are many reasons one may encounter discomfort in the elbow. In most cases the discomfort is caused by an injury or an inflicting condition such as arthritis. Generally, depending on the cause of the problem, there are many different ways to provide elbow treatment.

The elbow is where the humerus, ulna, and radius bones join together in the arm.
The elbow is where the humerus, ulna, and radius bones join together in the arm.

Extreme elbow pain is a common reason to seek elbow treatment. The pain may be so severe that a person is unable to continue with his or her normal daily activities. Often, over-the-counter pain medications will first be used to treat elbow pain. If the pain continues to be very severe, it may be necessary to make a trip to a doctor's office for professional treatment. The doctor will perform tests to diagnose the problem, which will enable him or her to provide the best method of treatment.

An x-ray may be performed to determine the severity of an elbow injury.
An x-ray may be performed to determine the severity of an elbow injury.

A common elbow injury is an elbow sprain. Usually, a sprain is defined as an injury to a ligament in the elbow. This is somewhat different from an elbow strain, which is an injury to a muscle or tendon. Both injuries are typically treated in the same manners. Elbow treatment for both a sprain and strain may include medications to relieve pain and inflammation, rest and icing the elbow.

Physical therapy is used to strengthen the elbow after surgery or an injury.
Physical therapy is used to strengthen the elbow after surgery or an injury.

Elbow treatment may also be necessary for an elbow fracture, where there is a break in the bones of the elbow. The doctor will generally diagnose this injury by having the patient undergo X-rays. After the fracture is confirmed, the doctor may treat the injury by immobilizing the body part in an elbow brace. This will keep the elbow from moving outside of a certain range, which will allow it to heal. The patient may also be prescribed pain medications and be asked to elevate the elbow whenever possible.

The elbow joint.
The elbow joint.

If an elbow is severely injured, elbow surgery may be the only treatment to correct the problem. There are many possible cases for which surgery may be necessary. For instance, it may be useful to mend a severely fractured elbow.

In many cases, following an injury or surgery, elbow treatment may include elbow physical therapy. Physical therapy will generally entail several different elbow exercises to strengthen the elbow. This treatment method may be used so that the person can obtain a normal range of motion in the elbow following surgery or an injury.

Elbow fractures are often treated with a splint and sling, but sometimes casts are used, too.
Elbow fractures are often treated with a splint and sling, but sometimes casts are used, too.

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