Your elbow is responsible for bending your arm, helping you do things like grab a doorknob, cook your favorite meal, or drive to work.
Now imagine doing those same tasks we just mentioned, but this time without being able to bend your elbow. This is how it feels like to deal with elbow injuries.
You probably know what it feels like and that's why you're looking for ways to treat it.
If so, then you've come to the right place -- continue reading this article because we'll talk about the different treatments for elbow injuries.
There are a number of ways you can treat elbow injuries.
Applying ice to your injury coupled with a few days of rest can help the healing process.
If you get diagnosed with a tennis elbow for example, then it’d be a good idea to ice it and step away from the activity that caused the injury in the first place. You can read our article on tennis elbow to learn more about it.
If your injury recently happened, then you can apply the P.R.I.C.E method because they’re great for acute injuries. This method is a widely used first aid treatment that’s applied at the first onset of the injury. This is what's used whenever someone gets injured while playing sports or while on hiking trips.
P.R.I.C.E is an acronym that stands for protect, rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
We’ll give a detailed explanation of what these terms mean. And don’t worry because contrary to what its name suggests, it's not pricey to try these at all.
Protect. In other words,“protect your elbow at all costs!”. It’s important to protect your injured elbow to avoid aggravating it. Make sure to protect your elbow from carelessly getting hit by objects or by other people.
One way to do that is to place it in the proper position, usually a neutral position or a position where you feel the least pain, while sitting down or when sleeping. You can also choose to wear extra padding for added cushion.
It’s also important to minimize the movement of the adjacent parts of your body like your shoulder and your forearm because moving these areas too much could also hurt your elbow.
Protecting your elbow will surely help your healing process.
Rest. It’s likely that you got your elbow injury from overusing it so it’s a good idea to rest it while you heal. Resting from strenuous activities will ensure that your elbow gets the healing it needs. This could take a few days or a few weeks depending on your injury.
If you have a strenuous job, it’ll be a good idea to take a break between each work session. You can also do this if you work a desk job. You’d be surprised how many people injure their elbow while doing office work.
If you regularly work out with weights, ditch the ego and skip the gym when you feel fatigued. Exercising when you’re tired increases your chances of hurting yourself.
What’s the point of all those gains if you can’t use your elbow, right? Rest is key to getting better.
Ice. When acute injuries strike, applying ice packs to the affected area has been shown to reduce pain and inflammation. Ice helps decrease pain and inflammation as well as reduces muscle spasms by constricting blood flow to the area.
The ice pack should cover the affected area in order to be effective. I know it’s tempting to grab some ice from the freezer and pop it in a bag, but this kind of ice pack isn’t as effective at treating injuries compared to proper ice packs.
You’re better off getting ice wraps that are sure to fully cover the injured area. Plus, you can use them comfortably in the affected area too. Check out our 5x7 packs from IceWraps.com right here at the shop or click down below to order yours from Amazon.
ICEWRAPS 5”x7” Reusable Gel Ice Packs - Hot Cold Pack for Injuries, Pain Relief, Migraines - 4 Pack
Don't forget to apply the ice for 15-20 minutes on the affected elbow at least 2-3 times a day.
Make sure to beat that injury the right way!
Compression. Acute injuries often come with swelling as a byproduct. Wrapping your elbow area with compression bandages can help reduce the swelling in the area. But you can opt to wear compression sleeves if the thought of wrapping bandages sounds daunting to you. There are tons of sleeves available at your local pharmacy.
Compression bandages and sleeves work by creating pressure that pushes the excess fluids back to the heart. This results in the reduction of the swelling in the area as the excess fluid is pushed back into the circulation.
It’s kinda similar to milking a cow – minus the cow and the smell of manure.
Elevation. Similar to the effects of compression, elevating the injured area above the level of the heart can help return excess fluids back to the heart resulting in a reduction of swelling in the area.
Putting your elbow on an elevation while lying down, like on a pillow, can do the trick. For a double whammy, you can choose to elevate your arm and combine it with wearing compression sleeves to get twice the effect compared to if you only elevated it.
Hopefully, your elbow injury is feeling a lot better after trying these methods! But if you’d like to do more than the P.R.I.C.E. method to beat that nagging injury, then continue reading below to learn about these "non-PRICE" treatments.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Your doctor can prescribe pain medications that you can take to lessen pain and inflammation. There are also various over-the-counter drugs available that you can use. Always make sure to consult with a medical professional before taking any drugs.
Wear a brace for immobilization. Limiting the movement of your elbow with a brace will help it heal. Moving your elbow too much can reinjure it and slow its healing. You might think that you’ll be able to restrict elbow movement without a brace but doing this is easier said than done!
We can get too preoccupied that many times we forget that we’re nursing an injury and end up moving our elbow by accident.
Speak to your medical doctor or your physical therapist to know if you need a brace for your specific situation. And if you decide on wearing a brace, many stores sell them over the counter so you won’t have trouble finding the right fit.
Steroid injections. If you hate needles, then this is not for the faint at heart! If your elbow pain becomes too much to bear, your medical provider could give you steroid injections to help manage the pain. This can bring down the pain and inflammation and the effects can last from a few weeks to a few months.
While getting shots is an effective method to reduce pain, it does come with side effects, so make sure to talk about this with your medical provider. If only side effects include being able to scale tall buildings and shoot web from your wrists, right?
Elbow paddings. No matter how hard you try to protect your elbow, there will always be factors outside of your control. You’re bound to accidentally hit your elbow on a cabinet or inadvertently get hit by someone else. That’s just the circle of life.
Remember what we said about that extra cushion you could wear to protect your elbow? You can do just that and apply extra elbow padding to the area to help cushion it to protect it from getting hit by objects or people. The padding can also add an extra layer of stability to your elbow so that’s a great plus!
Physical therapy. A physical therapist will be able to evaluate your injury and give you the proper treatment. Your treatment plan can include therapeutic modalities like heat or cold therapy and exercises to strengthen your elbow muscles.
You can get therapy at an outpatient clinic or you can have the therapist come to your home (how convenient!).
Watch this video to get an idea of the exercises you can do on your own to treat elbow pain. These could be some of the exercises you’d be doing at therapy so it’ll be a good idea to get a head start on them.
When it comes to treating elbow injury, simply choose a routine you want to do and then do it.
Consistency is key when it comes to recovering from elbow injuries.
Even if you already know what caused your elbow injury in the first place, it's still important to know the other ways it can get injured.
In this way, you'll be able to prevent future injuries from happening.
Elbow injuries can be caused by overusing the muscles, breaking a bone, or placing too much stress on the elbow. So when you do activities that involve bending and twisting the elbow, you increase your chances of injuring it. So be extra careful with it.
Here are some of the common causes of elbow injuries:
While all these can contribute to injuring your elbow, it isn’t an exhaustive list.
Many times, it would take a combination of all these factors to cause an injury.
Nursing an injury is never fun and nobody wants to go through weeks or even months of pain.
Life starts to get a little tough when you’re injured, so here at IceWraps.com, we’ve dedicated ourselves to providing you pain relief with our hot and cold packs.
We have an array of hot and cold packs that fit comfortably on your elbow right here. Feel free to browse through our products to find the perfect one just for you.
Here at IceWraps.com, pain relief is just a click away!
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