I hurt to lift anything in my elbow. I have been doing the exercises that were given to me by a doctor and physical therapist. I have tried massage and dry needling, and nothing is working. I need to be better in by 3 weeks.
This was a patient recently… Let me share with you why those measures do not always work. You must get to the source of the problem. You have to figure out is this really a tendon problem or is there something else going on?
How would a tendon respond if it were injured?
It would hurt with pressure on the tendon. When you contract the muscle, the tendon is attached to, it would hurt, and you probably would have weakness. This sounds right. So, the treatment above could work on something that presents like this if they gradually progress the strength to challenge the tendon and doing specific exercises to get them back to what they want to do.
One thing I always check with elbow issues is 1. Ruling out the neck. 2. Ruling out the elbow joint. Okay the neck I can see. Not always likely to be elbow pain, but you can ask questions to rule this in or out.
But I do not understand ruling out the elbow joint?
You can have all the above presentation (tendon hurts with pressure, weakness, pain with gripping) but you will notice that if you passively take you through full range of motion (full bending and extending of the elbow) you will notice they will either not have full range of motion or they will have pain at end range.
This would not happen if you have only a tendon problem. Passively moving your elbow into extension or flexion does not put strain on the tendon. Nor does the tendon limit range of motion in the elbow. So if you do the above treatment on an injury that presents like this, you are not going get good results. You are working on the wrong part of the body. You must address the joint first. These are usually quick to resolve and easy to treat conservatively.
Doing a thorough evaluation would help to determine what you need to do to get to the source of the problem. Just having elbow pain and assuming you need to go to treating a tendon is not always going to get you good results.
So this patient that came in to us after not getting any results was feeling great in 2 -3 weeks. She was able to get back to all her activities and was thrilled we found the solution to her problem. This same scenario can be true for all joints such as the shoulder, hip and knee joints. They often mimic meniscal tears, labral and RTC tears (the usual diagnosis they get for those injuries)
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