Due to the elbow’s extensive connective tissue, it may be challenging to pinpoint the exact source of your pain. It is a multidirectional joint that is complicated. You require an elbow specialist in NYC with a strong reputation who uses cutting-edge diagnostic tools and cutting-edge therapies. The experts at our Pain Management center take a comprehensive approach to find the perfect mix of treatments for your unique cause of elbow pain.

The common culprit for your elbow pain is overuse and repetitive motions from work, sports, or hobbies. Your elbow is less susceptible to arthritis than your other joints. Injuries from a direct blow can cause bone spurs or fractures. If you hurt your elbow, seek injury treatment soon.

A complex joint, your elbow provides a wide range of movement, like reaching for things and bringing them closer. It also lets you rotate your hand and forearm. Because your elbow has so many moving parts, it’s not always easy to determine the exact place or cause of your pain. Rely on the pain management specialists with the most advanced diagnostic equipment at the pain center.

Causes of Elbow Pain

Many actions or conditions can contribute to your elbow discomfort. However, the most common causes include:

Elbow Pain Treatment in NYC

  • Joint inflammation, commonly called bursitis
  • Golfer’s elbow, known as medial epicondylitis, is a repetitive motion injury
  • An inflammatory joint disease called rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sprains from stretching or tearing of the ligaments
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Tendonitis
  • Broken bones
  • Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, another repetitive motion injury
  • Injuries that result from throwing motions like baseball pitchers
  • Cubital tunnel syndrome, when you stretch or put too much pressure on your ulnar nerve

Depending on the condition, you can experience the following types of elbow pain:

  • Elbow joint pain
  • Elbow nerve pain
  • Elbow muscle pain
  • Elbow bone pain

Types of Elbow Pain

During your elbow pain treatment, you will undergo a thorough physical examination to determine the exact type of pain. Our doctors distinguish between various pain types, including:

  • Medial elbow pain. This pain occurs when the medial tendons of the elbow are exposed to internal tensile forces. It often results in overuse syndromes, such as medial epicondylar apophysitis, wrist flexor strains, and ulnar ligament sprains.
  • Lateral elbow pain. Lateral pain may indicate Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) or Panner’s Disease. This pain can be caused by repetitive microtrauma to the radio-capitellar joint and poor blood circulation in the capitellum.
  • Posterior elbow pain. Common causes of posterior pain include olecranon osteochondrosis, damage to the posterior olecranon, or olecranon bursitis. Locking the elbow in full extension and repetitive forced extension can lead to apophysitis of the elbow.

Diagnosing Your Elbow Pain

Elbow pain diagnosis depends on the onset, nature, and duration of pain and associated symptoms. Following a thorough exam, your pain management doctor may order lab tests by extracting blood or joint fluid to determine if there are infections or markers for a specific disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis. If crystals are found in your joint fluid, you may have issues with gout.

For diagnosis, your doctor can order imaging tests. They will assist in determining the exact cause of the problem. Fractures, bone spurs, or other abnormalities can be seen on x-rays, MRIs, or CT scans. Bone scans also help give a clearer picture of soft tissue damage, cartilage irregularities, or stress fractures.

Symptoms and Treatment for Elbow Pain

At the beginning of most treatment plans, unless there is a prominent broken bone or underlying cause, your doctor begins with the least invasive options available. You will first try rest and behavior modifications. Once your physician uncovers the source of your discomfort, treatment can begin, depending on your elbow pain symptoms.

Diagnosis and treatments typically include:

  • Golf elbow is not strictly relegated to golfers; it’s also common in weightlifters and construction workers. It’s inner elbow pain that extends through your forearm to your wrists and hands, causing stiffness, numbness, tingling, and weakness. Medial epicondylitis pain can be sudden or gradual. Treatment usually means you have to stop making the motions that cause the pain. Ice the inflammation until the swelling subsides.
  • Repetitive motion disorder that includes elbow tendonitis, cubital tunnel syndrome, and lateral epicondylitis can happen suddenly while lifting something heavy or from repeating the same motions repeatedly. The pain hits the outer side of your elbow joint and may extend down your arm. Treatments may include splinting, although movement is necessary to prevent elbow freezing. Injections of corticosteroids are part of tennis elbow treatment to ease the pain as you heal.
  • Elbow injuries. There are instances when you need to seek emergency help at Pain Management. If you notice any obvious injury, go to your nearest Emergency Room. If you can’t move your elbow normally or notice bruising, swelling, and severe pain, call your pain doctor right away. If your pain continues after home treatment or the redness and swelling increase, schedule an office visit as soon as possible. Emergency appointments are available.

Additional Treatment for Elbow Pain

Under the guidance of the best pain management specialists, you can take steps to continue healing and prevent further treatments.

Recommendations for interventional treatment may include:

  • Treating inflammation with ice or cold packs several times a day
  • Wearing compression bandages to support, protect, and reduce inflammation
  • Elevating your arm to help reduce swelling
  • Taking over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers and anti-inflammatories
  • Taking medications to treat an underlying condition, such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Following physical therapy, routine to restore strength
  • Protecting your elbow with pads and other equipment to avoid further injuries
  • Getting a corticosteroid injection to stop the ache and inflammation

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does Physical Therapy for Elbow Pain Entail?

Physical therapy helps restore the function of the elbow, activate blood circulation in the problem area, and stimulate the formation of synovial liquid. Static exercises for stretching and strengthening the muscles of the arm are recommended. Regular exercise eliminates muscle imbalance and prevents further damage. The proper technique helps strengthen tendons and span muscles.

Treating elbow pain with physical therapy methods gradually involves the following improvements:

  • The movement range, physical performance, and muscle strength of the arm are restored
  • Elbow ache is significantly reduced
  • Prevention of muscle atrophy

Before undergoing any treatment, make sure to consult a specialist in the field of elbow pain treatment.

What Are the Most Common Exercises for Elbow Pain?

Elbow pain exercises aim to strengthen and stabilize the structures that support your elbow. These include joints, muscles, and ligaments. If you have pain related to nerve, bone problems, or inflammatory conditions (rheumatoid arthritis, gout), talk to our doctor to get the best elbow pain treatment.

Physical therapists usually recommend the following exercises for elbow discomfort:

  • Wrist turn. Bend your elbow at the right angle and extend the hand outwards, palm up. Twist your wrist around and hold the position for several seconds.
  • Finger stretch. Put your hand palm-down on a table, straighten your fingers, and hold for a minute.
  • Wrist lift. Bend your elbow at the right angle and hold a lightweight, palm down/palm up. Bend your wrist toward yourself and release.
  • Elbow bend. Lower your arm to one side, bend upward and hold for a minute.
  • Wrist flex. Raise the arm straight out before the body and bend your wrist upward slowly. Hold this position for 30 seconds.

When Should You See a Doctor for Elbow Pain?

You may successfully relieve elbow pain with specific self-help methods. However, you should consult your physiotherapist if the pain doesn’t go away after two weeks of self-treatment. Arrange a meeting with your physiotherapy specialist if you have tingling, weakness, and numbness in your arm.

Emergency cases include:

  • Severe pain, swelling, fever, redness, and inability to move your arm
  • You suspect that your elbow could be fractured
  • Shooting pain in the elbow that doesn’t go away even when you’re not moving your arm

How to Heal Elbow Pain?

Conservative treatment that can bring elbow pain relief includes:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Painkillers
  • Elbow immobilization
  • Elbow padding
  • Physical exercises
  • Steroid injections

Ice helps relieve the pain. Your physiotherapist prescribes suitable drugs and exercises that strengthen your muscles and tendons. Manual therapy, acupuncture, or shock-wave therapy is used in some cases. The most severe cases are treated surgically.

What Is the Cost of Pain Management for the Elbow?

The cost depends on the pain management technique, optional medication, and duration of treatment. The general price for elbow support braces is around $50. The cost of steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs varies between $10 to more than $100 a month. Chronic elbow pain can be managed with steroid therapy. The cost of this therapy is impacted by the type of corticosteroid, the concentration, and the dosage. For instance, the price for triamcinolone acetonide can vary between $15 to $100 per shot.

What Is the Prognosis for Elbow Pain?

The prognosis for sore elbow joint is generally reasonable. Most people with sore elbows experience pain relief within 12 months of RICE and anti-inflammatory drug treatment. If you don’t feel improvement after initial treatment, our center offers various solutions for elbow problems, including physical therapy and corticosteroid injections. Remember, to avoid recurrence of symptoms, you must follow your therapy plan and take the prescribed medications on time.

Contact the nationally recognized pain doctors at Pain Management to improve your chances of a complete recovery. Regain the use of your elbow while eliminating the aggravating pain.

Page Updated on Jun 24, 2022 by Dr. Boleslav Kosharskyy, MD (Pain Management Doctor)
Boleslav Kosharskyy, MD | Interventional Pain Management Doctor in New York City

Boleslav Kosharskyy, MD, is a top-rated, best-in-class interventional pain management doctor. He is board-certified in Anesthesiology, Interventional Pain Medicine, and Palliative Care.

Dr. Kosharskyy is an Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Rehabilitation Medicine at Albert Einstein Medical College. He’s also the Associate Medical Director of Pain Medicine and Director of Anesthesia for the Joint Replacement Center at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein Medical College.

He is an active member of the American Society of Anesthesiology (ASA), the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine (ASRA), and the New York State Society of Anesthesiologists (NYSSA)

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