Chronic Elbow Pain
A common injury treated at Performance Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine is lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow). The common extensor tendon can become painful and irritated with inflammation. This tendon is located on the outside portion of the elbow and is a common overuse injury in sports like tennis and racquetball. Overtime micro-tears develop in the tendon with can affect grip strength and pain with a burning sensation. Although we normally assume tennis elbow only affects athletes, anyone that performs repetitive elbow actions, such as plumbers, carpenters, painters and even keyboarders may be prone to tennis elbow and elbow pain because of the small repetitive forces placed on the elbow.
Sports Medicine helps patients who are suffering from common athletic injuries to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. Treatment and prevention of these injuries is its own unique medical discipline and consists of many different types of health care providers. Typically, clinicians involved in the management and prevention of sports-related injuries operate in a collaborative effort, this may include physical therapists, chiropractors, physiatrists, acupuncturists, massage therapists and orthopedic surgeons.
Causes of Tennis Elbow
Overuse of the common extensor tendon can occur even without extreme trauma to the area. Physical examination and special diagnostic ultrasound imaging helps aid in the clinical diagnosis of tennis elbow. Injuries to this area happen when the load or demand placed on the tendon increases and becomes repetitive. This usually occurs because the tendon is located close to bones in the elbow that the tendon rubs against, causing irritation. Tennis elbow is most commonly found in people aged 25-50 who participate in sports or work that requires repetitive movement of the elbow. Poor mechanics and ergonomics can also lead to pain at the elbow joint.
When the patient seeks treatment early rather than later, non-surgical treatments may help relieve the pain from tennis elbow and allow the patient to resume their normal activities. However, due to the chronicity of this injury it may take several months for this problem to fully recover. Activity modification and rest is the first step in treatment to reduce the pain in the elbow. Physical Therapy incorporates strengthening of this tendon after the rehabilitation process is complete.
When stubborn cases of tennis elbow fail to respond to conservative treatments such as Physical Therapy, prolotherapy may be the right option for you. In severe cases of tennis elbow, the doctors at Performance Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine may incorporate regenerative medicine therapy to get you better faster. One of the solutions for chronic tendon issues is prolotherapy.
What is Prolotherapy and how can it help my tennis elbow?
The medical management of chronic severe tennis elbow will include physical therapy, non-steroidal inflammatory medications and cortisone injections in order to reduce the inflammation of the tendon. Prolotherapy has been proven to be a very effective non-surgical solution for tennis elbow. A non-pharmaceutical solution is injected into the area of damage, which helps to create stronger more flexible tendons and ligaments. Prolotherapy is a non-pharmaceutical solution that is delivered to the sight of injury to help repair dysfunctional tendons. Prolotherapy is delivered with a small needle under diagnostic ultrasound guidance to ensure proper placement of the solution. These injections consist of two to three injections over a 6-week period with a course of physical therapy to rehabilitate the area.
If you, or someone you know, are suffering from stubborn elbow pain, or would like more information on non-surgical options available, please feel free to contact one of our patient care coordinators at 908-754-1960 or contact us online.
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About the Authors:
Joseph Mejia D.O., F.A.A.P.M.& R, is a graduate of University of Michigan and West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. He is Board Certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine. Dr. Mejia received his Fellowship Training in Interventional Pain Management from University of Medicine and Dentistry. He has advanced training in Regenerative Medicine and is the Medical Director and Partner of Performance Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine.
Vincent J. Diana D.C., is a graduate of New York Chiropractic College. He is a Board Certified Chiropractic Physician with licenses held in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Dr. Diana is a Chiropractic Physician at Performance Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine.