I have a gardener, Dan, who does a wonderful job landscaping outside of my office. He brings in beautiful plants and I am very greatful to him.
The other day he came into my office with pain in both of his elbows, especially the right.
"If I'm looking at my phone with my elbow bent and then I straighten my arm, it hurts like hell" he said, "I think there's something going on with the joint."
So I went on to do my standard range of motion assessments on his elbow. Here was the interesting thing about my Dan's elbow - his range of motion was actually excellent.
So if it's not a restricted joint causing pain what could be the culprit? Nerve pain. In fact, even when I find elbows with limited range of motion if there is pain, I also often find nerve envolvement.
There are two primary places in the elbow where clients report pain - the medial or lateral epicondyle, or, in simple terms, the inside or the outside. The nerve that runs along the outside is the radial nerve, and it runs all the way from the cervical spine to the wrist. Conversely, on the inside runs the ulnar nerve, from the cervical spine all the way to the hand. Why are these nerves causing pain? Nerves, unlike tissues, cannot stretch. Nerves, however, still need to move, and if there are soft tissues preventing them from sliding, they become irritated and start signaling pain.
So what can be done for these nerves? An informed therapist, preferably one certified in Active Release Technique (ART) who knows the common entrapment sites of these nerves, can release the adhesions the form around them. If you have pain in our elbow, this might also mean that the nerve needs to be released in places like the armpit, where the nerves pass through down to the arm.
If you have elbow pain, believe me I know just how much it can impact your life. I encourage you to seek treatment and come in for your first evaluation today.