I hurt my elbow back in April. It had been a bit sore for a few weeks but I ignored the pain. Then I was kneading dough one day and felt it tingle like I’d overworked the muscle. Within a few hours I couldn’t move it. That pain lasted a few days, it swelled a bit and was red and warm to the touch. I iced it and eventually got mobility back a few days later.
The problem is I still have slight pain. It’s so little, barely noticeable in my day to day activities but I feel it now and then when I move my arm a certain way. And I can’t do yoga, which I miss. I feel slight pain when I do that and I’m afraid of making it worse.
The pain is so small I don’t really want to go to a doctor unless I have to.
I was hoping someone here might know, should I be resting and icing it? Or should I be exercising it?
A little of both. I know my grandmother had tendinitis and said it was one of the most painful experiences (and she’s had a lot of painful experiences including 6 childbirths).
You don’t want strenuous activity. You should see a doctor, get an elbow strap and an order for PT. You want enough movement a few times a day to restore range of motion and flexibility, along with a few strengthening exercises, but nothing horribly strenuous until you are pain free and have full ROM. I would forgo yoga until you are pain-free (or at least any moves that involve putting pressure on your arms).
It can take 2-4 months to fully heal and if after that could involve surgery if you’ve failed conservative treatments like PT.
I second the recommendation for PT. A physical therapist will be able to show you which exercises and which stretches are right for your injury. Also, as someone who has injured other joints and not taken time to heal, PT will save you a lot of headache and the recovery time from surgery. It’s definitely worth it.
This sounds like bursitis if it is hot to the touch. I would go for PT and ice it twice a day, unless heat makes it feel better for you at this point.
I have tennis elbow and have been dealing with it for 4 years now. PT actually didn’t help me. I most likely need surgery but I’ve put it off and I just try to manage the pain and limit my exercise and time on court. It’s hard because I used to be a daily tennis player and now only play twice a week. I also used to teach yoga but can’t do that anymore either. I just can’t afford to be laid up with surgery and I find that as long as I rest it, it doesn’t get much worse.
Try researching different kinds of bands that help limit the movement and torque you’ll get through the forearm. I would still go to a PT at first, just to get ice and treatment and some basic exercises but, in the end, I think my damage was too far gone.
Theraband flexbars!!! No joke, I was on a writing deadline and developed a massive case of tennis elbow (after flirting with a mild case a year before on a different deadline, which I successfully powered through — or so I’d thought, until it came back with the POWER OF A THOUSAND SUNS) and this was the cure. There are YouTube videos that show the movement you make with it, which is also what a PT would usually have you do, so I later learned. Super simple and I had almost immediate improvement. (By immediate, I mean that the pain began to subside within a few days, and was gone within a month.) Honestly, I think I had golfers elbow as well — EVERYTHING in my elbow was inflamed, hot, painful; I couldn’t even open jars, and it was keeping me awake at night.
If you know what caused it, try to avoid that for a while too. For me, it meant finding a completely different writing set up, and avoiding certain physical activities for six or eight weeks.
i really can’t speak highly enough of the theraband thing, though. I was desperate and sure I’d just fallen for snake oil, but nope, it was a miracle. I still use it once a week or so just to make sure the problem doesn’t recur. Takes three minutes, tops.
andromeda99 : would it still be bursitis months later? It was hot to the touch the day after i really hurt it and that lasted a day or two. It’s not like that now, in fact I have trouble figuring out where exactly it hurts because it only hurts when I move it not when I touch it.
calendula : I just wanted to THANK YOU sooooo much. It’s only been a week and a half since I received it and it’s made such a difference!!! It’s not perfect yet but I don’t feel pain anymore when I do little things. I had a feeling I had build up the strength because it just wasn’t getting any better with rest and I think this l was enough to help. So thank you again!!!
Seconding everyone who recommended flexi bands and looking up some exercises if you don’t want to see a doctor or physio. I have it on and off in my left arm, when it flares up I use RICER for 24-48 hours (rest, ice, compression bandaging, elevation and referral to a doctor if it worsens). The physio I saw recommended using a strip of sports strapping tape just below the elbow to support it. If you do things like weights or yoga, avoid any exercises which make it worse and speak to an instructor (if you have one) about modifications. When mine is bad I don’t do tricep extensions or tricep kickbacks at the gym because they HURT, lol.