Various types of elbow injuries are, unfortunately, quite common – and these range from things like repetitive use and strain injuries, to breaks, infections, and more.
Whenever your elbow is injured, it’s important to have a good general sense of the right overall therapeutic approach and overview to take, in order to help aid the healing process and to avoid further injury.
In some cases, simple lifestyle changes can lead to recovery, whereas in other cases, surgical interventions may be necessary.
Here are some suggestions on how to treat your elbow when it is injured.
Rest Your Elbow Until You Can Have it Seen to and Diagnosed
First things first: if you have injured your elbow, it’s essential that you rest it and avoid subjecting it to any strain whatsoever, until you can have it seen to and diagnosed by an appropriate medical expert.
Many elbow injuries can be exacerbated significantly if they are placed under additional strain, and trying to “tough it out” and continue with your gym sessions, yard work, or other strenuous tasks after sustaining an elbow injury, may lead to long-term damage.
While resting your elbow, look for ways to restructure your everyday routine as appropriate, and consider steps such as using comfortable pillows or cushions to rest the elbow on while in bed or sitting down.
For certain conditions, long-term rest is the cure
It’s important to mention that for certain conditions – such as tennis elbow – long-term rest of the elbow joint is actually the cure, although you may have to minimise strain on the elbow for a prolonged period of time, such as 2 years.
If this is the case for you, it’s very important to find ways to restructure your ordinary everyday routines, so that you can still thrive while nonetheless minimising strenuous elbow movements.
Utilise Ice and Over-the-Counter Anti-Inflammatories to Reduce Pain and Swelling
Icing a sore elbow, either with an ice pack or a pack of frozen vegetables wrapped in a cloth, is generally considered to be a safe way of reducing swelling and pain in the context of a wide range of different types of injury.
At the same time, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can frequently offer some relief, and can help to make the healing process more manageable.
Don’t view this as an alternative to consulting with a medical expert
If you’ve consulted with a medical expert and they have told you that all your elbow needs is ice and over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, that’s one thing. But, if not, don’t assume that these approaches alone will be enough to resolve your injury.
Treat ice and anti-inflammatories as ways of managing and mitigating the injury until you can consult with a medical expert, not as an alternative to consulting with a medical expert.
Understand when a Specific Medication or Surgical Intervention is Necessary
Certain elbow injuries will require surgical intervention, or a particular course of medication.
In severe cases of Bursitis, for example, surgery may be necessary.
As always, err on the side of caution and consult with a medical professional to judge the best course of action.