Ack, ya got nuffin eh?
A few months ago (3 to 5 months, not sure really) I noticed my left elbow could be a bit sore and stiff if not used for awhile.
I just presumed it must be sore from some workout or something.
But it's just getting worse and worse, and now my right arm is affected too.
I can lift a dumbbell OK and general movement between the extremes is OK, however fully straightening or closing the elbow is painful, gripping anything with my hand also hurts and the elbow and my thumb-to-forefinger pinch grip is weak as all heck.
It's literally painful to pick up a cup of coffee now.
For awhile I kept taking glucosamine and other such things for arthritis but you know what? I don't think it's the joint itself. I don't feel any kind of grinding or problem with the joint and if I get my wife to move the arm for me there's no pain in simply moving it.
The pain seems to be in the muscle or tendons around the elbow, though also radiating down my left forearm a little now too.
As best I can tell this is 'tendonitis' or 'tendinitis' but online resources ALL waffle on about swelling, and using ice to "reduce the swelling" and various herbs or medicines to "reduce the swelling" and other stuff, all about the darn swelling - but I don't HAVE any swelling, just sharp to dull pain.
Other places call it 'tennis elbow' - and then waffle on about reducing the non-existent swelling...
I regularly take a couple of fish-oil caps for the omega 3, which is supposed to... yep, reducing swelling.. and inflammation.
Neither elbow looks red, swollen or anything like that. Just really sore and weak grip.
Any primal peeps know what the heck this is and/or how to treat it?
Once again, it is not swollen, I don't need to reduce swelling, I need to reduce the pain... Also noticed lately that there's one especially sharp pain right on the edge of the pointy bit, really does feel like the tendon may be torn or tearing - but I haven't done anything to it to cause that and certainly haven't done anything to the right arm as I've been babying both lately while resting the left one.
PS: I'm 3 days from ending my 21 day challenge, minus the workouts due to this elbow problem, which has actually gotten a lot worse during this time, not better. I have done *some* workouts but very gentle
Ack, ya got nuffin eh?
It sounds like it is tendonitis. Just because you can't see inflammation, it doesn't mean it isn't there. If you go to MobilityWOD and search elbow you should find some good mobility and soft tissue work you can do.
Could be tennis elbow (epicondylitis) and tendonitis causing the effect down the arm, could be carpal tunnel causing effect up the arm, could be cervical (neck) radiculopathy causing effect into both, could be something else... The first one does sound like the most likely right now. As said above inflammation especially in a repetitive stress sort of injury doesn't necessarily mean your gonna see redness and swelling. Ice massage over the elbow and attachment points for 3-5 minutes could help with the pain....freeze a dixie cup of water, then tear of the top inch or so and use it to massage the area. If you are losing strength in the hand and things are getting worse consider seeing someone (DC, MD, PT...whatever your comfortable with). Might need an MRI in the end.
Last edited by Neckhammer; 10-23-2012 at 02:10 PM.
Kinda sounds like some kind of repetitive stress to me, too.
You're going to have to figure out what you are doing to cause it (bad posture, resting forearms on the edge of the desk, repetitive movements, etc) and stop doing it, followed by some work to repair what is currently wrong. MobilityWOD is pretty great, if you can find what you're looking for.
Wrote a long reply, then Chrome decided to die on me (4th time today... if this keeps on I'm going back to Internet Explorer!)
Interesting about the neck and shoulder issues. For a start I do keep getting a cricked neck, probably from sleeping under the air-con, also tore my rotator cuff a few years ago and more recently re-did that same injury with a fall. I don't think it's the neck or nerve issue though, as it's definitely a mechanical kind of pain.
The shoulder does seem more likely, in that it's quite possible I've been abusing my elbow while babying the shoulder... not sure how that would get progressively worse and then effect the other shoulder though?
The mobilitywod vids certainly look interesting. Might have to find me a bicycle inner-tube!
Regarding ice, just tried that with an ice pack I happened to have handy in the freezer. Can't say it really did anything apart from numbing the skin but hey..
The big one though is "resting elbows on desk". Now that's something I do for about 9 hours a day, 7 days a week, if I'm not actually off fishing or biking or whatever. Deffo have to try reducing that! I should be moving around more anyway.
Thanks for the link to mobilitywod.
No problem. I highly recommend getting the innertube. It does wonders if you use it properly.
Anterior interosseous nerve is a branch of the median nerve. I think that starts right under the elbow. I've had median nerve pain before and I think the classic AIN injury involves a weak thumb-forefinger pinch. I would have described it as elbow pain at times.
Repetitive stress somehow enflames this nerve? Any numbness? That might mean some nerve impingement by tendons or ligaments.
Fun times. You can try an anti-inflammatory OTC med like Advil or Aleve to see if that brings you relief.
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Nope, no numbness or tingling.
It doesn't feel "electric" like you might expect from a nerve issue. no sudden jolts of pain, just a progressive "Ow" as load is applied or at either extreme end of movement.
When I say my grip is weak I mean it in the sense that squeezing with my hand hurts my elbow, especially the sort of thumb and forefinger grip you might use for a cup of tea.
I did actually try the bizarre inner tube thing; got an old motorbike inner tube and wrapped it around my arm, convinced it was some form of practical joke. I mean, at one point he talks about "ozone"...
Hey, I'm getting desperate here, so gave it a go!
Hard to really quantify the difference but my left arm is deffo worse than my right, yet immediately after the tube I'd say my left was marginally better than the right. So by no means cured but somehow that did bring some form of relief, even if I'm not sure I understand how exactly?
Rather worryingly, on my interweb travels I came across warnings that certain antibiotics can cause tendinitis and tendon ruptures. It was indeed a few months ago that I underwent a course of 2 antibiotics, followed by a 3rd, due to an infected leg (nasty road-rash after being dragged down a boat ramp by a runaway boat.. Ramp rash?) That could possibly explain the onset of tendon pain, without any apparent injury or action causing it?
(if you want to read more just search 'antibiotic tendon rupture', loads of articles)
Right now though I'm going with RSI from leaning forearms on desk. I actually have some wobbly skin under my left elbow from it being on the desk so often! It's not really moving much but I guess continuous rolling pressure on it may have caused a problem. That doesn't explain my right arm though, unless I've been leaning more on that, to compensate for my sore left arm?
The good news is all these things, cricked necks, stubborn infection, sore elbows, they're all reasons why I'm getting into the primal thing and taking care of my health - so perhaps a good thing, sort of?
I developed tennis elbow after getting my first smart phone about a year ago. I've since ditched the smartphone. I've seen improvements from using a small keyboard at work (I'm right-handed so this helps as my right arm is now in an ergonomically sound position on the mouse).
This goes to show that it may not be heavy lifting that is the main culprit. Small repetitive movements can be more harmful (no sniggering please).
After developing tennis elbow, which was very acutely painful and clearly very localised, I stopped weight training for a few months and wore an elbow brace. The worst agony was reaching up to pull a clothes hanger off a rack while shopping. It was pulling at particular angles that killed me - I could feel something tearing. Now the pain is occasional and minor by comparison, so that's a big improvement, but I haven't cured myself of the injury completely. However, it is manageable, and I am able to continue with upper body weight training. I avoid very dynamic movements though, e.g. kettlebell swings. I have hypermobile joints so this makes me more prone than average to this type of injury.
Eating a very anti-inflammatory diet should help - perhaps taking probiotics could help rebalance your gut flora and immune system which might help?
It's good that you are looking to take action sooner rather than later to avoid this turning into a serious chronic condition.
F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.