Living With Chronic Pain

Exercises To Ease Elbow Pain

Last week we reviewed what causes elbow pain, including the conditions that are commonly called “Tennis Elbow” and “Golfer’s Elbow” and ways to treat the acute complaints. Here are some exercises that help relieve both conditions (regardless of what causes the pain). Please make sure to speak to your provider before starting any new exercise regimen.

First, let’s go over how to help rehabilitate tennis elbow: 

1. Wrist turn:

Bend the elbow at a right angle, extend the hand outwards, palm facing up. Twist the wrist around gradually, until the palm is facing down. Hold the position for 5 seconds. Repeat nine more times, then do two more sets of 10 repetitions. Light weight, like a water bottle can also be added.

2. Wrist lift, palm up:

Grip a light weight, such as a water bottle and bend the elbow at a right angle. Extend the hand outwards, palm facing up. Bend the wrist up towards the body-hold this position for 5 seconds. Then, release slowly. Repeat nine more times. Do two more sets of 10 repetitions.

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3. Elbow bend:

Stand straight, lower the arm to one side, slowly bend the arm upwards until the hand touches the shoulder. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds. Repeat 9 more times.

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4. Wrist extensor stretch:

Raise the arm straight out in front of the body, with the palm facing down, slowly bend the wrist downwards, using the other hand, gently pull the stretching hand back towards the body. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds. Straighten the wrist again, repeat twice. Then, do two more sets of 3 repetitions.

5. Wrist extensor flexion:

Raise the arm straight out in front of the body with the palm facing down, slowly bend the wrist upwards using the other hand, gently pull the fingers back towards the body. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds.  Then, straighten the wrist again. Repeat twice, and do two more sets of 3 repetitions.

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6. Fist squeeze:

Use a rolled-up towel, sock, or tennis ball and place in the palm, grip the ball or towel with the fingers to form a fist. Squeeze tightly for 10 seconds, and repeat nine more times.

7. Towel twist:

Hold a loosely rolled-up towel length-ways, with one hand at each end. Keep the shoulders relaxed and twist the towel by moving the hands in opposite directions, as if wringing out water. Repeat nine more times, then repeat ten more times twisting the towel in the reverse direction.

Here are a few exercises that help medial epicondylitis, or golfers elbow: 

1. Ball squeezes:

Squeezes are a simple exercise involving a soft rubber ball or stress reliever. Place the ball in the palm of the affected hand and make a fist around it. Squeezing and releasing in repetition will strengthen the forearm.

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2.Finger extensions:

Squeeze all five fingertips together and stretch a rubber band around them. Extend the fingers away from each other as far as the rubber band will allow.

3.Wrist extensions:

Before performing this exercise, get a 1-pound weight. Place the injured forearm on a knee or table, with the hand suspended over the edge. Hold the weight in this hand, and slowly raise and lower it.

4.Forearm pronation and supination:

This exercise involves holding an object, such as a water bottle. Lay the damaged forearm on a table or knee for stability. To start, hold the object so that the palm is parallel to the body. Rotate the hand so that the palm faces downward. Return to the starting position, then rotate the hand so that the palm faces the ceiling.

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Elbow pain is a common occurrence. But, using the above recommendations may keep it from becoming a chronic issue. I still get twinges inputting data on the computer 10 hours a day. I found using the simple techniques discussed in last week’s post, as well as these exercises helped prevent it from becoming a long-term hindrance. Give them a try, but if the pain persists, follow up with your healthcare provider.

dsc_0323-1    –Dr. Courtney


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