Elbow pain is a surprisingly common problem that affects the elbow joint. The most common cause of elbow pain is an injury. The nature of elbow pain varies from person to person and majorly depends on the cause; it can be sharp, dull, burning, tearing or shooting in nature. It may be constant or intermittent depending on the cause of the pain. Elbow pain while bending and straightening, elbow pain while gripping, elbow pain when lifting are common symptoms of an injury to the elbow. Homeopathic medicine for elbow pain works by stimulating the body’s natural restorative processes for a speedy recovery.
The Elbow Design
The visible joint between the upper and lower parts of the arm, i.e., the forearm and upper arm, is known as the elbow. It includes the elbow joint formed by three bones and the various muscles, ligaments, and tendons that support the joint. The elbow joint is a hinge joint. The three main bones that make the joint are the humerus, radius, and ulna. Pain arising in the elbow joint or any structures surrounding is called elbow pain. Pain in the elbow can be one-sided (unilateral) or occur on both sides (bilateral).
Homeopathic Medicine for Elbow Pain
In the conventional system of medicine, elbow pain can be treated with the use of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), corticosteroids, antirheumatic drugs (for example, methotrexate, cytokine blockers, JAK inhibitors), or even surgery.
These drugs help in reducing the inflammation by decreasing the production of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are chemicals that are responsible for causing pain, fever, and inflammation. But these drugs can also cause some serious side effects like stomach pain, heartburn, stomach ulcers, headache, dizziness, ringing in the ears, an allergic reaction such as wheezing, rashes, liver and kidney problems. Homeopathy for elbow pain, on the other hand, show no side effects and promote natural healing by stimulating the body’s restorative mechanism.
Elbow pain that occurs due to arthritis, gout, injury, overstrained elbow joint, inflamed tendons, and trapped nerves are treatable with medicines. Arnica for tennis elbow is a very popular treatment. Other homeopathy treatment for elbow pain includes medicines like Rhus Tox, Ruta Graveolens, Bryonia Alba, Colchicum Autumnale and Argentum Met.
1. Rhus Tox – Elbow Pain due to Over-Straining/overuse of Elbow Joint
Rhus Tox is a medicine derived from the plant commonly known as Poison ivy which is a shrub. It grows as a weed in eastern USA and Canada. It belongs to the Anacardiaceae family of plants. The medicine is prepared from the fresh leaves of the plant Toxicodendron Radicans. Rhus Tox is a medicine that is indicated for the treatment of elbow pain accompanied with a stiffness of joint. The elbow joint feels hot, painful, and swollen and gets better by warmth and motion-massage. Rhus tox is usually indicated for tearing pains in the elbow joint.
2. Ruta Graveolens – Elbow Pain due to Tendinitis and Bursitis
Ruta Graveolens is derived from the flowering plant commonly known as rue, common rue and herb-of-grace. Native to Southeast Europe (east of Italy), this plant is also found in Croatia, Albania, Greece, Bulgaria, and neighboring countries. This remedy is prepared by using the above-ground parts of the plant. It belongs to the Rutaceae family of plants
Ruta Graveolens is the medicine for elbow pain that occurs due to inflamed tendons and bursae. When elbow pains are sore, aching and accompanied with restlessness, and weariness, Ruta Graveolens works well.
3. Bryonia Alba – Elbow Pain that Worsens with Movement
Bryonia alba is produced from the root of the plant called white bryony. It belongs to the family Cucurbitaceae and is found widely in Europe and Northern Iran.
Bryonia Alba is for elbow pain that worsens with movement and is tender to touch. Elbow joints are usually red, swollen and hot. The pain of elbow joints is generally sharp and tearing.
4. Colchicum Autumnale – Elbow Pain due to Gout
Colchicum Autumnale is a medicine for elbow pain that is derived from the autumn blooming flowering plant called Meadow Saffron or Naked ladies. This plant belongs to the Iridaceae family and is native to Great Britain and Ireland. Colchicum Autumnale is the medicine indicated for elbow pain that arises due to the condition of gout. Colchicum Autumnale is best suited when the elbow joint is stiff and ho. The pain worsens at night, from touch, and warm weather. This medicine is used for elbow pain treatment when the pain is tearing, with a piercing pin and needle sensation in the hand and wrist. A sharp pain in elbow may also be felt.
5. Argentum Met – For Rheumatic Elbow Pain
Argentum Met is a medicine for elbow pain from the mineral kingdom and is derived from the silver metal (commonly known as pure silver, silver leaf or precipitated silver).
Argentum Met is the medicine indicated for the treatment of rheumatic elbow pain that is accompanied with weakness in the arm. The elbow pain gradually increases, suddenly becomes severe, and then ceases. The pain feels like an electric shock and is accompanied by tenderness.
6. Ledum Palustre and Plumbum Metallicum – For Golfer’s Elbow
Ledum Palustre is a medicine for Golfer’s Elbow and is derived from a small flowering shrub (commonly known as Marsh tea). Marsh tea is a low growing evergreen shrub that only grows up to a height of one meter. The shrub belongs to heath family and is a native of northern Europe. It is also widely distributed in British America and around Canadian lakes. It is indicated when the pain in elbow extends to the forearm and feels like it is shifting and tearing.
Plumbum Metallicum is a medicine for elbow pain that belongs to the mineral kingdom. It is derived from lead and is used when elbow pain is accompanied by a tingling and numbness in the arm. The pain feels like a bolt of electricity and there is a pain in the elbow when straightening the arm. Pain on the inside of the elbow when straightening the arm is another symptom that points to this medicine.
Causes of Elbow Pain
The causes of elbow pain are usually either overuse or strain as a result of work, sports, hobbies, or accidents. Elbow pain happens to be the most common symptom of elbow-related disorders.
Some reasons for elbow pain are as follows –
Sprains and Strains: Sprains are referred to the stretching or tearing of ligaments that connect two bones together. A strain on the other hand is a stretching or tearing of the tendonn or muscle.
Tendinitis: Fibrous tissues that attach muscles to bones in the elbow when overused, can cause Inflammation and irritation of the tendons. This condition is known as Tendinitis.
Bursitis: Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that act as cushions to the bones in the elbow. Any inflammation or injury caused to the part can lead to Bursitis.
Tennis Elbow: Tennis elbow develops as a result of inflammation of the tendons in the muscles of the forearm, at the point where they attach to the outer elbow joint. This is also known as Lateral Epicondylitis.
Golfer’s Elbow: Golfer’s elbow refers to an inflammation in the tendons at the point where the tendons attach the muscles of the forearm to the bony part on the inner elbow. Medically this condition is known as epicondylitis.
Throwing Injuries: Also called “baseball pitcher’s elbow,” these injuries occur due to an overuse of the elbow when a ball is thrown. Other sports involving similar mechanisms tend to produce similar injuries. These involve elbow structures like tendon detachments.
Radial Nerve Compression: This is a condition in which the radial nerve that passe through the elbow joint gets compressed or pinched.
Ulnar Nerve Compression (or entrapment): Pinching or compression of the nerve by swelling or displacement.
Ligament Tears: Elbow ligaments that get torn due to excessive force on the elbow joint can cause elbow pain.
Injuries to any Elbow Component: Trauma and pain to any component of the elbow joint or adjacent structures that work with with the elbow joint (forearm structures like the upper arm and shoulders) can cause elbow pain.
Broken Arm: Fracture in the parts of the arm bones (including the humerus, radius, and ulna) cause extreme elbow pain.
Stress Fractures: Any non-displaced fracture of the bones that form the elbow joint can cause elbow pain.
Dislocation of an Elbow Component: Dislocation of any bones or other structures such as tendons or nerves that form or pass through the elbow joint can lead to elbow pain.
Carpal tunnel Syndrome: Carpal tunnel is a condition that causes numbness, pain and tingling in the arm and hand. It happens when one of the major nerves of the hand (known as the median nerve) gets squeezed or compressed as it goes through the wrist.
Elbow Fractures: Any fracture of the bones that form the elbow joint (humerus, radius, ulna) cause extreme pain.
Osteoarthritis: It is a condition wherein there is a loss of cartilage at the end of the bones in the elbow. This can lead to elbow pain.
Rheumatoid Arthritis: It is an autoimmune disease that causes joint inflammation. When this condition develops in the elbow, it can cause chronic pain.
Osteochondritis Dissecans: This is a condition wherein the blood supply is cut or decreased in the elbow.
Olecranon Bursitis: Inflammation of the bursa (present on the tip of the elbow) is known as olecranon bursitis. The inflammation causes pain.
Infections of the Elbow Joint: Infections in the elbow joint can include cellulitis, abscess formation, septic arthritis, or infections in the other structures, that can cause elbow pain.
Tumors: Any cancers or masses that develop in the joint structures in the elbow, such as bone tumors, can cause pain.
Gout: Gout is a very common but complex form of arthritis that can affect anyone. It is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, swelling, redness, and tenderness in the joints.
Sometimes, a pain in the elbow may occur due to an injury to the vertebra. This injury may irritate the nerves that service the upper arm. Such pain, the source of which is not at the elbow, is known as referred pain.
Contributing Factors For Elbow Pain
Some of the main risk factors that can cause elbow pain include:
- Trauma to the arm and elbow may result in vascular compromise (inflammation of the blood vessels due to an injury). Trauma and repetitive stress may also result in swelling and nerve compression or entrapment. Even sleeping on one’s side with the elbow bearing chest weight may result in daytime elbow pains.
- Overuse of the joint and too much stress at a given point on the elbow joint. Overuse is noted in people who have an excessive amount of elbow movements during work, sports, or other similar activities. For example, individuals who work with repetitive motions of the elbow during, say, a product assembly line may develop some types of elbow pain (bursitis, tendinitis).
- Not warming up before strenuous activity. Muscles and tendons are more flexible and therefore less prone to tearing when athletes warm up before engaging in an intense sports activity. Not doing so can increase the risk of tissue damage. Such damage often leads to a painful condition known as tennis elbow.
Sports like tennis and gym exercises (like weight-lifting) that require repetitive actions can also cause elbow pain.
- A ligament or tendon tear or even dislocation or fracture of one of the bones in the elbow joint, work accidents, contact sports such as football, and auto accidents can lead to irritation, and occasionally to a severe elbow injury.
- Improper use of sports equipment, such as a tennis racket that is too small or too large for the athlete, or a racket that is not appropriately strung (for example, the head surface is too tight or too loose, or the racket is too heavy for the user).
- Inflammatory and autoimmune diseases can cause joint pain, putting people with problems like rheumatoid arthritis at risk.
- Working in physically repetitive occupations, such as carpentry, bricklaying, instrumental music, clothing construction, plumbing, assembly-line production, or intensive computer work.
- Infections of the elbow structures increase the risk of elbow pain. Also, direct trauma to the elbow, such as colliding with another player or falling onto the elbow can cause pain.
Symptoms of Elbow Pain
- stiffness, swelling, and soreness of elbow joint;
- tenderness of the elbow joint;
- difficulty in grasping and lifting objects;
- pain that radiates either upwards or downwards from the elbow;
- impeded movement of the elbow joint i.e inability to straighten or bend the elbow.
Managing Elbow Pain
For quick relief from elbow pain, there are certain home remedies of rest, using ice packs, and compression of the joint area.
- Drinking ginger tea, using heating pads, and massage the area gently can be used to reduce elbow pain.
- Anti-inflammatory foods such as green leafy vegetables, berries, citrus fruits, high potassium and magnesium foods (coconut water, avocados, sweet potatoes, bananas) help the body to repair the damaged tissue. Combined with elbow pain exercises, one can manage the pain.
- Elbow pain when lifting light objects may be related to the posture. Sometimes pain occurs when we lift something at an unnatural angle.
- The “RICE Method” is commonly used to relieve elbow pain. It includes the steps Rest – Ice – Compression – Elevation.