This week's ergonomic article is on the causes of elbow pain. Check it out for tips on preventing and easing the pain of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, Tennis Elbow and Golfer's Elbow (Epicondylitis).
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Please respond with your tips and tricks for preventing elbow pain.
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I seem to manage to pinch something in one or both elbows every time I do yoga. Do you have any strengthening exercises I can try? I've been trying to improve the strength of my tri-ceps to protect the elbow area but that usually involves putting pressure on the elbow too.
Can you describe the "pinch" a bit more? Does it feel as if the elbow locks, or something is caught in the joint, or is there a snap in the elbow? Is it a painful sensation, or tight or numby/tingly? And is it over the inside, outside or back of the elbow? What position causes the "pinch"? Are you weight-bearing on the arm (such as in the downward-facing dog position)?
Most of the muscles that move the wrist and the fingers begin at the elbow. It's possible that, rather than strengthening, the forearm muscles may need to be stretched. By increasing the length of the muscle tendon unit along the forearm, some of the tension may be reduced at its starting point (the elbow) and eliminate the pinch.
Try this - put your arm in front of your body with the palm down and the elbow straight. Let gravity bend your wrist down towards the floor, then use the other hand to increase the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds. Then, pull your wrist in the other direction with the fingers pointed up as if you are saying "stop". Use your other hand to increase the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds. Perform several times throughout the day.
Check out the article on Cubital Tunnel Syndrome if you have any numbness, tingling or pain in the ring and small finger or a "funny bone" type feeling in the elbow.
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It's a burning sensation just above my elbow joint on the back of my arm, so between my elbow and tricep (tendon possibly?). Yes, going between downward-facing dog and cobra, especially flying cobra, is exactly when it occurs - I'm going back to yoga classes soon because I'm sure my positioning is wrong when I do yoga on my own. Most often in my right elbow, which is my dominant hand.
I do occasionally do those forearm stretches to prevent typist muscle shortening - a writer friend warned me about it years ago - but I will do them more often.
Interestingly enough, I do get pain in the knuckle joint of my left little finger, which started after a bad habit I developed of using my little finger to press Control and stretching across with the same hand's forefinger to reach V and B. (I don't do that anymore!) That finger stiffens up in the cold and responds well to warm water and exercising the hand using small Chinese juggling balls. I tend to sleep on that side, and often wake myself up with my left arm completely numb. Since I read your article I've also noticed that I curl up in bed with my elbows and wrists bent and tucked into my body. I'm trying to keep my elbows more straightened now, and that certainly helped a couple of days ago when my elbow was quite sore.
It does sound as if the ulnar nerve could be irritated in the cubital tunnel at the elbow. Avoid the bent elbow position for prolonged periods of time (for example, use a headset if speaking on the phone) and while sleeping. Keep up with the stretches. Avoid the yoga positions that cause the pinch for awhile (modify if possible). Be gently persistent. If the symptoms do not go away fairly quickly, however, or if you develop any numbness in the small and ring finger, it may be time to consult with an MD. Good luck to you!
Thanks Marji. I sit with that elbow bent all day with my hand on the mouse, and then it's also mainly bent at night too. I'll put a note on my monitor: "Hands off the mouse!"
Nice posts. Keep posting such needed information. Thank's!
I was very careful to set up my desk area to be as ergonomically proper as I could, since I am here all day every day. So far I'm fortunate, in that I haven't run into any serious pain with my elbows. I can't imagine what that would be like, for as much typing as I do.