You arrive home after a hard session at the driving range and enjoy a Sunday lunch with the family in the warm afternoon air of the fading days of summer.
The next morning, you wake up to find your forearm feeling like it's on fire. The pain starts just under your elbow, pulsating down toward your wrist. It’s somewhat excruciating even to hold your toothbrush as you clean your teeth.
You arrive at work and sit down to boot up your PC. After a few clicks of the mouse, the pain in your arm comes back, throbbing so hard it feels like it has a heartbeat of its own. What’s the deal?
Unfortunately, you have golfers elbow, and it’s time to find treatment.
What is Golfers Elbow?
Golfer's elbow, otherwise known by the medical term "medial epicondylitis," is a painful disorder affecting the tendons of the forearm. Golfer's elbow affects the tendons attaching to the inside of the elbow experience severe inflammation and distress.
You'll feel pain stretching from the bony bump on the inside of the joint. The pain runs through the belly of your forearm and into the wrist. Most often, you'll have a feeling of pain and tightness in the inside of the elbow and the wrist when moving these joints.
Golfer's elbow is rarely a chronic condition, but it hurts and requires treatment if you want it to go away and not come back. Many people confuse golfers' elbow with "tennis elbow." However, the condition known as tennis elbow affects the ligaments on the outside of the elbow joint.
However, both golfer's and tennis elbow cause similar pain symptoms and limitations to range of motion in the affected individual. Another myth we need to discard regarding golfer's and tennis elbow is that they only occur in golfers or tennis players.
Anyone participating in activities placing repeated stress on the ligaments supporting the joint will eventually be at risk of developing the disorder. So, you could be a golf pro or an office worker – depending on how your body mechanics work during repeated activities; you could be at risk of developing golfer's elbow.
For many people, golfer's elbow is a recurring condition. The first time they experience the onset of the disorder, many people lack the insight to seek correct medical assistance with recovering from the effects of the inflammation and stress on the joint.
As a result, they find the condition dissipates with some home care but comes back a few weeks or months later. If you experience the onset of golfers elbow, you need to ensure you treat it properly, so there's less chance of it recurring.
The post gives you a complete guide to identifying, diagnosing, and treating golfer's elbow. We'll look at medical and non-medical interventions required to get your elbow and forearm back to health.
Golfers Elbow Causes
Who Can Get Golfers Elbow?
As mentioned, golfer’s elbow is the common name for “medial epicondylitis” where the tendons connect to the inside of the elbow experience inflammation, leading to the onset of pain symptoms and lack of range of motion in the joint.
The effect of golfer’s elbow can vary in severity. Mild cases may dissipate with no treatment or light treatment at home. However, in many cases, people who experience golfer’s elbow find it painful to an extent where they need to seek medical assistance.
Golfer’s elbow can come with a fast or prolonged onset, depending on the activities involved in the problem. For instance, an office worker who develops the condition may only start feeling the effects after years of tension building up in the elbow and wrist ligaments and the forearm muscle.
These individuals may find that the pain comes on slowly over several weeks or months until they can't deal with it any longer and eventually see their doctor. Some individuals, like athletes and sportspeople, may find the onset of golfer's elbow occurs within minutes or hours of experiencing a mild or traumatic injury to the affected joints and ligaments.
These individuals might require immediate treatment and rehabilitation to recover the range of motion in the joint and stop the pain and inflammation from interfering with their quality of life.
So, golfer’s elbow, or medial epicondylitis, can happen to anyone, not just golfers. However, some of the more common sports and repetitive activities found to cause the condition involve the following.
Throwing footballs or pitching baseballs are also sports that can cause the onset of golfer’s elbow.
The dynamics behind the quarterback making that hail Mary pass, or the pitcher striking out that batter with a curveball, place the same pressure on tendons and muscles in the elbow and wrist.
Javelin, archery, shotput, and softball are all culprits causing golfer’s elbow in participants of these sports.
Tennis, badminton, table tennis, and handball are examples of players using the elbow joint to direct power generated in the back and shoulders.
The elbow and wrist work in concert to create fine motor adjustment of your swing as you follow through, allowing for perfect placement of your shot.
However, using elements of the game like topspin techniques and improper form, notably in the backhand, can cause inflammation of the tendons responsible for the onset of golfer’s elbow.
If you enjoy heading to the gym for a workout, take it easy with movements like overhead work and pulling off the floor.
Preacher curl bars and machines also turn the wrist to an unfavourable position, exposing the ligaments to injury and the onset of golfer’s elbow.
Keep the weight to what you can handle, and focus on your form rather than adding weight to the bar.
Repetitive and Forceful Movements
Repetitive and forceful movements resulting in the onset of golfer's elbow can occur in various industries and professions, from office work to carpentry, plumbing, contracting, construction, and more.
You're at risk of developing inflammation when you placing pressure on your ligaments for extended periods without taking the necessary steps to recover the stress on the joints and tendons.
Risk Factors for Golfer's Elbow
As with any other physical disorder, groups of people are more at risk of developing the condition than others. Some of the defining risk factors for golfer's elbow include the following.
Over 40-years of age.
Protein synthesis slows after 40, making it harder to recover from the effects of exercise and stress placed on the muscular system.
Performing repetitive activities for more than two hours a day.
People working behind computers with their hand consistently on the mouse are at risk of developing tension and stress in the ligaments and joints responsible for causing golfer's elbow.
Those people with a BMI over 30 are considered "obese." These people place extra pressure on their joints due to their high body mass index.
People who smoke tobacco products find that their muscular system and nervous system don't have the same function and protection enjoyed by people who avoid the habit.
Golfers Elbow Symptoms
How Do I Know If I Have Golfers Elbow?
Golfer’s elbow can show up suddenly, or it can slowly creep up on you until it becomes too painful to bear. The condition affects the ligaments inside the elbow and forearm, and severe cases will spread to the wrist.
Golfer’s elbow limits the range of motion of the elbow. During sports activities, it also affects the power transfer through the shoulder, elbow, and down to the wrist. For this reason, the condition is common in golfer’s, and tennis elbow is common in tennis players.
Both sports involve the transfer of power from the shoulder through the elbow and the wrist. If you’re a golfer or a sportsperson, you’re likely going to feel a quick onset of the condition when inflammation levels are high in the tissues and ligaments.
The pain me intense right from the start, or it may intensify overnight as the muscles cool down from your training session. Golfer’s elbow may also show up as a complication of a previous injury to the elbow, wrist, or shoulder.
The fast onset type occurs quickly, and it often comes with significant pain symptoms – you’ll know that something is wrong immediately. If you attempt the activity causing the problem, it results in further pain and inflammation.
Some individuals report problems with grip strength and pain in the wrist due to the inflammation spreading through the lower part of the limb.
What are the Signs of Golfers Elbow?
Some of the common signs of golfer’s elbow include the following.
- Tenderness and pain on the inside of the elbow.
- Stiffness and a reduction in the range of motion of the elbow joint.
- Problems with grip strength and balling the fist.
- Weakness in the hands, fingers, and wrist.
- Tingling sensations or numbness in the hands. (More common in the ring finger and pinkie).
- Throbbing, pulsating pain.
As mentioned, the intensity of the pain depends on the extent of the problem. If this is your first time with the problem, the chances are it won’t be your last. Taking action and speaking with a medical professional is the best way to secure a favourable outcome with the condition in the years ahead.
If you’re dealing with a severe case of golfer’s elbow when the pain is excruciating, you’ll need to see a professional for help. If your elbow feels hot, and it won’t bend at all, or the joint looks deformed, then seek immediate medical assistance.
Golfers Elbow Treatment
Golfer's elbow requires treatment, even if it's just a mild case of the disorder. Unless you feel you can't cope with the pain, you can try some basic treatments at home while you're waiting for your doctor and therapist appointments.
RICE – Rest Ice Compression Elevation
This formula works simperingly well for conditions like golfer's elbow. Your best option is to visit the drug store or an online vendor and purchase a neoprene elbow compression sleeve.
Ice down the elbow joint using flexible ice packs to get complete coverage of the joint. Ice for around 5 to 10-minutes, and remove the pack when it starts to feel sore from cold.
Wait for 5-minutes, and ice it again. Repeat this technique for five to ten rounds, and you'll notice a tremendous improvement in pain and a return in the range of movement. Slip-on the elbow compression sleeve and keep your elbow elevated at shoulder level, above your heart.
Rest, and don't do any of the activities that caused the onset of the condition.
The following day, loosen your elbow up with a hot bath or shower or a heating pad. Stretch out the joint and massage the forearm and ligaments lightly. After you finish, ice it down using the same protocol as the day before, and put on your compression sleeve. Remember to keep the arm elevated.
If it's a light case of golfers elbow, you might see sufficient results to go back to your normal activities after a few days. However, it's better to take it easy and go for a massage to loosen up the ligaments and tissues, preventing it from reoccurring.
Golfers Elbow Exercises
Find a Qualified Physiotherapist
A good physiotherapist can make a life-changing difference to anyone that experiences golfer’s or tennis elbow.
Qualified physiotherapists will work all the stress points and triggers out of the tissues in your forearm. This strategy helps to keep the muscles and ligaments soft and supple and free from tension and stress. It’s a great preventative measure against the condition occurring or progressing.
Your physiotherapist will also give you a list of stretches to complete every day to loosen up the muscles before work or sports training. It’s critical that you follow these rehabilitation instructions or risk the return of the disorder.
Despite receiving the best instructions and advice, many people make the mistake of slacking on their rehab. Failing to do your stretches means that you can expect the return of golfer’s elbow at some point – it’s not a maybe, it’s just when.
People dealing with golfer's elbow can get relief from the pain and inflammation caused by golfer's elbow using over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Advil and Ibuprofen are effective at relieving the pain and inflammation associated with the condition.
However, it's important to note that these medications can be taxing on the body, causing problems with the stomach and organs, especially with long-term use.
Medication for Golfers Elbow
Athletes rarely need medication to manage the pain and inflammation associated with golfer's elbow. Some doctors may offer corticosteroid injections in severe cases.
New therapies like "platelet-rich plasma" (PRP) show promise in treating these ligament injuries and conditions, especially in athletes that receive recurring cases.
Surgery for Golfers Elbow
Surgery is usually the last resort for any doctor. If the patient requires surgery, the orthopaedics surgeon uses minimally invasive techniques like TENEX, removing scar tissue around the tendon and reducing pain symptoms. Surgery is usually only necessary in chronic cases where the patient experience painful, recurring bouts of golfers elbow.
Be Consistent with Your Therapy
The most important aspect of recovering from golfer’s elbow is keeping up with your rehabilitation program. If you don’t complete the recommended daily stretching program set by your physio, you run the risk of delaying healing time and reoccurrence of the problem.
Set aside time each day to run through your exercises in the morning and the afternoon. Most of the exercises you can do while sitting at your desk or in the car during traffic. There’s no excuse to get lazy and forget to do your rehab exercises.
Don’t Overdo Your Rehab
Some individuals overdo the home exercises and self-massage, resulting in a delay to healing. Don’t overdo it, or you run the risk of doing further damage to the tissues and ligaments around the elbow joint and wrist.
Over-massaging can end up increasing levels of inflammation in the joint. Instead of making you feel better, you feel worse. Stick to the plan and trust the process. As long as you maintain consistency, you’ll be fine.
While many athletes focus on building themselves back better after receiving a case of golfer's elbow, prevention is more valuable than cure. Golfer's elbow is mostly a preventable condition, provided that you take care of yourself. Here are a few tips to keep you from developing golfer's elbow.
Strengthen the Forearm Muscles
Get yourself a pair of heavy grips to increase your grip strength.
Stretch Before Activities
Stretch out your wrists and forearms before any sports activity or work.
Fix Problems with Form
Get a coach to look at your form and tell you where you can improve your posture.
Get the Right Equipment
Make sure you're using the cutting edge of equipment technology. If you have a set of old irons, it's time to upgrade to titanium-graphite clubs.
Don't overtrain and back off if you're feeling the onset of golfer's elbow. Never go back to the gym or the golf course if you're feeling stiff and sore in the inside area of your elbow. It's a better idea to stay home and ice the joint.
Golfers Elbow Cure?
There is No Cure for Golfers Elbow
We hate to break it to you, but there is no “cure” for golfers elbow. There’s no magic pill that will fix the problem overnight; you have to rely on stretching and reducing inflammation in your diet and lifestyle wherever possible.
If you’re dealing with golfer’s or tennis elbow, you’ll need to see your doctor or a licensed physiotherapist for a consultation. Your medical practitioner will assess the extent of the condition and make their call to diagnose golfer’s elbow.
Diagnosing Golfers Elbow
Your doctor or physio makes their diagnosis based on your medical history and a physical examination of your condition. The medical professional may apply pressure and move the elbow joint during the exam and test the integrity and strength of the wrist.
The movements may cause some pain and discomfort, but your doctor won’t deliberately hurt you. If your doctor suspects you have an underlying condition causing the problem, like carpal tunnel syndrome, they may send you for an X-ray or MRI.
What to Expect in Your Consultation
Your doctor will likely ask you the following questions during your consultation; they’ll use your answers to confirm their diagnosis:
- Do you have constant pain?
- How severe is the pain?
- Do tasks such as gripping, lifting, carrying, or typing cause you pain?
- Does the pain affect your daily tasks and sleep?
- Do you exercise and eat well?
- Do you smoke? If so, how many cigarettes do you consume per day?
- What sports do you do?
- Have you made changes to your sports equipment recently?
- What physical activities do you do at work?
- What are your hobbies?
- Have you experimented with home treatments? What treatments worked?
Your doctor will make their diagnosis and refer you to a physiotherapist for consultation. As long as there is no chance of a broken bone or torn limb causing infection, the doctor can’t help you. However, they will make recommendations for the physio and OTC or pharmaceutical medications.
CBD for Golfers Elbow Treatment
OTC medications like Advil and ibuprofen work, but they aren’t the best choice for managing the effects of pain associated with golfer's elbow.
The OTC medications provide you with two benefits – pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties.
However, they come at a cost. OTC medications aren’t suitable for long-term use, so they’re more of a crutch than a safe, long-term prophylactic treatment.
CBD offers you a safe alternative to these OTC solutions, and you can use it year-round with no ill side effects.
What Is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid found in the hemp plant, a cousin of the cannabis plant. However, the hemp plant doesn't produce any psychoactive cannabinoids like cannabis. Therefore, it's impossible to get "high" from using CBD oil in your diet.
There is research showing that CBD has a potent anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effect on users. The body of research around CBD and its effects on physiology are tremendous, with volumes of studies from organisations around the globe.
Integrating CBD into your daily lifestyle helps you manage pain and inflammation associated with golfer's elbow. You see, the golfer's elbow injury is simply inflamed tissue and ligaments.
The powerful anti-inflammatory action of CBD speeds up your healing time, while the adaptogenic and pain-relieving properties of CBD help to soothe pain and calm your nervous system.
Is CBD Legal?
CBD is not cannabis or marijuana. The UK classifies CBD as a “dietary supplement.”
If you’re a professional athlete, CBD use is completely legal with the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA) and the United States Anti-Doping Authority (USADA).
CBD is readily available for sale online, with leading brands offering you a range of CBD products to assist with managing the pain and inflammation associated with golfer’s elbow.
How Does CBD Work?
Cannabidiol works through interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a network of receptors occurring throughout the body, responsible for helping the body maintain homeostasis (balance).
These ECS receptors only allow docking with cannabinoids, produced naturally in the body. However, the cannabinoids found in CBD also dock with the receptors in the ECS, activating the system.
So, by consuming CBD through exogenous sources, like oils and extract products, we can benefit from CBDs natural anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties.
What are the Problems People Face with Golfers Elbow?
How can CBD help with the specific pain and problems caused by golfer’s elbow? What can you expect from including CBD in your diet? Let’s unpack the benefits of CBD supplementation and why every sports person needs it in their supplement regimen.
Impairment to Range of Motion
People with golfers elbow experience stiffness in the elbow joint and impairment to their range of motion. The impairment to ROM may be minor or so bad that the affected individual can barely flex their arm.
CBD helps to naturally lubricate the joints and reduce inflammation in ligaments and tissues. As a result, your muscles feel looser, and you have more range of motion in your elbow joint.
Pain Management with Golfers Elbow
The second issue with golfer’s elbow is the pain associated with the condition. The pain can come when you attempt to flex the joint, or it may be a throbbing pain that’s always present in the background.
The adaptogenic effects of CBD help the nervous system cope with handling the pain.
Adaptogens are a class of herbs and foods that create a calming effect on the nervous system, helping mitigate pain and anxiety symptoms.
How to Sleep with Golfers Elbow
Many people who are suffering from golfer’s elbow find it difficult to sleep. The pain from the disorder may keep you awake, and side sleepers may find it difficult to position themselves without experiencing pain. Here are a few tips to help you fall asleep when you’re dealing with golfer’s elbow.
Examine Your Sleep Hygiene
The activities you do around the hours before you fall asleep play a big role in determining your sleep quality. Follow these tips to improve your sleep.
Drop the Stimulants
Stop drinking coffee and energy drinks at least six to eight hours before bedtime.
Consistency Is Key
Set a consistent bedtime and waking tie, and keep that schedule.
Cut Down on Screen Time Before Bed
Don’t look at your phone or laptop at least two to three hours before bed.
Prepare for Sleep
Take a hot bath and massage your elbow in the warm bath water. Add some Epsom salts to the water to benefit from the magnesium’s additional anti-inflammatory effect.
Get a Memory Foam Pillow
Support your neck and head with a memory foam pillow and reduce the pressure on your shoulders. It’s an essential item for side sleepers to relieve pressure points in the elbow and shoulders.
Try a Sleep Aid
Try a natural sleep aid the helps you fall asleep faster. Patch Adam CBD Gummies for sleep help you take advantage of CBDs adenosine building properties in the brain., As a result, you fall asleep faster.
Rubbing Patch Adam Heat CBD Muscle Balm on your elbow before sleep helps you reduce the pain that’s keeping you awake at night.
Why Try CBD as a Sleep Aid for Golfers Elbow?
CBD has a specific action on the brain, blocking Adenosine reuptake. Adenosine, therefore, accumulates in the brain to levels where it starts to make you feel sleepy.
CBD increases adenosine production in the brain, and it also boosts the secretion of GABA, the brain's primary neurotransmitter.
As a result, you find it easier to fall asleep at night and to stay asleep. Consume 10mg to 20mg of CBD oil or CBD gummies two hours before bed will make it easier for you to drift off to sleep.
Adaptogenic and Nervine Properties
As mentioned, CBD is an adaptogen. It also has a nervine effect on the central nervous system (CNS), similar to chamomile.
The adaptogenic and nervine effect of CBD extract makes it ideal for calming the nervous system in the last two or three hours before sleep.
Consuming CBD oil or gummies during this window of the day helps you get a peaceful night between the sheets.
Wrapping Up – Don’t Let Golfers Elbow Keep You Out of Action
CBD is a great supplement to add to your diet as a preventative measure against developing golfer’s elbow in the future. Taking a few drops of CBD oil or CBD tincture each morning helps you get your daily prophylactic dose of cannabidiol.
The anti-inflammatoryproperties of CBD help your muscles deal with the demands of your sporting activities or your workday. Try some CBD oil from Patch Adam to prevent and alleviate pain and inflammation associated with golfer’s elbow.
If the oil and tincture are too earthy-tasting for your liking, give the CBD gummies a try. These delicious gummies contain 10mg or 20mg of CBD per treat to suit your needs. Protect yourself against inflammatory disorders with the power of CBD and avoid the onset of golfer’s elbow with your friend in health, Patch Adam.