Why Does My Elbow Hurt and What Can I Do for Relief?

4 min read

The elbow joint is an important part of the arm. This hinge joint is more complex than other joints, as it connects three bones: the ulna, radius, and humerus. Because of this joint’s complexity, you can twist and move your arms with various movements. This also means that various injuries and conditions can easily lead to pain in the elbow. Below, we will share some common causes of elbow pain and treatments for them. 

5 Common Causes of Elbow Pain that Chiropractic Care Can Help

There are many conditions and injuries that may lead to elbow pain. Sometimes, elbow pain results from a one-time injury; other times, it results from a progressive disease. Common conditions that cause elbow pain include:

1. Arthritis

Osteoarthritis can affect joints all over the body, and the elbow is no exception. Osteoarthritis happens when the cartilage in the elbow breaks down over time, causing the bone to rub together.

2. Strains or Sprains

When you overuse the muscle or ligaments surrounding your elbow, they can become stretched or torn. A strain refers to the muscles of the elbow being overused, while a sprain occurs when the ligaments are affected. 

3. Bursitis

Bursa is the small sacs of fluid that exist in the joints to act as a cushion for the bones, tendons, and muscles. Sometimes the bursa can become swollen and painful. Bursitis is usually caused by an overuse injury, such as from playing a sport or repeating the same motion repeatedly. 

4. Tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow

Two common injuries that cause elbow pain are tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow. Even if you don’t golf or play tennis these injuries can still happen to you. They occur when you move your arm repeatedly and are common when playing those sports. The technical term for these injuries is tendinopathy or tendinosis, which means that the tendons around the elbow have been damaged from overuse. The difference between tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow is that tennis elbow affects the outside of your elbow while golfer’s elbow affects the inside. 

5. Trapped nerve

Sometimes, nerves in the elbow can get squeezed and cause pain and issues in the arm and elbow area. This is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome, only it occurs in the elbow rather than the wrist. 

There are causes of elbow pain, such as a fractured or dislocated elbow, that may require x-rays and treatments outside of what a chiropractor can do to treat it initially. However, pain after the initial treatment can be addressed by a chiropractor. 

Chiropractic Treatments for Elbow Pain

Many people think of the chiropractor as a place to get help with back and neck pain. However, the chiropractor can help with much more, including elbow and arm pain. Here are some of the benefits patients receive from seeing a chiropractor when they’re treated for elbow pain:

  • Less pain and discomfort
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Ability to move the arm better (and without pain)Improved flexibility

Some chiropractic treatments that may help with elbow pain include:

Cold laser therapy

Cold laser therapy helps pain management and healing by delivering a low-intensity laser to certain body areas. The laser energy causes blood to flow to the treated area, helping your body heal. 

Spinal decompression

Elbow pain can sometimes be related to a compressed nerve in the spine. This might also cause tingling in the arm. If this is the case, spinal decompression may be able to help. Spinal decompression reduces pressure on the spinal discs by gently stretching the spine with a traction system. 


Especially when pain is localized, such as in the elbow, localized cryotherapy can be used to focus extreme cold temperatures for short periods of time on the injured area. This will increase blood flow to that part of the body, promoting healing at a faster rate.

Electrical muscle stimulation

Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) delivers electrical pulses to muscles to help relax them and relieve pain. This therapy could help with elbow pain if your pain is radiating from a pinched nerve in the neck or back. 


Massage therapy is a great compliment to chiropractic care, and it can even help you with elbow pain by relaxing the shoulder and back muscles. 

Get Elbow Pain Relief at Village Chiropractic 

It may seem like an odd part of the body to go seek treatment for. But if you’re not recovering on your own and it’s affecting your routine, get some help. At Village Chiropractic in The Woodlands we help patients find the source of the pain so it can be treated. We want you to feel your best as soon as possible. Request an appointment for a personalized treatment plan.

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