The patient was a 56-year-old woman who presented with elbow pain on both sides. The pain had been constant since a fall 6 months prior. She braced herself from the fall with both hands and was left with constant pain on the outside of her elbows.
She had consulted a couple other chiropractors. One of them suggested that she had tennis elbow, and gave her specific stretching exercises to perform at home.
Something Does Not Add Up
Tennis elbow is damage of the tendons on the outside of the elbow. It is commonly due to overuse, but trauma can be a major player, too.
Although what this patient described was almost just like tennis elbow, the exam findings were inconsistent. She did not have pain exactly over the tendons, and we weren’t able to reproduce the pain with any orthopedic tests, either.
In fact, the pain she was experiencing followed the pattern of an inflamed nerve.
Immediately after the first treatment, the patient was pain free for the first time in 6 months.
Since the patient lives on the other side of the state, we have not seen her again since. However, we did follow up with her 6 months after her initial visit to our office, and she wrote back, “Elbows are fabulous and have never had another problem!”
Things To Think About
- Musculoskeletal injuries like this can affect the joint, muscle or nerve. Traditionally, chiropractors focus on the joints, and physical therapists focus on the muscles. Seldom does anyone pay attention to the nerves.
- The immediate and lasting result this patient has experienced also confirms that she did NOT have tennis elbow. True tendon injuries take more time to treat and heal.
- This patient responded great to the treatments and had a complete resolution, but it may take more work for others.
- When peripheral nerve irritation is the cause of the problem, patients typically see great results within 3-5 visits. If this doesn’t work for you within that time frame, this treatment is not for you and we need to explore other options.