If you’re an office worker and you’ve been dealing with elbow pain, you’re not alone. Many of us spend hours at a desk, typing away on a computer, and sometimes that can lead to discomfort in our elbows. Let’s dive into what might be causing your elbow pain, some basics about elbow anatomy, and most importantly, how we might be able to help. But if you’d rather cut straight to the chase, give us a call and our experts can treat these symptoms.
Elbow Anatomy 101
First things first, let’s understand a bit about your elbow’s anatomy. The elbow is a complex joint formed by the connection of three bones: the humerus (upper arm bone), the radius, and the ulna (the two bones of the forearm). It’s a joint that allows for both bending (flexion) and straightening (extension) of the arm. Ligaments and tendons, like the ulnar collateral ligament and common extensor tendon, provide stability and enable movement. When any of these structures are affected, it can result in elbow pain.
Causes of Elbow Pain for Office Workers
Elbow pain can be caused by various factors, and for office workers, some common culprits come into play:
Repetitive Strain: Typing on a keyboard and using a mouse for extended periods can strain the tendons and muscles around the elbow joint, leading to conditions like tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) or golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis).
Poor Ergonomics: An improperly set up workstation can put stress on your elbows and wrists. If your desk, chair, or keyboard height isn’t right, it can lead to awkward arm positioning and increased strain.
Overuse: Working long hours without breaks or frequently performing tasks that involve gripping and lifting can lead to overuse injuries, contributing to elbow pain.
Nerve Compression: Prolonged periods of bending the elbows can compress the ulnar nerve, leading to cubital tunnel syndrome, which can cause pain and tingling in the forearm and hand.
Stress and Tension: Stress can cause muscle tension, which may exacerbate existing elbow pain or trigger discomfort in the first place.
What can we do to help?
Our Osteopaths will be able to help you find relief from your elbow pain. Osteopathy is a holistic approach to healthcare that focuses on the body’s musculoskeletal system and aims to improve overall health and well-being. Here’s how:
Assessment and Diagnosis: We will start by thoroughly assessing your condition. We’ll ask you about your symptoms, examine your elbow (and other parts of the upper limb and spine), and possibly perform tests to pinpoint the source of your pain. This diagnostic process helps tailor the treatment plan to your specific needs.
Manual Techniques: Osteopaths use a variety of manual techniques to treat musculoskeletal issues. For elbow pain, they may use techniques like soft tissue manipulation, myofascial release, or joint mobilization to alleviate tension, improve circulation, and promote healing.
Ergonomic Advice: Osteopaths often provide advice on ergonomics. We can help you set up your workstation correctly to reduce strain on your elbows and prevent future issues. Even small changes can make a big difference – not surprising when you think about how many hours a day you probably spend stuck at your desk!
Exercise and Rehabilitation: We may recommend specific exercises to strengthen the muscles around the elbow and shoulder joint (interesting point – elbow pain is often predisposed by an issue in the neck and shoulder!). These exercises can improve stability and support your recovery.
Preventive Care: Osteopaths don’t just focus on treating the current issue; we also emphasize preventive care. We’ll work with you to develop strategies to reduce the risk of future elbow problems.
Remember that each person’s experience with elbow pain is unique, so we will tailor our approach to your individual needs. The goal is not just to provide relief but to promote long-term healing and well-being.
Can Osteopathy help elbow pain?
In conclusion, if you’re an office worker dealing with elbow pain, don’t suffer in silence. Call us for an appointment instead and let’s work to get you feeling better. Your elbows work hard to support your daily tasks, so let’s give them the care and attention they deserve to keep you comfortable and pain-free at work.
We hope you found this information helpful. If you’re interested in learning more about your musculoskeletal system, you can follow us on Facebook at Beachealth or Instagram at Beachintegrated.
When Your Hands Demand Relief from an Osteopath’s Touch:
This month we’re focussing on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and what our Osteopaths can do to help.
So, you’re experiencing tingling, numbness, or pain in your hands and wrists. You might be afflicted with that bothersome condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Whether you spend long hours typing away at a keyboard, using power tools, or engaging in repetitive hand movements, CTS can seriously impact your daily life. But fear not! We’ve got the information you need to understand and alleviate your carpal tunnel woes.
Understanding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Imagine your wrist as a busy highway, bustling with nerves, tendons, and blood vessels, all passing through a narrow tunnel. This (carpal) tunnel is formed by bones, ligaments, and connective tissue. Within this confined space, the median nerve, responsible for providing sensation and controlling certain muscles in your hand, can become compressed or irritated leading to carpal tunnel syndrome. Now, let’s unravel the science behind the scenes. Brace yourself for some jargon. Here are the key players:
Ligament and Tendon Tales:
Introducing the transverse carpal ligament—the bodyguard of the carpal tunnel. In folks with CTS, this ligament may decide to thicken or lose its stretchiness, becoming a bit of a buzzkill. The narrowing of this tunnel puts pressure on the median nerve, leading to those pesky symptoms.
Nerve Slippin’ and Slidin’:
In a perfectly functioning wrist, the median nerve glides effortlessly within the carpal tunnel. But in CTS, the nerve can get a little stuck due to changes in the surrounding tissues. Think of it like a stuck zipper — annoying, right? This restricted nerve movement only adds fuel to the CTS fire.
Ah, inflammation—the not-so-welcome guest at the CTS party. When things get swollen in an already narrow tunnel, the space inside the tunnel gets even tighter. And you guessed it —more pressure on the median nerve means more discomfort for you.
Why do I have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Here are a few of the usual suspects.
- Repetitive Hand Movements: Engaging in repetitive tasks that involve forceful or prolonged hand movements, such as typing, assembly line work, or playing musical instruments, can increase the risk of developing CTS.
- Wrist Alignment: Certain anatomical factors, such as a naturally smaller carpal tunnel or an altered wrist alignment due to injury or arthritis, can make the median nerve more susceptible to compression.
- Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations, particularly during pregnancy or menopause, can cause swelling and fluid retention, which may contribute to the development of CTS.
- Medical Conditions: Certain underlying medical conditions like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid disorders, or obesity can increase the likelihood of experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Our Osteopaths will help you get to the bottom of it.
Osteopathy and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
So now that we understand the condition and its causes a bit better, let’s talk about how we can help you.
Manual Therapy Techniques:
Osteopaths employ a variety of manual therapy techniques to address the underlying causes of carpal tunnel syndrome. They may use gentle manipulations, joint mobilizations, or soft tissue techniques to reduce restrictions in the wrist, hand, forearm, and surrounding areas. By restoring proper alignment and enhancing blood flow, these techniques aim to alleviate pressure on the median nerve and reduce inflammation.
In addition to hands-on treatments, your Osteopath may prescribe specific exercises to strengthen the muscles in your hands, wrists, and forearms, promoting stability and support for the carpal tunnel. Additionally, stretching exercises may be prescribed to improve flexibility and alleviate tension in the surrounding structures. Both the stretches and the strengthening exercises will enhance circulation to the area, which brings its own healing. Your Osteopath will guide you through proper technique and advise on the frequency and duration of the exercises.
Ergonomic and Lifestyle Advice:
To address the root causes of carpal tunnel syndrome, the Osteopaths at our clinic will also provide valuable guidance on ergonomic modifications and lifestyle adjustments. They may recommend optimizing your work or home environment by using ergonomic keyboards, wrist supports and proper chair and desk height. They might recommend modifications to the tools you use. These adjustments will help prevent future flare-ups, so we hope you make them permanent even after symptoms subside.
Your hands are incredible instruments, capable of so much, so don’t let carpal tunnel syndrome hold you back. We’ll work with you to get you feeling and moving better.
Ouch! So, you missed your footing on the stairs and fell. You landed badly, twisting your ankle in a funny direction. It could have been worse of course, but it’s still not great. It’s time to call your Osteopath.
What Is a Medial Ankle Sprain?
When your foot rolled, it stretched or even tore the ligaments holding your ankle together. A medial ankle sprain is an injury to the ligaments on the inside of the ankle. Ligaments, by the way, are tough bands of tissue that connect bones to each other. They help to stabilize joints and prevent them from moving too far out of place. Medial ankle sprains are less common than lateral ankle sprains, which occur on the outside. This is because the deltoid ligament which runs along the inside is particularly strong. Not only does the strength of the deltoid ligament make a roll outward (called an eversion) less likely than an inward roll (called an inversion), but it makes injury less likely. However, if the twist, trip, or direct blow is bad enough, even the deltoid ligament can tear.
Symptoms of a medial ankle sprain may include:
- Pain on the inside of the ankle
- Difficulty walking or putting weight on the affected foot.
How Do I Treat It?
The treatment for a medial ankle sprain will depend on the severity of the injury. At first, you must apply the RICE protocol: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. We know you’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating. You must keep your weight off the injured foot for a time – skipping this step or attempting to fast-forward through it could seriously impact your healing. What does Ice mean – it means ice it for twenty minutes every two to three hours (and yes to all the smartie-pants out there – you can have a break while you sleep!) Wrap your ankle in a compression bandage and prop it up above your heart level. RICE is generally considered effective for up to three days, but don’t hang about. Remember to get in and visit your Osteopath early in the injury. We will work with you to promote healing, reduce pain, reclaim your ankle’s range of motion (preventing it from stiffening up as it heals) and strengthen the muscles around the ankle to stabilize and support it. It’s essential that we do this as, left untreated, your injury could lead to chronic pain, instability and recurring injuries.
The good news is that ligaments can heal. They just heal a little slower than muscles. Crucially, they need to bear a little weight to do that and exercise stimulates growth and healing. Your Osteopath will be able to prescribe the right exercises for you along with performing manual manipulations to make those exercises more possible.
Every injury is different, but your exercise regime will likely include stretches and strength training for the leg muscles, ankle mobility exercises, and progressive balance exercises.
Getting Back to Normal
The bad news is that a history of ankle sprains is one of the greatest predictors of future ankle sprains. The good news is that your Osteopath can advise you on ways to make that less likely – from exercises for strength, balance and proprioception to advice on strapping your ankle and footwear. Our Osteopaths are here to help!
You know how there’s always a scene in horror movies where a creaking floorboard is the scariest thing? For a lot of people, the floorboard is probably unnecessary, but the weird noises coming from their knees, necks, shoulders, and fingers would do the job. But what are these noises? Why do joints make grinding, clicking and popping sounds? And, the most important question our patients ask us, is it something to worry about? Our answer assumes you’re not aiming for a stealthy getaway from the Boogie Man! Let’s first try to understand what’s happening in your body.
What is Causing the Noises Anyway?
A few different things could be happening.
· A tendon or ligament might be snapping over a bony bump.
· A ligament might tighten with movement causing a bit of a click or creak.
· Air bubbles inside the joint can pop. (The famous noise of cracking your fingers.)
· Muscle tightness (particularly around the neck) might cause it to grind with movement.
· Cartilage may have worn away, meaning the bones can no longer glide against each other smoothly.
When should I be concerned?
Now a few little pops especially after you’ve been very sedentary for a while are no big deal. The working theory is that that’s just bubbles in your synovial fluid responding to a sudden movement. (And there’s really no evidence after studying habitual finger crackers for years that these little pops might lead to arthritis later in life.) But other grinding noises and cracking noises can be a problem. These sounds are called ‘crepitus’ and indicate things are out of balance. Cartilage may have deteriorated. Unfortunately, there is a correlation between these sounds and osteoarthritis later in life. A lower-pitched clunking sound, followed by a reduction in your range of motion is also a cause for concern. Your body is letting you know something’s out of balance and likely to lead to further problems if ignored. And of course if the noise comes with pain you need to take action.
What can be done?
Call or email us at BeacHealth to make an appointment. Your Osteopath can diagnose the nature of the noise and it’s causes. Osteopathic manipulation may bring pain relief as well. It will also get your body into better alignment so that your muscular system better supports the joint in its ideal position. Your Osteopath will also work with you to find an exercise program that works for you with your current pain levels and abilities to build a stronger more stable body to support your joints. In the meantime, keep moving gently. Motion is lotion! If you keep moving your joints, you keep healing fluids moving through them. We look forward to working with you towards your health goals.