Have you been hitting the gym hard lately, particularly working the upper body? Lots of biceps and triceps work? If you have been, then it is likely that you’re experiencing a little bit of elbow. It’s an inevitable part of working your arm muscles, and it isn’t fun. Particularly when you get back to the gym for the first time in a while and go hard on your biceps, just wait a couple days and you’ll find that you can hardly straighten your elbow.
It’s never any fun, and it’s just part of being active. Fortunately, there is some relief for that pain.
Eliminating Elbow Pain After Lifting
Heavy weight lifting, or any kind of resistance training, puts an enormous amount of stress on your joints. This is especially true when it comes to your elbows, as they are engaged in all upper body exercises. Pushing a weight off your chest in a bench press puts a strain on them in an outward motion, while bicep curls or pull-ups put stress on them in the other direction.
“Tennis elbow” isn’t just a thing for tennis players, as it can affect all athletes and weightlifters of any type. The name “tennis elbow” comes because it commonly occurs to individuals in that sport, but it really can affect anyone who puts a lot of use in that particular joint. This condition is known as RPI, short for repetitive strain injury, and occurs from exhaustion and irritation of the muscles and tendons on the arm.
How to Treat It
The first thing you want to want to do is to get some rest. Your muscles and tendons are inflamed and putting more strain on them isn’t going to them any more good. Take a few days off from doing upper body work until your elbow is back to normal, otherwise, you’re just setting yourself back for a longer recovery period.
Another thing you can do is apply heat to the area. This increases blood flow to the area, and this increase in circulation can help to break up adhesions, remove scar tissue from the injured muscles and tendons, and can also reduce the chances that you’ll go through muscle spasms during this injury.
Who doesn’t love a good massage? You don’t need to go to a full-on massage specialist for this, rather you can just rub the tender area yourself. Doing this after you apply heat is best, as it helps to further increase circulation to the area and work out any kinks that are interrupting blood flow. Do this three times per day for around 5 to 10 minutes until your elbow is back to normal.
Stretching is a good idea in general, but it is especially helpful when trying to get rid of an injury. Stretching can reduce the likelihood of muscle spasms, wake up the nerves in the area, make the muscles more elastic, and decrease the risk of injury.
After you’ve done all of the above, ice the area with a cold compress to reduce swelling and inflammation in the area. It can also help to numb the area temporarily if the pain is getting to you that badly. Do not apply ice for more than 15 minutes at a time.
Related reading: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain