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A Patient's Guide to Elbow Pain

At Kleefeld Chiropractic patients often present with elbow pain.  At first, the elbow seems like a simple hinge.  However, when the complexity of the interaction between the elbow, forearm and wrist is understood, it is easy to see why the elbow can cause problems when it is not functioning correctly.


The 3 bones that make up the elbow joint are braced by several important ligaments to form a joint capsule.  The large muscles allow the arm to flex and extend, supinate and pronate.  The smaller muscles of the forearm allow the wrist to bend and fingers to flex and extend.


After history taking Dr. Kleefeld recommends that an examination of the elbow includes an inspection for any swelling, deformity or redness.  Joint range of motion is then tested for any limitation and reproduction of pain.  Most importantly, the muscles and ligaments are tested for tenderness, reproduction of pain and limitation.  X-rays are sometimes necessary to establish diagnosis.

man with elbow pain


At Kleefeld Chiropractic treatment is "diagnosis specific" and ranges from simple homecare measures to active treatment with joint mobilization and passive physical therapy modalities to orthopedic referral and surgery. 

Absent any contraindications, Dr. Kleefeld recommends that the first line of treatment be conservative and would typically include a combination of the following:

  • Spinal manipulation of involved joint dysfunction to restore normal motion
  • Ultrasound to reduce inflammation and minimize adhesions
  • Interferential current to reduce muscle spasm, swelling and pain
  • Massage therapy if painful trigger points are evidenced on examination
  • Customized exercise program as recovery allows
  • Homecare measures such as ice and heat as indicated
  • Medication management
  • Activity modification initially as pain parameters allow
  • Normalization of activities of daily living as pain complaints settle.
  • Specialty consultation and x-rays if symptoms persist.

Should you require any additional information, contact Dr. Kleefeld at 530-722-9010! 

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