Muscle attachments at the elbow can be irritated by the unrelieved tension that trigger points in the muscle and tension in the fascia produce in muscles. This can be the direct cause of any inflammation and degenerative changes that develop in the elbow. DMR therapy® is the most appropriate treatment, because it goes to the source of the trouble.
In the traditional medical view, golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis) and tennis elbow and are forms of tendinitis. The presumption is that the tendons around your elbow have suffered microscopic tears through injury or overuse. Unfortunately, the term “tendinitis” has become a virtual synonym for pain. Even an official medical diagnosis of tennitis or epicondylitis is often based on no more evidence than your statement that your elbow hurts.
This explanation is disputed by Doctors Janet Travell and David Simons in their acclaimed medical textbook, Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual. Extensive research by Travell and Simons has shown that myofascial trigger points (tiny contraction knots) in overworked or traumatized muscles of the forearm and scapula, not tendinitis, are the primary cause of pain in the elbow.
The usual prescriptions for golfer’s elbow include anti-inflammatory medications, painkillers, steroid shots, electro-stimulation, stretching exercises, and rest. These treatments fail, however, when trigger points are the cause of the problem, because trigger points need to be addressed directly and specifically.
Rest or an elbow splint is often recommended for golfer’s elbow, but it’s not the best therapy when trigger points are the cause of the pain. Rest may lull trigger points into a quiet, latent state, but it doesn’t eliminate them. When you resume activities that caused the golfer’s elbow in the first place, the pain returns.
On the other hand, activity can be just as bad for golfer’s elbow if it involves overuse of the arms, hands, and fingers. Physical therapy, when it prescribes exercising and stretching, can also have negative effects. Conventional stretching tends to irritate trigger points and can very quickly make your pain worse. Stretching can help, but only after the trigger points have been eliminated.
A painful elbow can also appear to be weak, but exercising for the purpose of strengthening it is not only ineffective, but unnecessary. Myofascial trigger points temporarily weaken muscles that are associated with the elbow as a means of protection from further overuse or abuse. Full strength ordinarily returns with normal activity within a short time after trigger points are deactivated.
SEE ALSO: Tendonitis and Bursitis