Max, a 42 year old man presented to our office with a 6 month history of lateral right elbow pain. This gentleman painted houses for a living and the ongoing work had continued to aggravate the pain.
At the point that he came in to our office, the pain had significantly affected his work and was causing him to lose sleep at night. He had no history of the same complaint and no other complicating medical conditions.
Examination revealed that the associated forearm muscles (wrist extensors) had become tight and shortened over time.
A significant trigger point was located in the belly of the Extensor Digitorum Muscle, which was notably tender to palpation. The bony prominence on the lateral elbow, where the extensor muscles originated, was extremely tender to palpation.
Shortening of the forearm extensor muscles is a common finding with Lateral Epicondylitis. As the muscle belly shortens, more stress is placed on the muscle tendon, particularly where the tendon inserts into the bone. This constant stress and tension sets the stage for tendonitis. Treating the tendonitis directly is very helpful for quick pain relief. However, if the shortened forearm extensor muscles (the underlying cause) are not addressed, the problem will either not resolve, or become recurrent.
Our staff treated the tendonitis with ultrasound therapy and a pain relieving medical compound. We also performed trigger point injections and muscle release techniques to the tight and shortened muscles and prescribed a specific stretch to be performed throughout the day. Max never stopped working and was pain free within 4 weeks.