Finding Relief from Painful Elbows
As someone who works at a computer all day, I frequently battle elbow pain and stiffness. My elbows ache after long hours typing, making simple tasks unpleasant. I resigned myself to living with sore elbows as an inevitable side effect of my job. Recently though, I came across some exercises and stretches that have transformed my tender elbows, providing true relief.
In an instructional video, a physical therapist shared how to "balance the muscles of your elbows that rotate your hand and making sure you have full extension and full flexion of the elbow joint". He recommended starting with wrist stretches - the "first thing I like to work on with people with elbow pain is balancing the external and internal rotation of the wrist". Gently twisting the wrist while providing resistance with the other hand can “help the elbow regain the balance it needs to get rid of the pain”. Though it seems simple, I found these twists strengthened my forearms and noticeably decreased elbow soreness.
Next, he suggested wringing out a towel. "We're going to take the towel and kind of ball it up and kind of roll it up nice and tight and then we're going to put our hands together with our Knuckles together like this." Twisting the towel as if ringing out water builds strength without overworking tender elbows. I do this exercise every few days.
In addition to strengthening moves, this therapist recommended two stretches to restore full mobility to stiff elbows. The first targets extension. Lying on your stomach, "I'm going to bring one knee up like this I'm going to put it behind my elbow and I'm going to pull my elbow back to try and straighten my arms." Gently pulling the elbow over the bent knee encourages the arm to fully extend.
For improving flexion, he guided watchers to "bring your elbow down by your hips by your ribs right and I'm going to put my palm toward the sky like this now what I'm going to do is I'm going to bring my shoulder as close to my elbow as possible and I'm going to roll over my elbow." Carefully rolling across the bent elbow creates space in the joint. This stretch was a bit uncomfortable for me, so I don't put much body weight on it - just enough to feel a gentle tug.
I'm amazed by how effectively these simple wrist twists, towel wrings, and elbow stretches have eased my elbow discomfort. No longer do I have to grit my teeth through the workday because of aching joints or limit my activity after hours. My elbows feel supple and pain-free thanks to adding these exercises into my daily routine. I encourage anyone with similar elbow trouble to give them a try.