Home Remedies for Elbow Pain
If you’re someone who’s suffered an elbow injury and are recovering from the accident, here are some home remedies for elbow pain.
Elbow Surgery is No Joke
One summer, I took my bike out for a quick ride. Or, so I thought. I made it only a quarter of a mile when CRASH!
I flew over the handlebars, smashing my elbow into the pavement.
I was told I needed surgery. I was informed of the risks and benefits regarding the procedure. I was instructed how to prepare, the night before surgery. I was ordered medications and advised how to care for my elbow right after the surgery.
But guess what?
Nobody spoke to me about a timeline. Nobody explained how long recovery could be.
Nope. I was in the dark. And unfortunately… because I wasn’t informed about the surgery recovery timeline… I experienced numerous shocks along the way.
Complications After Elbow Surgery: Need for Home Remedies for Elbow Pain
Well, eventually I found out that having elbow surgery isn’t a “small” thing. In fact, every time I told someone new about the fact that I had had elbow surgery, they’d come back with a story about someone that they knew who had elbow surgery and how long it took them to recover.
“It took my husband close to two years to really get back to where he was before the surgery…” my coworker told me.
“I’ve dealt with this for years. Still having flareups from time to time…” my husband came home from work, sharing a story one of his clients had told him that day.
The people came out of the woodwork… telling me that it would take six months, a year, two years, maybe more… to recover from elbow surgery.
And guess what?
There’s also a chance that complications develop after elbow surgery. You name it… I’ve had it…
Complications could include things like complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) in the elbow. Or, spastic muscles that are overactive and cannot relax. How about nerve issues? Increased pain? Stiffness, soreness, unable to move the elbow. It’s just plain stuck!
I had had it. I was over this elbow issue and needing to find home remedies for elbow pain. What was I to do?
Home Remedies for Elbow Pain: Holistic Nursing to the Rescue
My elbow wouldn’t move. It remained stuck, despite months of occupational therapy (OT) and 15 nerve block injections.
I was sick of appointments. I was tired of carting myself around, all over town being sent to another specialist or referral. I felt frustrated by the lack of results and was over my entire elbow situation.
Good news… I’m a board-certified holistic nurse! I know that something in my holistic bag of tricks will allow me to find home remedies for elbow pain.
Thank goodness… I found some!
Here Are Some Home Remedies for Elbow Pain
Disclaimer: Before we cover the home remedies for elbow pain, remember… if you are under the care of a health care provider, continue whatever treatment regimen that they have ordered for you. That being said… let’s review some other ideas…
Of course, you likely have heard of applying ice packs. Alternatively, someone on your treatment team may have also told you about heating pads for pain. But, let’s be honest… sometimes this stuff even starts to feel “medical”. And when that happens, we are likely to somehow forget that ice or heat can help us. Here’s a fun twist on this home remedy for elbow pain.
Make your own cooling or heating packs! If you’re into sewing (or know someone who is), you might consider crafting your own heating pad. All you need is some rice, thread, and fabric. You stuff the uncooked rice into the fabric and sew it up into your very own heating or cooling pack.
Pro tip: You might also consider adding an essential oil to the fabric. This way, not only do you have a heating or cooling pad… you have one that also provides you aromatherapy benefits. How’s that for home remedies for elbow pain!?
You may notice that certain situations or positions cause increased elbow pain. Well, once you notice that then you have to do something about it. Cause if you don’t… you’ll likely find yourself in even more pain… having had to go through the experience without a plan.
I found that propping my arm up on a few pillows eased my elbow pain. So, I got smart. I made sure that I had a few small throw pillows, strategically placed around my house (and vehicles). Elbow pains can be much, much worse on long road trips. So, even keeping a throw pillow in my husband’s truck made sure that I didn’t hurt on every bounce or turn.
Pro tip: What about the bedroom? Do you have enough pillows to ensure that your arm doesn’t hurt during the night? You may think this sounds nuts… but I have made my sleeping place to the point of perfection. I have SIX pillows strategically placed all around my body. This way, no matter what position I find myself sleeping in, I have pillows to prop my elbow up on. You gotta get a good night’s sleep… especially if you’re dealing with chronic pain.
Has anyone on your care team asked you to keep a pain log? If so, you may be groaning by now. Yes, pain logs are amazing home remedies for elbow pain. So, now you’re thinking…
Wait, what!?!? How is a pain log going to help my pain?
If you don’t log it, you don’t know.
You might be saying that you’re in pain. Yes, you might even be feeling pain. Yes, you are. I know that you are and I understand what you’re feeling. As a person with chronic pain, I get it.
And, at this point, how is the pain? Truly, really, definitely… how is the pain?
Keeping a log helps your care team, however, most importantly, it helps you! That’s right. A pain log can be super helpful for you.
First, you can literally find patterns. You can observe when the pain is worse and prepare ahead of time. Like the car ride suggestion above… because of my pain logging, I knew that riding in my husband’s truck set my pain off. So, I knew ahead of time to put a pillow there. If I didn’t have my pain log data, I might not have known that.
Keeping a pain log helps you notice patterns so that you can be prepared. It also helps you see if the pain is improving. Sometimes, we keep on talking about the pain because we’re asked at doctor’s appointments. When really… when did we stop and pause to see if the pain was better or worse? Again, a pain log can help you notice if you’re improving. Then, you’ll have something wonderful to celebrate!
With the pain log, you can bring factual data to follow-up appointments. You can literally open the pain log during a doctor’s visit and review the notes with your physician. Makes for a much richer discussion than just giving a number on a pain rating score.
Essential oils have loads of healing qualities. There are oils for relaxation and oils for energizing. Integrating aromatherapy into your space is another fantastic home remedy for elbow pain.
There are beautiful ceramic essential oil diffusers that you can get. Essentially, it’s a tool to place your essential oils in. Then, you light a candle under the liquid mixture (water with essential oil drops). Once the candle heats the liquid, it diffuses beautiful scents into your living space.
Pain is a multifaceted issue. It can hurt you physically, but the pain can get so bad or stay with you so long that it starts to impact you mentally and emotionally.
Well, aromatherapies aren’t home remedies that are going to take away physical elbow pain. At least, not that I know of. However, the rejuvenating oils can be used to calm the mind and lift the mood.
Be Aware of Intake
You may find home remedies for elbow pain right in your kitchen. No, we’re not talking booze it up until you pass out. Sure, that might take away the elbow pain for that night… but it’ll definitely leave you feeling worse in the morning.
So, sometimes elbow pain can be caused by or be associated with inflammation. If that’s the case, then finding foods and drinks that decrease inflammation might be helpful for you.
Berries, fresh fish, avocado, nuts, seeds, mushrooms, pineapple, turmeric, and broccoli are just some examples of items that reduce inflammation. I know, after my elbow surgery, I was very aware of my intake. I wanted to be sure that I did everything I could to reduce the swelling.
Look around! You might already have home remedies for elbow pain in your kitchen!!
Ready to heal after elbow surgery? Check us out and come join us!
About the Author: Elizabeth Scala MSN/MBA, RN, HNB-BC, RYT (200) is a board-certified holistic nurse, registered yoga instructor, and reiki master.
Elizabeth received her dual master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is a certified coach and avid meditator.
Elizabeth lives in Maryland with her supportive husband and playful pit bull. She enjoys gardening, jigsaw puzzles, farming, music, and hiking.