Left Elbow Pain Lingers On…
If you have or currently are experiencing left elbow pain, then this article is for you. From someone who’s dealt with elbow discomfort for months, I understand what you’re going through. Check out this article for tips on dealing with left elbow pain.
Crash: Immediate Left Elbow Pain
It’s likely that you’re elbow issue didn’t just pop up without cause. For me, it was a gnarly bike accident. As soon as I hit the ground, bam! Sharp, shooting, pain down my left arm. I knew something was terribly wrong. I laid there, pinned to the ground by my own bike, unable to move my left arm.
After struggling for what seemed like an eternity, I became still. I had to rest, regroup, and come up with a plan to get the bike off of me. OK, deep breath. Here I go… one, two, three!
It took all of my strength to use my right side to shimmy that bike off of me. But now, I was free. And now… I was keenly aware of my left elbow pain.
Surgery: More Issues with Pain
Once the road rash cleared, I was able to have surgery on my left elbow. Although I was terrified for the big day, everything went smoothly. I was sent home, on my way to deal with the left elbow pain from the procedure.
The first week consisted of long rests, prescription medication, ice packs, and coloring thank-you cards for everyone who was sending well wishes. Initially, my arm was numb more than anything else.
After the first week, the left elbow pain increased. In fact, it was as though I could feel deep inside of my arm. The incision site felt fiery; the pain was intense. I noticed an increase in my medication consumption. Tears flowed freely. I needed more and more help to do little things around the home.
Ten days in, the hard splint and ace bandages came off. The surgeon assessed the incision scar and sent me off to occupational therapy. It was time to get to work… I was to exercise the elbow, the one that was immobile for weeks.
Occupational Therapy: Left Elbow Pain Becomes Unbearable
I cried EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
Ask anyone close to me. It was rough. The pain in my left elbow was unbearable. Nothing was helping. Therapy was difficult… maybe even making things worse.
No, they told me. You have to move your arm. It’s crucial to do the therapeutic activities. If you don’t use it… you’ll lose it.
I tried my hardest. I sat in the occupational therapy (OT) office, three times a week, crying my eyes out. I went through the motions with blurred vision from the tears. My glasses fogged up often; the left elbow pain was excruciating. I kept at it… doing the hourly exercises at home and going to OT for weeks.
Could it Be Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?
I followed up again with my surgeon, who was very concerned and confused. He didn’t understand why I wasn’t farther along and why I needed so much pain medicine for my left elbow pain.
The surgeon sent me to an interventional pain specialist. I was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) and was scheduled for a round of seven weekly nerve block injections.
With time, the medicine I was prescribed for CRPS, the nerve blocks, and the continued OT sessions seemed to reduce some of my left elbow pain. However, my range of motion was still severely limited and my frustration level was high.
Holistic Modalities for Elbow Pain
As a board-certified holistic nurse and someone who enjoyed a life of holism, I decided to add healing practices to my daily routine. I figured I needed to complement the conventional treatments I was receiving for left elbow pain with holistic care.
Here’s a list of holistic practices that could ease left elbow pain:
- Journaling, writing, or keeping a diary (either print or digital)
- Crafting, such as knitting, coloring, painting, or collaging
- Meditating, praying, or reciting mantras
- Gentle movements, such as yoga, qigong, dancing, or walking
- Reading a spiritual or inspirational self-help book
- Listening to music, playing singing bowls, singing, or toning
- Energy therapies, such as reiki, healing touch, or therapeutic touch
- Going for a massage or spa day
- Using aromatherapy or essential oils
- Getting quality sleep and taking naps, resting when you need to
- Bringing beauty into your space, such as fresh cut flowers or floral arrangements
- Practicing tapping, an emotional freedom technique
- Going to acupuncture
- Eating whole foods aimed at reducing inflammation
- Setting intentions and loving kindness self-talk
- Spending time outside in nature
Goodness, there are so many options! I definitely tapped into at least a dozen of the holistic remedies above in order to ease my left elbow pain.
Now, am I saying that the above list took the pain completely away? Sometimes, not all of the time.
The above list of holistic modalities are suggestions to support you in healing your whole person. Often when we have issues on the physical level that we can see, feel, or touch, these ailments are more than meets the eye. Yes, I understand the main problem is the left elbow pain. However, we are dynamic human beings whose mind, body, spirit is interconnected. Pain in one aspect of our lives likely ripples out to other areas. In order to address pain, we need to pay attention to our whole being.
And… another caveat. These holistic remedies are not to take away from your conventional care. Keep appointments with providers. Take medication, as it is prescribed to you. Go to physical or occupational therapy, as needed.
Use the holistic care list above to complement the care that you’re already receiving. When you partner your treatment plan with holistic healing, you’re likely to get ahead of your left elbow pain.
Ready to heal after elbow surgery? Check us out and come join us!
About the Author: Elizabeth Scala MSN/MBA, RN, HNB-BC 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 also a certified coach and Reiki Master Teacher. Elizabeth lives in Maryland with her supportive husband and playful pit bull.