Sore Elbow Got You Down?
If you’re troubled with a sore elbow, this article is for you. Living with elbow pain, especially at night, can be frustrating. Here are some holistic options for easing sore elbow pain.
Sleepless Nights… Go Away Sore Elbow!
Sleep is so important. Getting a good night’s rest is necessary for overall health. If you’re tossing and turning, because of a sore elbow, you’re at an increased risk for additional issues.
Lack of sleep can cause a weakened immunity. If you’re up most nights, your body will have a difficult time fighting off viruses.
Not getting enough sleep might make your sore elbow worse. People who struggle to rest are at an increased risk of accidents. You may experience problems with balance or coordination. Your chances of falling and re-injuring your elbow are higher if you’re not getting proper rest.
And, I don’t know about you, but getting comfortable in the bed can become tricky. If you’re battling a sore elbow, you may find that you’re unable to settle into a relaxed position. It’s happened to me many times… I get all set in my bed, ready to fall asleep. Then, suddenly, my sore elbow irritates me, causing me to toss and turn. Rolling around in bed all night, trying to find comfort, can definitely affect your moods throughout the day.
Living with a Sore Elbow: Holistic Remedies Could Help
No matter the reason your elbow is sore, you’re probably sick of it and searching for help. Trust me, living with a sore elbow can become a pain in the butt!
After fracturing my elbow, repairing the bones with elbow surgery, and suffering through numerous complications – I understand your pain. Literally.
I’ve also been diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) in the elbow. I was prescribed the highest amount of nerve medications that are safely allowed. I went through several rounds of nerve block injections. And, despite these conventional treatments, I’m still living with a sore elbow.
Disclaimer: Holistic remedies are NOT to take the place of prescribed medications or treatments. If you’re under the care of a surgeon, pain specialist, occupational or physical therapist, or any other care provider – continue to follow the ordered treatment. Holistic care is complementary to prescribed treatments. Meaning, you can add holistic support to your already prescribed regimen.
Holistic Options for Sore Elbows
1) Medical Cannabis
Now, before you stop reading, hear me out. As a board-certified holistic nurse, who was working in the hospital setting at the time of injury, I wasn’t keen on medical cannabis. I was worried about drug testing and the stigma that comes with cannabis use.
Well, after my accident and complicated healing journey, I’d try anything to comfort this sore elbow of mine. So, I did some research, met with a nurse practitioner, and learned more about medical cannabis.
After obtaining my medical card, I went timidly to the medical dispensary. Thankfully, the dispensary agent who waited on me had loads of experience with surgery rehabilitation and chronic pain. She listened to me as I explained my lack of sleep and sore elbow issues.
The dispensary agent recommended a gentle entry into medical cannabis. She suggested a topical agent. I could rub the cannabis lotion onto my sore elbow, providing relief from pain. I was grateful and also pretty excited. My occupational therapist (OT) had also recommended that I rub lotion over my biceps, triceps, forearm, and elbow. Now, I was able to double the benefits of this prescription. Rubbing lotion, as my OT recommended, and using medical cannabis for added relief. Win-win!
Some holistic remedies aren’t placed right onto the sore elbow. However, their use and benefits can be supportive in elbow care.
In the evenings, when elbow pain can increase after a busy day, you might consider essential oils. Essential oils can be soothing, putting you into a more relaxed state of mind.
In fact, here’s another way to double-dip into the benefits. You may consider adding gentle music or nature sounds. Sit back, light a diffuser with essential oils, and relax into the moment of healing.
Sure, you’re not putting something directly on the arm. However, the benefits of relaxation can reduce sore elbow pain. And, if you’d like to add something topical to this “spa” treatment, you might place a heating pad onto the sore elbow.
Now you’ve got sound, smell, and touch. Three sensations to ease sore elbow pain!
3) Loving Kindness
When my OT instructed me to rub lotion onto my elbow and surrounding arm, she suggested that I also talk kindly to my elbow. Now, most people might find this practice a bit loony, but not me! Remember, I’m a holistic nurse. I’ve seen it all!
So, I’d set myself up with my relaxing music, cannabis lotion, and prepare to rub down my sore elbow. Well, another remedy I’d add to the practice was a loving kindness mantra.
Over and over, I’d say to my elbow, “May you feel healthy. May you be at peace. May you live free from pain and suffering.” I’d also talk directly to my muscles, saying, “OK, beautiful bicep, it’s your time to shine. Grow long and strong. You’re healing wonderfully. May you be fully well.”
Of course, you could use whatever words feel right to you. The point is that you’re talking to your elbow and telling it how wonderful it truly is. The body is an amazing thing. Give it gentle and kind attention and it will begin to heal from the inside out.
4) Gentle Movement
Now, I know it may be painful to move a sore elbow, but you gotta move it. When I was in active recovery from elbow surgery, I was told over and over again, “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.”
Gosh, I didn’t want to lose use of my elbow joint!
So, a bit of gentle moving and stretching does a sore elbow good. I’m not talking strenuous bicep curls or bench presses. Just some flow and fluid movements.
You might consider taking a brisk walk. Think about it… when you’re walking, you’re swinging your arms back and forth. A great way to get the sore elbow moving.
Another option could be qigong. My qigong instructor would start the class by talking about waking up the joints. He would bring up the analogy of the Wizard of Oz movie and the Tin Man character. He’d say, as we flowed through the warmup movements, “Think about a garden hose… you turn the water on and nothing comes out… what do you think to yourself… hmm, I got a kink in my hose… you find the kink and work it out… water flows.” Same thing with a sore elbow. You gotta wake it up and get the kinks out.
Or, you could try gentle yoga practice. Yoga is another holistic option for healing a sore elbow. The stretching supports the muscles, joints, and bones. By allowing yourself to breathe into the postures, you can slowly wake up the energy inside the body and invite the healing to happen.
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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.