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Elbow Pain

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is pain that persists. It can persist long after an injury has healed. This maybe due to:

  • Changes to the nervous system
  • Tightening of tissues
  • Stiffening of joints
  • Weakening of tissues
  • Mal-alignment of scar tissue formation during healing

Chronic back pain is a big problem in Britain and sometimes although treatment can reduce someone’s pain it may not erase it completely.

Coping with pain

  • Learn to accept the pain
  • Find out what works for you to reduce the pain and stick with it
  • Increase your fitness, many studies have found that this improves back pain
  • Set yourself realistic goals and stick to them - don’t let the pain get the better of you

Body Weight

  • The lower back is very strong, in fact 70% of your body weight goes down through your back
  • Excess weight only adds to the load going through your back and therefore increases the stress placed upon it. Therefore making you more likely to suffer from back pain
  • If you are overweight try to exercise and eat healthy foods e.g. cereals, vegetables, fish, white meats and lowering your intake of salts, sweets and fat. If you would like help to do this then get in contact with us on the forum

Pain Relief


  • Can help to reduce pain by promoting circulation and relaxation of muscles
  • You could try:
    • hot water bottles
    • heat pads
    • warm bath or shower
    • heat lamps
  • Caution - do not burn yourself, take care and check your skin every five minutes to make sure you are not burning
  • Never place a hot water bottle directly onto skin, wrap it in a towel
  • Never use heat and an ointment together
  • If you have decreased sensation to the area then do not use heat, as you will not know if you are burning yourself
  • Do not use heat over broken skin, if you have circulatory problems or if you are diabetic


  • Helps to improve circulation, reduce tension and encourage relaxation. It also helps to reduce pain via pain gating. This is when the brain prefers the sensation of touch to that of pain. This has the effect of blocking the pain signals as the brain accepts the touch signals first. Ever wondered why when you hurt yourself ‘rubbing it better’ actually works


  • Decreases inflammation and promotes circulatory changes
  • Very good for acute flare-ups
  • Caution - never apply ice directly to the skin as you can get ice burn
  • Wrap ice in a damp towel and then apply
  • Check the skin every five minutes
  • If you have decreased sensation to the area then do not use ice, as you will not know if you are burning yourself
  • Do not use ice over broken skin, if you have circulatory problems or if you are diabetic
  • Limit the use of ice to ten minutes at a time in a one-hour period, never use ice for more than fifteen minutes at any one time

Tens machine (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation)

  • Effective in 70% of cases
  • This is a small machine that passes small electrical pulses through the skin by means of small electrodes, giving a pins and needles type sensation
  • It too has the effect of pain gating, described earlier
  • The machines cost £40 - £100

Benefits of Exercise

  • Reduced joint stiffness
  • Improved joint health
  • Improved muscle flexibility
  • Improved muscle strength and endurance
  • Improved posture
  • Improved soft tissue conditioning
  • Releases endorphins
  • Reduces chronic pain
  • Improves cardiovascular fitness
  • Improves circulation of blood

I don’t do any exercise, how should I start off?

  • Start of gently and progress steadily. Starting off with high impact activity will damage deconditioned tissues
  • Go at a reasonable pace
  • If you experience excessive pain you have overdone it
  • However, don’t let discomfort be an excuse not to exercise. It is normal to experience a certain amount of discomfort when exercising
  • Hurt doesn’t always mean harm!

If you have any questions, please use the comment form below or post a thread on the forums.

— Phil @ 4:07 pm, November 6, 2006

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