Severe and debilitating pain in left elbow, doctors no help

by Brenda

Hi, I'm very excited about finding your page as it explains SO much that even the doctors haven't been able to explain. THANK YOU!!!Over a year ago my right elbow began to hurt for no reason. No injury, bumps, accidents, etc...but for what ever reason I couldn't lift 'anything' with my right arm...couldn't open a door without wincing and I couldn't sleep through the night without waking myself up with a half-scream...and that from just adjusting my pillow!!

I also could not straighten my arm completely to save my life. I went to the doctor and they ruled out tennis elbow, tendonitis, all that...they never really diagnosed me.

They gave me cortizone (sp?) shots, which did absolutely relief at all.

They did this three times before I refused the shot all together and begged them to figure out and fix what ever was wrong...the pain was just to much to bear.

They decided that I needed complete rest of the arm, so they put me in a removable cast...only to be taken off when I showered. Well, not being able to move it helped only because I couldn't 'move' it, after several months of this a whole new pain started on the inside of my elbow (they treated me as if I was crazy).

It turned out, after very painful nerve testing that I now had an entrapped nerve.

My belief is that because they put me in a cast and I couldn't move at all, the nerve was forced to just stay where it was and eventually became trapped, but what do I know?

They had to do surgery to release the nerve and that worked, but the pain never really went away and I still am unable to completely straighten that arm. (all this took an entire year).

HOWEVER, now and I don't know why because again, no injury, bumps or accidents...I woke up one day and my LEFT elbow was beginning to feel like my right elbow felt in the beginning.

It's been about 4 months and I have to tell's MUCH worse than the right was and I honestly don't know how much longer I can handle the pain.

I can not bend my elbow either up or down without severe pain...and when I DO bend it, it has to be very slowly...I mean VERY slowly. I have no pinching strength in my fingers and forget about trying to lift even a coffee mug...and sleeping, wow....what's THAT?!? :(

I began a new search on the internet to
attempt to figure this out and maybe get a little help in lessening the pain when I tripped over your page....and my God, I couldn't believe it!

I have yet to try your method as I just finished reading, but I have my sink filled with ice and water and will be dipping as much as possible today and for the next week to see if I can find even a little bit of relief.

I've lost my medical insurance, so I can't see a doctor...but past experience tells me that that won't help me much anyway.

I just wanted to pop in here and tell you what was happening with me and thank you for giving me something new to try...I will definitely be letting you know in a week or so how it's doing.

If it are a God-send!!

If you have any further suggestions, please let me know. I do have one question tho, and that is this: How is tendonitis/tennis elbow diagnosed?

After having x-rays and an MRI how come they rulled all that out and was never really able to tell me what was happening and why I had to live so long with such pain? I'm afraid to go to the doctors now because they either don't care, think I'm making it up or just simply can't figure it out, which means I just have to live with it...which is impossible. I'm just curious what your opinion is on this.

Again, thank you so much for your information and I will let you know what happens. lol.....somethings gotta work, right?

Thank you for your time,


OH, and real quick....the pain is on the outside of my elbow mostly, the bone even feels super bruised and very tender to the touch. When I try to straighten my arm the pain is on the top of my forearm AND behind my elbow. After having to live life and use my arm there is much pain on top of my forearm from my elbow to about the middle of my arm. I dunno if that's relevant, but there it is. :) Thanx a million!!

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Comments for Severe and debilitating pain in left elbow, doctors no help

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Aug 22, 2009
PART 2 - Severe and debilitating pain in left elbow, doctors no help
by: The Tendonitis Expert.

Wow Brenda, that's an interesting story/experience.

Mmmmm, doctors.....

Good new/bad news, looking at a bell curve, you're on the far side of it.

Doesn't sound like Tendonitis or Tennis Elbow per se, doesn't sound like anything obvious....

It's a mystery! Let's figure it out. (FYI, I LOVE this kind of mystery, so I'm hooked.)

It's great you're icing. Do it like your life depends on it this week, as often as you can, and let's see what happens. If it's really effective, that will give us information. If it's not, that will give us valuable information too.

More info for me.

1. Can you take a picture of your elbow, and mark the pain spots you describe in black marker, or some such, and post it on here?

Or describe in even greater detail, as possible?

2. Say more about 'no bumps, injuries, etc'. Go back 5+ years previous. Accidents, car accidents, falls, carrying babies and/or luggage, vaccinations, etc.

Injury anywhere on or to the body?

3. Any shocks to the system? Death in the family, get fired from job, etc.

4. Where -exactly- do you feel pain, and where do you feel it when you try to open a door/jar etc? Details, details.

5. Before the cast, why exactly couldn't you straighten your arm? Pain? Hard physical stop, or constrictive muscle/connective tissue?

6. Work or hobby wise, did you lean on your elbow a lot, for long periods of time?

I'll answer your diagnosis question and comment more on the doctors' failure to help you later, first things first. Answer the above questions, and we'll go from there.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

Mar 17, 2010
by: Rui

I have the same issue. I am a 40 year male in good health and for no reason -- no injury or shock -- my right elbow started to hurt really bad about 2 months ago.

The pain extends with or without movement to my upper right arm and more constantly to my middle right finger. My right hand always feel swollen and numb.

I have a terrible time bending my elbow in order to straighten my arm. My elbow has to be constantly in a 90 degree angle.

Talked to a orthopedic surgeon -- friend of mine -- and he states is "tennis elbow". Cannot be fixed and steroid shots will not help. He says ice and a arm brace?

Any help would be great. It is getting worse.

Thank you.



Joshua Comments:

Your doctor friend says Tennis Elbow can't be fixed?

What kind of BS is that?

And if it can't be fixed, why bother with ice and a brace?

With all due respect, your doctor friend shouldn't be seeing patients with Tennis Elbow symptoms.

It doesn't sound like Tennis Elbow anyway.

If nothing else, more like a Biceps Tendonitis issue.

All Tendonitis consists of muscle tightness, connective tissue constriction, and a Process of Inflammation.

If your tissue is so shrunk down that that it cutting off ciruclation to your lower arm, you gotta open that up.

1. See what happens if you take Magnesium for Tendonitis.

2. Get your Vitamin D level checked, and supplement to get your level up.

3. You gotta start stretching that out. The longer you keep it at 90 degrees, the more the structures anre going to shrink down to fit. (So don't put it in a brace in a 90 degree position!)

4. What happens if you ice dip for several days as directed on the How To Reduce Inflammation page, but increase the numbers?

Sep 11, 2010
hey, 16 and elbow is clicking
by: Ben

Hey i don't think its as serious as these peoples were. But 2 years ago my left elbow started to click and then I was at my cabin one weekend and i couldn't flex it i thought it was just stiff since i lifted a bunch of stuff the day before but it was over a month before i could flex it and it hurt. Now it hurts and pops whenever i flex it. i'm also 16.

I've also been to a doctor for this and the doctor didn't really say much. Also if it helps i was diagnosed with raynaud's syndrome last year.

Joshua Comments:

Hey Ben.

Let's hope it's a growing pains thing and that you'll grow out of it.

Other than that, I'd say that your muscles (whose tendons cross the elbow joint) are too tight, thus compressing the joint, and thus the elbow has to 'click' around hard bone instead of floating loosely across. Meaning, it's now grinding instead of gliding.

Start stretching and massaging your biceps and forearm, if it's tight, get it!

Sep 16, 2010
by: Ben

Yah i get it... Thanks

Apr 30, 2012
Left elbow for me
by: Anonymous

Hurts doing triceps and chest exercises at gym. This has been going on for about a month now... 35 year old male been lifting weights since I was 19.

I take my vitamins/supplements but prob don't stretch as much as I should. It's painful also if I bump my elbow against something... Feels bruised. But I can extend, curl etc with no pain....but when I add weight unless super light I feel the pain. Any suggestion? Ice? Rest? Stretch?


Joshua Comments:

Hi Anonymous.

Ice? Yes!

Rest? Not so much.

Stretch? Lightly and frequently, yes.

Read the pages that are linked to in the thread above.

This is a good thread too relevant to you: Help Identifying Inner Elbow Pain Can't Straighten Arm even though you can straighten the elbow.

Hmm. Although I should ask, when you add the weight, where do you feel the pain?

May 01, 2012
Left elbow
by: Anonymous

Same spot left outter elbow area, same that is sore.

I have also noticed tenderness on my left hand middle finger area.

Nov 10, 2012
OUCH! Can't even pick up a cup without pain
by: krists

I have the same issue in my right elbow...omg it hurts I can't even pick up a cup without pain. So I just need to ice it???

Has anyone found relief??


Joshua Comments:

Maybe you just need to ice it. Maybe you need to do more.

There's only one way to find out....get thee to an ice dip!

Jan 14, 2013
my symptoms exactly
by: Anonymous

the only thing different is about a year ago i fell from a truck onto my elbow i had to get shoulder surgery and it went good, i have some 'bone chips' in my elbow but they dont really bother me. about a week ago i started having the pain brenda from california described.

Mar 12, 2013
Excruciating elbow, arm,wrist pain
by: Naomi

Hi there, my story sounds very much like Brenda's. I just returned today from a nerve diagnostic test that proved this pain is not nerve related. The pain is on outside of my elbow and using my hand, twisting a handle, carrying a coffee cup causes unbelievable pain.

This would be my exact description of how it feels. Imagine an IV on the back of your forearm, right before the elbow bends, there's a large vain there, imagine an IV in there and every time you move your hand it pulls really hard causing the needle to pierce deeper. Extremely sharp pain. My wrists hurt. I cant even squeeze out a dishrag without excruciating pain in my elbow. Straitening my arm hurts the inside of my forearm and biceps.

Doctors are bewildered, they have no clue whatsoever. Sometimes both my forefingers and thumbs feel as if they have been hit with a hammer. It feels like nerve pain, but tests say differently. Can you help me figure this out please?

What happened with Brenda? did she solve this mystery?


Joshua Comments:

Hi Naomi.

I haven't heard back from Brenda here on the thread, so I just don't know, unfortunately.

Assuming you don't have any other health issues going on, my first thought is nutritional. Various nutritional insufficiency/deficiency causes nerve issues and/or what feels like nerve issues.

1. What's your vitamin D level?

2. How and what do you eat?

3. Do you have any other health issues large or small?

Mar 27, 2013
Elbow pain, one bone higher
by: Josh

My left elbow started hurting about two months ago. And the last two days has got really stiff. The pain is on the outside "pinky side" of my elbow. If I'm holding my arm straight and looking down on the outside of my elbow it is the little bone just above my elbow bone. It hurts to bend or straighten it but the pain stays only around that little bone. Compared to the bone on my right arm the bone on my left arm sticks up about a 1/4 inch higher. Someone told me it could be a pinched nerve but the pain is not radiating up or down my arm and R.I.C.E has not helped at all. Someone also told me I could have chipped that little bone. I do remember hitting my arm about 5 months ago but like I said this started hurting about two months ago. I'm lost! What do you think?


Joshua Comments:

Did you hit your elbow hard enough that you would have chipped bone?

What do you do with your hands/arms on a daily basis? Athletics? Computers? Etc.

Any other ache,pain, or tightness anywhere else?

Is your elbow 'subluxated' such that a trip to a chiropractice would be worth it? If only to see if it's something a chiro can help with. You've probably never looked at your elbows like that before, so we don't know if the one was 'higher' than the other one historically.

Mar 27, 2013
Elbow pain one bone higher
by: Josh

I didn't think I hit it hard enough to break anything, it only hurt for a hour or so, but that was 3 months before it really started hurting. On a daily basis I do construction work and I workout 4-5 days a week, and when I do pushups after about two sets it eases up a little then about ten minutes after working out its right back to being tight. I can straighten and bend it all the way its just tight, but when I make a fist in straight or bent position It hurts pretty bad like it could pop.

Also when I woke up this morning my arm was bent and when I went to straighten it really hurt then.


Joshua Comments:

Well, there's nothing obvious there, so -propbably- you knocked your elbow, a Process of Inflammation kicked in, which ramped up a Pain Causing Dynamic, that made locak muscle structures tight, which compressed the elbow joint, which inflames and irritates the joint, which makes it tight and hurt, which ramps up the pain causing dynamic....repeat.

As always, I'd start with learning How To Reduce Inflammation.

Apr 08, 2013
left elbow hurts but not when moving fingers
by: Kim F

About 3 weeks ago I woke up with terrible elbow pain. It's the outside of the elbow, just near the point. When it's stationary, bent or straight there is very little to no pain, but when I bend it or straighten it the action causes pain that ranges from a pinch to intense and sharp. I'm a fairly tough woman, don't complain about scrapes or bruises, am used to twisted ankles and the like but at its worst the elbow pain is simply something I can't take.

I didn't injure myself in anyway, but lately there has been a fair amount of stress.

It is slightly swollen, but not much. Flex my hand towards my body(like a bicep curl) is when the pain is worst. Moving my fingers or wrist cause no pain. All the pain is in the elbow region. Advil and icy-hot doesn't help at all.

What do you think it could be? I don't believe it's tennis elbow or a pinched nerve as I have no numbness and moving my fingers nor hand causes any pain.


Joshua Comments:

1. Do you sleep on that side?

2. Have you ever had this kind of pain before?

3. Any health issues?

4. Describe the pain and the location of the pain in greater detail.

Apr 08, 2013
OK same thing
by: Anonymous

As of about 4 hours ago my elbow feels like its broken. Hurts then I try and straighten it. I push around the end of the center of the elbow and its very tender. I have not done anything athletic in a week?? WTF?

Apr 09, 2013
left elbow cont
by: Kim F

I typically sleep on both my sides. Seems like it's more my right side I sleep on than my left though.
No, I never had this kind of pain in my elbow. I've had sore elbows for a day or two after massive exercise or unusual work, but this started after merely usualy work.
I do work a overnight retail job which includes lifting boxes, stocking shelves and hauling pallets with a jack- but Ive been doing this 6 years and the only that has ever been effected by my job is my feet(I have feet that overly supinate) and knees if I kneel too much.

The pain is located entirely on the outside of my left elbow, about 1 inch around the most focal point of the elbow. If the arm is set in the bicep curl stance the sharpest most tender area is just right of the point. The pain doesn't spread and doesn't effect any other part of my arm but is so intense I often use my right arm to move my left into position I need cause it causes less pain than bending it. (I am right handed if that's relevant)
I haven't any real health problems other than my bad feet. They cause me horrible pains, but that's because of how I walk.

Thanks for your help.


Joshua Comments:

1. If you work nights, then your 'natural cycle' of sleep is off, meaning, over time, your internal processes get 'off' and you don't recover/regenerate as well as you should and your cortisol levels and adrenal function can be poorly affected.

Not much you can do for that, other than bolster your body as best you can.

2. First I'd focus on nutrition. If your body doesn't have the building blocks it needs A. it can't work optimally, B. it can't recover optimally, C. it can't do a variety of things very well like reduce inflammation on it's own.

3. For instance, Inflammation Causes Vitamin B6 Deficiency

4. You may want to get my 'Reversing Wrist Tendonitis' OR my 'Reversing Bicep Tendonitis' ebook. Probably the Bicep one but I don't think it matters a whole lot as in your situation you can use what you learn on both sides of the elbow, as necessary, and the nutrition is covered in each.

5. If muscles are tight and locked tight then they're constantly compressing the elbow joint. Which irritates the elbow joint.

6. Is your elbow pain more of a joint/in the joint pain, or an outside/around the joint kind of pain?

Apr 10, 2013
left elbow cont
by: Kim F

it's more on the outside of the actual joint. It's not the bone itself that hurts either. It is the spot just right to the point. After icing it a couple days now and soaking it in hot bath it feels slightly better but simply is still to painful to move my arm certain ways.
I typically get enough sleep, and a later shift has always felt natural to me. I usually eat fairly healthy and take supplements(all of which have suffered a bit lately due to moving and complications.)
I have gotten back into that habit now.
Anything else you'd reccommend for treatment and is this a tendon problem?
Thanks again


Joshua Comments:

I don't know enough about it yet to know if it's specifically a tendon problem or not.

Having said that, it's never a 'tendon problem'. You might feel pain in/at a tendon, but that's just where you feel it, that's not the CAUSE of the pain.

So. That spot where it hurts.

1. Is it specifically a structure (the tendon, where a tendon attaches, where muscle turns to tendon, or is it a general area there on the joint such that if you press around everything hurts?

Is it a specific spot on the joint? In/on the hinge? Is it just the skin that hurts, or is it only under the skin that hurts, or both?

If it's actual tendon, can you follow it to the muscle that is attached to i?

Apr 15, 2013
same pains, broke arm at age 3 it wasn't set right
by: susie

I am experiencing the same pains in my right elbow. I was diagnosed about 9 years ago with tendonitis and carpal tunnel in both hands and wrists. I way a cosmetologist, which i don't practice anymore.

My tendonitis has seemed to get better over the years as the knot on m wrists finally went away. I always experience numbness and tingling in. My hands sometimes mild, sometimes severe, either way i have learned to cope with it. I did fall and break my arm when i was 3 and it way not set properly, so over the years my arm has from time to time became stuck at oh id say close to a 110 degree angle, and i have had to forcefully pop it for it to let loose. Make sense?

If i hold both arms out straight my left elbow "pit" stretches down to the inner right like it should be facing my right arm elbow "pit" however my right arm the one i broke as a child doesn't move much and approx. 90% of my elbow pit remains on the top part of my arm.

Irregardless, im 33 now and have never had this pain im feeling. Now, I don't quite understand. Yes i have kids 5 of them to be exact, lol but they aren't new, and nothing new has happened. No new injuries, added stress, none of that. Just regular movement, and all of a sudden i have no strength due to the pain.

The person that posted before me has the exact same symptoms as myself. Ice hasn't helped, ice/heat doesn't help either. .nor does any naprosyn or any type of pain relief.



Joshua Comments:

This thread will answer a lot of your questions/give you a lot of 'what to do'. Help Identifying Inner Elbow Pain Can't Straighten Arm

How much have you iced? How have you iced? Is your body nutritionally sufficient? What other self care do you do to keep your arm happy?

A poorly set break can certainly set you up for problems, but you should be able to make most if not all the pain go away.

Pain killers and Anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen are fine to get you through the day, but aren't viable long term options. And if they don't even work to get you through the day.....

Apr 22, 2013
left elbow feeling MUCH better now
by: Kim F

well after icing it everyday for a week for 20-25 minutes a day my arm got better. It has maybe 5% of the problem it had for those 4 weeks in a row. It was progressively getting worse but is about normal now.
Thanks alot! Wish all those with similar problems the best of luck.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Kim.

Ice dipping is GREAT at doing what ice dipping is great at!

Apr 22, 2013
Severe Elbow Pain Tendonitis & Stiffness, afraid I'll have to quit my job
by: Carolyn

I am desperately researching Elbow issues as my physician doesn't seem all that interested in helping me.

I am a legal admin assistant for the last 28 years which means lots of typing and phone use.

For a 46 year old woman who has always done whatever I wanted to physically, the last 5 years have not been kind to me.

I was diagnosed with arthritis affecting multiple large joints however it's still up in the air as to what type arthritis I have. I was also diagnosed with numerous other things affecting my spine.

I started having right elbow pain that has gradually worsened and in the past 2 months, severely worsened. I have been receiving injections in my elbow every 3 months but it only sooths for a few days to a week.

I take lots of medications for inflammation and pain but am highly sensitive and allergic to most overly prescribed pain medications which limits what I can take.

My physician diagnosed me with Tennis Elbow by pressing on my elbow area. I had one xray taken months ago and it showed NOTHING! I can no longer straighten my arm out all the way. The pain is excrutiating most of the time from AM to PM. I've tried an elbow brace, arm sling, rehab therapy including massage, TENS unit and nothing helps. I'm at my wits end and truly believe if this is not corrected soon or I find some sort of relief, I will be forced to leave my job of 7 years. It hurts that bad! And, I'm unable to type as fast as before or keep up.

My pain is mainly on the top exterior of the right elbow. If you straighten your arm, my worst pain is the bone area pointing up which attaches to the forearm and bicep. Again, it is the bony area and also between the bones and muscles.

I am desperate for any relief possible. Any idea if this really is tennis elbow or something else? I've had a history of widespread tumors (non-cancerous) being found throughout my body including near bones. Couldn't a tumor be seen in an xray? Thanks.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Carolyn.

Well, good news/bad news, the only reason you're still in pain etc is because you haven't done the right things to make the pain/problem go away.


May 07, 2013
Joshua Replies to Carolyn - Severe Elbow Pain Tendonitis & Stiffness, afraid I'll have to quit my job
by: The Tendonitis Expert


I suggest that you get Reversing Wrist Tendonitis ebook or The Tennis Elbow Treatment That Works DVD and companion ebook. There's a complete plan of attack.

Tendonitis pretty much doesn't show up on xrays. Tumor's may or may not, depending.

Here are some predictions:

1. Your Vitamin D level is low.

2. You could benefit greatly from increased Magnesium intake.

3. Combined with #1 and #2, you are some amount of gluten intolerant and it's catching up to you in the form of 'arthritis' symptoms.


A. What kind of tumors? Lipoma?

B. Have you Ice Dipped, as per learning How To Reduce Inflammation?

May 16, 2013
by: Kirsten

I have the same symptoms as Brenda. Last night, I tried a process my neighbor told me about years ago.
Which is 10 minutes ice, 10 minutes heat, 10 minutes ice, etc. Maybe three times max.
I guess it's like confusing the muscles.
I have only done it once, which I'm about to do again. Because BAM all of a sudden, very bad pain.
When my German Shepard was alive. One day, he was laying down at my feet. I was feeling squirrely and decided to bend down real fast and kiss him. Well, he must've been thinking the same thing, because as I went down, he decided to stand up real fast, and we crashed heads.
Wow, it hurt so bad, and got worse by the end of the night. I was thinking whiplash, I couldn't move my neck, and drinking as I swallowed was very painful.
I tried the ice, heat, ice etc. And it was gone completely. So I figured, I was contacting, expanding, contracting, expanding. Kind of like wiggling something loose.
Anyway, I had severe carpal tunnel, in my left hand. Twenty years later, I had it fixed. Then I had a trigger thumb same side. They did cortozone, three times, then were going to do surgery, but the office stopped taking my insurance. A few months later, the symptoms stopped. I wonder if all of this is connected?
I guess I'm just rambling, but I will try the ice again.

Apr 30, 2015
Thank Goodness for this site!
by: Wally

I thought I was the only one with this curse. My left elbow has been killing me for 3 months now.

It feels like someone hit me in the elbow with a hammer. I cannot pick up a cup of coffee with my right hand due to the pain. Last night I was at the point of vomiting it hurt so bad.

I have numbness in my right shoulder & arm due to 2 degenerated discs in my neck, but I have had this for 1 year, I wondered if my left elbow pain is a sign of my discs getting worse. As a guitar player it absolutely sucks.

Jan 28, 2016
Not again
by: Isabell

My symptoms are pretty much the same as the first lady that posted.

My left arm began hurting last week in the brachioradialis muscle and has in the last two days extended to the lateral epicondyle of humerus. Previous and current pain also in the medial epicondyl of the humerus.

The right arm pain lasted for 18 months so I'm freaking a little with this and hoping this will not be the same.

My vitamin D level is usually around 140-150 in the spring but has fallen to 105 in the last 2 years. I do supplement with magnesium powder.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Not Again.

Your Vit D is usually around 140-150 ng/ml?

Aug 30, 2016
Foot and Elbow .... Sad
by: Anonymous

My right elbow and right foot started killing me out of nowhere ..... I haven't injured them , they are not swollen they just feel like a huge bruise when I press them or move my arm.

When I stand and put weight on my foot I almost cry it hurts so much.....

Hurts like a broken foot but again I haven't injured it ...... I'm tired :(

Jan 06, 2017
Knee and elbow problems
by: Dianna m

I have been having really bad pains in my right knee and my left elbow sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night and can't straighten my elbow. Sometimes it's painful to even pick up a cup.

My knee the same way if I sit like Indian style on the floor for a short period of time it takes me awhile to straighten my knee out I just need some answers on why I'm having so much trouble with my elbow and knee.

Thank u.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Dianna.

THings are getting tight, and have been chronically tight. So when you sit indian style, you're overstretching and putting undue torque and stretch and tension on structures that get unhappy about it.

Same with the elbow, basically.

Do you sleep face down with an elbow underneath your body weight?

Jan 12, 2017
Right arm pain
by: Stephanie

Hey Josh, I'm so glad I found this page. Ok so in October of 2016 I fell at work hitting my arm/elbow.

They sent me to the Er, I got xrays done and I was referred to an orthopedic sergeant. That dr had me do a mri and nothing showed up on mri or xray.

He told me there is nothing he can do for me. So I go for a emg they said that looked ok but had some swelling.

I can't straighten my arm and bend it without severe pain from elbow to bicep down to my fingers. I can't pick up anything heavy or open doors without hurting.

I've had physical therapy but couldn't do too much due to pain. I can't sleep because I can't find the right spot to put my arm without it hurting.

I've had blood drawn and Dr says everything is good. Please dear god help me with this.

It's now January 2017 and still in so much pain. Iced it and taken 600 milligram Ibuprofen every day with no relief.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Stephanie.

1. More ice dipping. Lots more. Presuming there's no actual damage, it sounds like you have bone/joint bruising, meaning the joint tissue itself is swollen (and thus expanding and pushing into itself).

2. Read this thread and the pages it links to.

Jan 13, 2017
Right arm pain from elbow
by: Stephanie

Thank you for replying back to me so quick. So I do the ice 3 to 4 times a day also I go back to that same dr on Monday, should I ask him to do anything I mean it's so unbearable I don't think I can take much more pain.

I can't even open a bag of chips without it killing me. I feel like I'm pushing through the pain because I have to, but on another hand I'm scared I'm doing more damage to my arm by forcing myself to use it.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Stephanie.

If you just have bone/joint bruise and swelling from the impact, then there's nothing the doctor can do for you, short of pain killers (fine to get you through the day) and anti-inflammatories (not a fix, may or may not help lower pain levels).

See: Bone Bruise

Obviously the more you try to bend the elbow, the more you will irritate and already irritated dynamic. So don't 'push' it (but do keep a tiny bit of movement happening so muscles fire and 'usage' signals get sent to the brain.

If your elbow joint is swollen/bruised internally, then it's going to suck for a while, no getting around that. You can speed that up by

A. icing way more than 304 times/day. See the How To Reduce Inflammation page.

B. Cut inflammatory foods from your diet: Gluten, sugar, processed vegetable cooking oils, etc.

C. Ice more.

D. Be patient.

I would have the doctor verify that there is no actual injury (fracture, break, torn ligament, etc) and that it is not subluxed (out of alignment).

Jan 13, 2017
Pain in elbow gone
by: Anonymous

I went to my rheumatologist and he put a shot in my elbow and the next morning it was lot yet never hurt at all.

My foot still feels like someone hit it with a sledgehammer while I was sleeping but I was not taking a nother shot in my foot after the last one I got ...

A foot shot is one of the most painful things I have ever had I never knew the bottom of the foot could be so tender when it comes to needles ....

I will walk with a lamp until I absolutely have to have a shot .)

Jan 13, 2017
Right arm pain
by: Stephanie

Thank you so much. I will ask the dr on Monday to please review and make sure there is no internal damage.

I will keep you posted and post my results.

Again thank you

Jan 16, 2017
Right arm pain
by: Stephanie

Hey Josh, so I went to my apt and the dr moved my arm a little bit and said the only thing left that he can provide me is a blood test for rheumatoid arthritis.

He said with what I'm telling him it sounds like tennis elbow.

He said nothing on MRI and xray so if the blood results come back normal there is nothing he can do for me. I asked him about an ultrasound and he no because it would have shown up on the MRI.

My question now is, if it is what he thinks do you think a steroid injection would be ok so that at least I can go back to work?

I just kinda think maybe because it's workers comp he really don't want to do anything for me because he sent me back on full duty. I still am in the same position I started in when I first fell.


Joshua Comments:

1. Tennis elbow isn't going to prevent you from moving your elbow as you're describing.

2. If you get a corticosteroid injection in an elbow tendon, it is incredibly unlikely to help a bruised/swollen joint.

3. If your elbow was fine, then you fell and landed on your elbow (straight arm or banging it on the side), and suddenly your elbow wasn't fine, it's not tennis elbow.

4. When doctors guess at a diagnosis, you kind of have to wonder.

5. Doctor is sending you to a rheumatologist as part of the standard of care procedure.

Presuming there's no break or subluxation or internal injury, then you're looking at a bruised and swollen joint.

A corticosteroid injection into the joint may or may not be a good idea (sticking a needle in there is, well...sticking a needle in there).

Ice Dip A LOT (as many 10-20 second dips as you're motivated to do).

Jan 19, 2017
Right arm pain
by: Stephanie

Hey Josh it's me again. So they ran the test for rheumatoid arthritis and that came back good. So that doc released me back to work tomorrow with no restrictions. I feel like he don't believe the pain I'm in. This is starting to me make wonder as well.

I don't how much more I can explain the pain and what all I can and can not do physically to him.

I'm so grateful to have you to talk to about this. I've been having pain aching up my arm now almost into my shoulder.

I've been icing it so much I think my arm is use to it lol.


Joshua Comments:

It's far too common for doctors to disregard complaints of pain etc.

If they can't fix it, it must either be all in your head or not real.

I can only attribute it to mental blinders/professional arrogance/inability or unwillingness to spend ten minutes further researching your complaints.

Anyhoo. Keep icing. Bone/joint bruises are slow to recover even when you're helping it along, but if you don't help it's usually a REALLY slow process.

And we're presuming that the doctor correctly read the MRI etc and that there's no actual damage in there anywhere. If there really isn't, that's good news.

But with even a simple case of bruised/swollen elbow joint (and yours sounds like a a big bruising/swelling), I hate to say it but you're just going to have to suck it up for a while.
And ice dip a lot. And accessory actions like rub Traumeel or equivalent on it. Eat turmeric. Etc.

Feb 22, 2017
fell left side 5 days ago,pan do bad on elbow,can't bear it
by: Jdonnabndt

I fell hard 5 days ago on left side. Main pain on elbow even though have had 6 surgeries on hip.

Went to er, they said sprain, wrapped it. I have black bruise from wrist half up to elbow. Don't hurt there though. Pain is on outside of elbow, it pops when I do anything, open door, pick up cup, etc.

Today everytime I stand up, pain so bad, can't bear it.

Havent been back to er or doc yet because of disability and transportation issues. Supposed to go tomorrow.

This pain worse than hip pain.

Didnt want to go thru surgery again. Just spent 6 days in hospital, renal ward over holidays. Is it broke, tendentious, why owing getting worse.

Tried icing it, no help. Wrapped an sling, no help. Take norco an soma together for pain, no help. Please help me. Can't bear no more.


Joshua Comments:

Hi J.

How exactly did you land?

Did you dislocate your elbow?

I certainly don't know if it's broken or not. Did they take an xray in the ER? If they didn't, they have no way of knowing whether it's ONLY a sprain or not.

The elbow pain is 'so bad you can't stand it' when you stand up? Or some other pain? If elbow, it doesn't hurt when you're sitting down?

Feb 22, 2017
Fall 5 days ago
by: Jdonnabndt

They did do X-rays, said no fractures, 3 sprains.

Wrist, elbow and ankle. Arm is main pain. Pain is really bad when I stand, walk and sit back down.

Real bad when I stand and sit. Noticed a while ago when I got up, pinkie finger feels numb. Never said if dislocated. Just wrapped and sent me home with instructions. The popping is on outside of elbow when moving in any position. Only last a few minutes.

Worse pain is on below crook of elbow towards wrist about inch and a half to two inches,inside elbow. Black bruise is from wrist, inside, for about 5 or 6 inches, continuous and about 4 inches wide, no pain on bruise.

Even lifting a half loaf of bread or pair of pants sends pain through arm. No real bad swelling. I can point out pain in exact locations and which kind is affecting the areas. The standing up, sitting down, and trying to roll over and elevate arm has me very confused. Not sure why it hurts those particular times.

Just to get up to use the bathroom or anything else is making my blood pressure and pulse shoot up as its so painful.

Also, I landed on my left side, don't know how I landed, just know I was on left side next to dining table and know I could not get up or move for a while. Was home alone. I use a cane but was not on it when I fell.

I passed out and came to on December 28, 2016, the dogs brought me around licking my face, I know I did not pass out this time. That was why I was hospitalized for 6 days, bp was real low, sugar high, don't have diabetes, all electrolytes were off and my gfr renal rate was 28. That caused the black out. All of my lab work came back good a couple weeks ago.


Joshua Comments:

Well, the bruising makes sense, if you landing on your arm/wrist, and maybe moreso if you were laying on it and/or landed on it when you fell.

There was enough force for sprains (ligament damage) but happily not enough for a fracture or break.

If your blood pressure is out of whack, then that also helps explain the bruising.

And if your kidneys aren't functioning properly, that means there's a bunch of other internal mechanisms no working properly, in the sense of 'recovering' from pain and trauma, nutrition aspects that play a role in pain and recovery and inflammation, etc.

I can't advise you on the nutritional side of things, as kidney disease of any amount is a 'doctor only' conversation.

But you could learn How To Reduce Inflammation and ice dip the wrist/forearm/elbow. That will speed up the bruising going away, and should/will reduce pain.

It's only a 10-15 second dip each time, so no big deal.

Jan 12, 2018
Severe pain and stinging
by: Diane

Hello I Have Had Elbow pain For 7 Months been to physical Theraphy Only To Cause more Pain.

Been To Orthopedic surgeon, he said Tendonitis, but now I Have severe pain cant even hold a cup in hand or bend my Elbow from the pain and swolleness.

I Have A Mass inside the Elbow And you Can See and feel it. I get redness and streaks on elbow and up bicep when bend arm biceps hurting to.

This pain gets bad at night the burning and severe pain wake me from dead sleep. It has gotten worse and noone is doing anything.

My brother was diagnosed with the worst bone cancer you can have they gave him 3-4 yrs the most hes on his thrid not doing to good im worried thats what is wrong with me the pain never lets up.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Diane.

"I Have A Mass inside the Elbow And you Can See and feel it. I get redness and streaks on elbow and up bicep when bend arm biceps hurting to."

If you haven't already, and/or haven't ended up in an emergency room, I'd go see another doctor ASAP.

Red streaks up your arm? Depending on what you have going on and how that fits your description, that's sign of life threatening infection (obviously, that requires an infection).

And depending on what you mean by 'a mass', that could either be very ver serious, or could jsut be a Lipoma, which is a benign fatty growth (annoying but not dangerous), or a few other things.

So...I'd need more information and you need a second opinion from a skilled doctor.

Feb 26, 2018
Elbow pain in both arms, servere in left
by: Rene

I honestly have no idea how I live with the pain anymore ...

The pain started 3 years ago on my right elbow, where the tendons attach. Six months later, the pain was in both elbows. The doctors have been no help at all.

I’ve been to physical therapy, ruled out rheumatoid and psoriatic artemisia, nerve testing muscle testing, X-rays, blood work...

The doctors diagnosed me with fibromyalgia ... comeon, they couldn’t come up with something better??

The pain now has been primarily in my left elbow, although there still pain in my right elbow.

If I accidentally bump my arm on a door, bump my elbow getting into the car, or accidentally change my direction and hit something... the pain can drops me to my knees crying in severe pain.

I’ve been an athlete for years and used kettle bells for a long time. I can’t think of a moment that I remember that caused the injury.

I haven’t been able to lift weights pick up groceries water my garden let alone pick up a cup of coffee without pain.

I haven’t been able to do a spin class not because of my legs but because of turning my arms sideways and adding a little weight on my arms. I am working with a functional medicine doctor trying to revive the cells in my arm. Any suggestions as to what is wrong with my arms and A solution to healing them would be greatly appreciated.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Rene.

Paint me a more specific picture:

Tendon pain?

Muscle pain?

Joint pain?

What exactly does it feel like when you:

- pick up a light/heavy kettlebell off the floor

- lean your weight on your arms on a bike

Pain anywhere else?

How big/small an area?

How long does it hurt (if you twist wrong and experience sudden drop-to-your-knees pain)?

Apr 19, 2018
by: Hannah

Hi, i have had elbow pain since June, so almost a year. My doctor first diagnosed me with tendontis and gave me 5 cortisone shots from July - January to get me through cheer season.

He then decided to try physical therapy which made it worse. I have also tried acupuncture and a steroid cream and a pill. My recent MRI showed fluid in my elbow but my doctor said it is to small to remove.

He said there is nothing else he can do for me so he is sending me to a rhemoatologist. My elbow has gotten way worse since June. I’m at a point where it hurts everyday all day. Help.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Hannah.

1. No more steroids. They weaken connective tissue. Also, they don't work/fix anything.

2. "He said there is nothing else he can do for me so he is sending me to a rheumatologist."

He's right, he's got nothing else in his tool box.

3. Just from what you've said so far, it's incredibly unlikely that you have rheumatoid arthritis. But getting sent to see the 'specialist' is the next step in Standard of Care medicine.

4. What did the MRI show? No rips, no tears, no joint inflammation, just fluid buildup?

5. Do you have any other health problems/issues, injuries, history of injury/illness, etc?

Apr 27, 2018
Severe elbow pain please help
by: Anonymous

I have the same proble. Did u get help

The pain has ruined my life due to pain pills
I have had this pain going on 4 years I do have severe psoriasis and have had since I was 7 years old and have major joint pain tried enbrel and hated the side effects.

May 16, 2018
Life ending arm pain
by: Denny

Hi, i have the same as Brenda but on the inside elbow. I am a meat cutter and can not stop using my arm. The pain is unbearable at times.been going on now for 2 years but is at its worst the last few weeks.

3 cortisone shots, 6 months physical therapy, acupuncture, chyroprator, gallons of bone broth, ice every night and message.

I'm in good health and 39 years old . I refuse to see a surgeon.

Never ice bath though . Am starting now. I will owe you if this works!!


Joshua comments

Repeated 10ish second ice dipps are better than 20 minutes with an ice pack.

Good for reducing pain and does other good things, but not a fix per se.

I'd get and start working with the Reversing Wrist Tendonitis program (it's all forearm related).

It will show you the holes in your self care so far, and get you on a path to being pain free.

May 17, 2018
Life ending arm pain
by: Denny Vollmar

Okay ill give the reverse wrist ebook a shot. Been ice dipping 20 time a day and an ice massage for the last 2 days and its great. Could be just numb too lol.


Joshua Comments:

Ice dips shouldn't numb anything (maybe a tiny bit of numbing, but mostly, not).

Very effective at what they're good at: lowering pain levels. Not a fix, but less pain signal to the brain is a good thing in a variety of ways.

Jun 20, 2018
elbow pain at night or when waking up
by: Anonymous

Hello, I just read through this long list of comments and answers because of a return of a problem I have caused by an injury.

I noticed a lot of people writing here don't know what is causing the problem. I just thought I'd mention that while I've been in physical therapy to treat an injured nerve over the last year my PT mentioned that a lot of people have elbow pain due to nerve strain or damage caused by tightening up the joint while sleeping. I looked this up and apparently it is not uncommon and often may only happen on one side, or be worse on one side. Then I met a woman who had actually had the problem and since it didn't get diagnosed in time it led to the nerve getting trapped and damaged and she needed surgery! Apparently she started to have the problem on the other side too, but they had her wear an arm brace that kept her from bending it during the night and it went away.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Anonymous.

1. What was the nerve 'trapped' in?

2. How did it get 'trapped'?

3. Why did they 'need' surgery, as opposed to anything else?

4. Do they have to wear an arm brace the rest of their life?

5. Just bending the elbow is the cause of said entrappment?

6. "caused by tightening up the joint while sleeping."

Why was the joint tightening up at night?

7. What does 'the joint tightening up at night' mean? Something is compressing the joint? If so, what exactly?

Jun 21, 2018
2 year pain in inner elbow
by: Denny

Hello, I have been doing the program now for four weeks and it seems to be no better. I finally went and got an MRI and i have a tear in the tendon and a tear in the ucl ( right inner elbow). Also some fluid in the joint.

The surgeon obviously said I need surgery or have to live with this pain forever.

Should I stick to the program with this injury? I am using the wrist tendonitis ebook. I am a meat cutter and my arm gets no rest. Should I take some time off to heal?? Thanks kindly.



Joshua Comments:

Hi Denny.

1. A tear definitely changes the conversation. You still need to do what's in the program to get rid of the causes of the tear (poorly functioning muscle[s] due to the tendonitis dynamic: too tight muscle and connective tissue, chronic inflammation process, lack of nutrition).

2. How big is the tear? 5%, 50%, 75%?

The size of the tear alters the conversation, so it's important to know.

(also, use the contact form on the site so I don't lose track of you, as I can't see your email here).

Jun 21, 2018
response to question
by: Denny

Thanks for the fast response Joshua, I will reply to your contacts as well but to answer your questions. the MRI report says Medial epicondylitis manifested by a partial tear involving the common flexor tendon along with a partial tear in the ulnar collateral ligament origin. there is an associated strain involving the proximal flexor digitorum superficialis muscl along with mild joint effusion.
What ever that all means haha

the Ice started to work but as soon as I started the rubs and stretches it started back up again. I pretty much cant lift much these days with the right arm.
Thank you!

Aug 02, 2018
Elbow pain for over a year
by: Tanya

Hi I’m Tanya, and I have been having pain in my right inner elbow and my doctor said it’s tendonitis. He started giving me injections. A month or two later my left inner elbow was in pain as well. I can’t move my left elbow as much as my right hand.

This is debilitating! I went to the ER when I got worst with numbness radiating down my two fingers (pinky side) and pain going to my neck. Do you know what they said. Oh we don’t treat chronic pain and for me to follow up with my primary doctor and gave me a Vicodin and sent me home.

How do I find a doctor that can help me with this?

On another note I have had back pain since I was 19. I find out that I have a fused bone on my neck, arthritis on my low back,carpal tunnel on both my hands,fibromyalgia. I don’t know if they are just throwing me these different diagnoses because they don’t know what I have and I feel like I’m slowly going downhill. Am I going to lose my way to function next. I feel like there is a diagnosis for what I have.


Joshua Comments:

I work with all the people whose doctors have failed to fix their tendonitis (and related) problems, so I'm not help directing you to a doctor that can help...I've never heard of one.

Corticosteroid injections for tendonitis pain? **eyeroll** That was never going to fix anything.

Tell me more about the fused bones.

Any history of car accident, falling off a horse, etc?

Are your joint hypermobile? Meaning, can you touch your thumb to your forearm or when you straighten your elbow does it go past 180 degrees/a straight line?

Any history of taking Fluoroquinolone antibioticcs like Cipro or Levaquin?

Aug 18, 2018
Feeling better
by: Anonymous

Hi all.

I had exactly the same issue. The pain was in my elbow almost on the bone.

I woke up this morning with a huge swollen elbow which was painful whether I bent it or kept it straight, the worst it has ever been.

I was forced to go see my doctor as the pain was debilitating.

He immediately diagnosed me with bursitis. It is still very early to say, but after one day of treatment the pain has almost completely disappeared.

I hope it stays this way, and I hope it will help someone else!

Good luck all

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