You’re working from home and you’ve been sitting at your desk for 4 hours. One hand on the mouse, the other on the keyboard, you’ve got dead lines, calls, your inbox keeps filling up. A slight ache down your right arm is forming, but you have no time to acknowledge this, you ignore it and carry on with your work. Lunchtime rolls around, which you sit down to eat and then back to the computer again.
The next morning, you get up, reach for the cereal and suddenly experience a sharp pain down the outside of your right elbow. When did you have time to hurt your elbow? Must have been how you slept right? Not necessarily. Sleeping positions are not as involved in our pain levels as you might think. It is more often than not something you did the previous day. Or something that has been creeping up over time and that one move, such as reaching for the cereal, puts you over the edge and causes your elbow to hurt.
How Can I Tell If My Elbows Are Overworked?
Here’s an experiment for all the desk-workers out there, go stand in front of the mirror with your arms by your side. Have a look at what direction your palms face. Do they face in towards your body, or do they face behind you? Palms facing backwards are common in computer-based jobs. Your hands are always facing downwards to type so naturally your muscles accommodate for this position. Helpful right? No.
Muscles work in opposition to each other. For every movement your muscles performs, there are opposite movements other muscles perform. Take your hands for example, palm up and palm down. Anatomically these muscles are known as the Supinator (palm up) and the Pronator Teres and Quadratus (palm down) See picture below.
As a response from your Nervous System, when your arms are always in pronation (palm down) it weaks the under-used Supinator muscle on the outside. The supinator tightens up, shortening the length of the muscle and reduces blood flow to the area, causing it to become painful, and resent you.
A great way to prevent or alleviate these pains is to perform exercises in opposition to your daily work positions. Here is our Exercise Physiologist performing an exercise for elbow pain to help you strengthen your Supinator from the comfort of your home.
Many muscles converge or cross the elbow joint so a differential diagnosis is important to determine where your pain is originating. At Boost Health we would perform a full assessment to determine which muscles and positions are involved. With the application of manual soft tissue treatment and corrective exercises we will get you out of pain and moving freely again.