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Feelings of pain can range from mild and occasional to severe and constant. Acute pain begins suddenly and is usually sharp in quality. It serves as a warning of disease or a threat to the body. Acute pain may be caused by many events or circumstances, including surgery, broken bones, etc. Unrelieved acute pain may lead to chronic pain, which may persist even after the original injury has healed. Pain signals remain active in the nervous system for weeks, months, or years and can have lasting physical effects. Tense muscles, limited mobility, a lack of energy, and changes in appetite can occur, in addition to emotional effects, such as depression, anger, anxiety, and fear of re-injury. Such effects may hinder a person's ability to return to normal work or leisure activities. We feel each individual is the best judge of his or her own pain. Our medical staff takes a multidisciplinary approach in addressing your pain management concerns, and we work with you to determine the best treatment options. Depending upon your diagnosis, pain may be treated in a number of ways. After a comprehensive review of the patient's history and current health, a care plan is developed that may include a wide array of interventional pain management procedures & techniques such as: See our Patient Education page.

What’s the Difference Between Golf and Tennis Elbow?

man holding elbow

North Carolina gives golf and tennis enthusiasts the chance toman holding elbow  play their favorite sports well into the winter season. Additionally, some people head further south over the holidays and enjoy playing golf and tennis in even warmer temperatures.

Frequent golf and tennis players (and actually anyone participating in activities that involve repetitive hand, wrist or forearm motions) can develop common tendonitis conditions called golf or tennis elbow. How do you know which injury you have? What are treatment options?

Golf elbow, or medial epicondylitis, occurs when tendons that connect the forearm to the elbow become inflamed. Pain is felt on the bony bump on the inside of the elbow and can radiate into the forearm.

Tennis elbow, known as lateral epicondylitis, is painful inflammation on the outside of the elbow. Repetitive motion can strain the muscles and put too much stress on the tendons. Pain is mostly felt on the bony part on the outside of the elbow, but can also travel into the upper or lower arm.

Diagnosing and treating tennis or golf elbow

While the specific areas affected differ, diagnosis and treatment are similar. A doctor will have the patient flex the arm, wrist and elbow to pinpoint the painful area. In some cases an X-ray or MRI may be ordered to rule out other possible causes.

Once the diagnosis has been confirmed, at-home treatments usually help heal the injury. They include:

  •   Applying ice
  •   Resting the injured area
  •   Wearing a splint or elbow strap
  •   Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines to reduce pain and swelling
  •   Performing range of motion exercises to reduce stiffness
  •   Participating in physical therapy to strengthen and stretch muscles

In more advanced cases, steroid or painkiller injections may be used to provide temporary relief of pain and swelling. If the condition doesn’t improve within two to four months, surgery may be required. The damaged section of the tendon is removed and the remaining tendon is repaired.

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