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Common Conditions Related to Pain in the Upper Body

Woman doing TRX rows

What is biceps tendon rupture?

A biceps tendon rupture is a full tear of one or both of the biceps muscle/tendons caused from a quick contraction against resistance, falling onto an outstretched arm, weightlifting, or overuse. The bicep muscle is made up of two heads which help control motion at the shoulder, elbow, and forearm making it more susceptible to potential injury. This type of injury more commonly occurs in the dominant arm in individuals with prior arm pathology due to poor mechanics, muscular compensation, certain medications, trauma and/or tendon wear over time. When one or both of the bicep muscles are torn you can see a bulge in the front of your arm known as the “Popeye” sign where the muscle becomes coiled beneath the skin. Depending on your age and activity level requirements, a bicep tendon rupture can be managed conservatively with physical therapy from CityPT. We can also assist those who undergo bicep tendon repairs to return to optimal function of the arm.

What is elbow bursitis?

Elbow bursitis is inflammation of the small fluid filled sac that reduces friction between muscle, tendon, skin, and bone at the elbow joint. It is also known as olecranon bursitis and is caused by direct trauma, infection, or repetitive overuse. When the bursa is inflamed this can cause swelling, pain, tenderness, redness and/or limited range of motion. Physical therapy from CityPT can conservatively speed up the recovery process by educating you on optimal daily ergonomics, stretching, and anti-inflammatory techniques.

What is golfer’s elbow?

Golfer's elbow, or medial epicondylitis is pain on the inside (pinky side) of the elbow due to overuse and irritation in tendons that control motion at the elbow, wrist and forearm. This tendon injury can occur over time or due to an acute trauma. Common symptoms include pain, stiffness, numbness, decreased grip strength, and reduced function of the forearm and wrist. A full physical therapy examination of the neck and arm are recommended as injuries at the elbow joint are commonly due to dysfunctions in the shoulder and shoulder blade. Your CityPT physical therapist can find the right stretching exercises, strengthening routine, bracing techniques, and ergonomic training to reduce inflammation while allowing you to continue with your daily activities.

What is tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis is pain on the outside (thumb side) of the elbow due to overuse and irritation in tendons that control motion at the forearm and wrist. This is the most common overuse injury in the elbow and is caused from repetitive activities with gripping like tennis, racket sports, physical labor professions, and even desk jobs. This tendon injury can occur over time or due to an acute trauma. Common symptoms include pain, stiffness, numbness, decreased grip strength, and reduced function of the forearm and wrist. A CityPT physical therapist can find the right stretching exercises, strengthening routine, bracing techniques, and ergonomic training to reduce inflammation while allowing you to continue with your daily activities.

What is thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS)?

Thoracic outlet syndrome is the compression of nerves, veins, and or arteries that supply the neck, shoulder, elbow, hand and fingers. There are several areas that can become narrowed in the thoracic outlet causing these nerves and vessels to be pressed upon thus leading to weakness, numbness, tingling, swelling, discoloration, and/or pain within the face, neck, and arm. Several factors can lead to the development of TOS, and there are multiple types of TOS which your therapist can diagnose based on your symptom description, examination and testing. Conservative management through physical therapy is effective at improving function, reducing pain, and alleviating symptoms. A CityPT physical therapist can determine which range of motion, nerve mobility, stretching, and strengthening exercises are appropriate for your type of thoracic outlet syndrome and help you get back to your normal daily life.