Self Care - Elbow

Self Care – Elbow Pain While Pushing

Self-Care includes
– Activities to avoid and change,
– Strategies for quick relief,
– Stretching for longer-lasting relief,
– Corrective Exercises, Yoga, and more…

Here, you can find ways to get relief on your own from elbow pain that flares up when pushing. In this other post, you can read more about how people describe this pain and the activities that typically create the problem. You can usually get lasting relief with the recommendations below.

Activities To Avoid or Change:

Avoid activities that straighten the elbow forcefully, especially when they straighten the elbow completely or repetitively. These activities include things like:

  • tennis backhand and serve
  • digging in the dirt
  • chopping wood
  • dips and presses in the gym
  • punching (probably good to avoid anyway)
  • throwing a ball to the dog a thousand times

Most people naturally avoid straightening the elbow to prevent pain. But unfortunately, the muscle will still be weaker and fatigues more quickly with active trigger points.

For Temporary Relief:

Pain Patches

They can really help with these trigger points. The best strategy is to place them over the trigger point. Look at this other post on the pain patterns to see the exact location if you want to be more specific. You can feel the tight fibers where there are green asterisks in those illustrations. The patch is most effective there.

Or, you can place the patch broadly across the back of the upper arm. I’ve indicated where to put it in the pic, but that varies a little based on the patch’s size and your arm’s size. Nevertheless, it’ll help, even if you don’t cover the exact spot.

Pain Cream?

As I mention in other posts, I carry this roll-on of IcyHot with lidocaine when I travel. So, if you’re active, it’s a better solution. Slather the cream all over the back of the arm from shoulder to elbow. It will immediately reduce pain and improve your power.

People tend to prefer patches to avoid the cream’s scent, although there are creams with less odor. In addition, people prefer the cream on areas with lots of movement. Otherwise, the patch comes off easily. Also, the adhesive on the patch can irritate the skin, especially after a few days.



These self-care activities, like over-the-counter drugs, are not intended to replace appropriate medical attention. If you have concerns about these self-care activities, get help from a professional. Use these suggestions and strategies with discretion and at your own risk. See your doctor when your pain is severe, persistent, or doesn’t respond to these simple suggestions.

Stretches and Exercises for Longer-Lasting Relief:

assisting the triceps stretch

This is the classic triceps stretch. There are a couple of things worth noting:

  • Try to keep the hand on the shoulder. Avoid turning the arm so that your hand goes behind your head.
  • Get the shoulder joint stretched open first. This stretching will ease the discomfort of bending the elbow sharply afterward.
  • I prefer to lean into a wall or door jamb to assist. It is easier and gives me more control. The elbow tends to slide up the frame in a way that is easy to control. Also, the door is more accessible than using a rope when the elbow bothers me. Don’t press hard or too long.
  • As always, use ice-and-stretch to make this easier and more effective.

Roll With It

This trigger point is a good place for a foam roller. These trigger points can be stubborn and hard to work. Look at this other post on the patterns to see the exact location to target the trigger points. Also, there are many blog posts about foam rolling your triceps. Just be gentle, don’t overwork it.

Reduce Soreness

You’ll probably be a little sore after foam rolling. Stretch your triceps under a hot shower after rolling to reduce the soreness. You can also get rid of the soreness with ice-and-stretch. Both approaches can be quick and effective.

This seems to be one of the better rollers on Amazon. If you get it in black, it costs about 20% less. But they have it in pink, orange, lime, and other colors. I paid the extra $8 to have it in camo. It goes with my hair.


I’d love your feedback on how this works for you
and any suggestions you might have.
Email me at integrativeworks@gmail.com.

Yoga Corner

Many yoga practitioners have a variation on the stretch shown above. Many involve a yoga strap that allows you to pull the upper arm back to get a better stretch. It is a good approach if it doesn’t bother your shoulder.

This pose is also great for stretching the triceps. Often, people stretch their lats and pecs this way. In her case, she has folded the elbows so that her hands touch her back. Again, this puts a great stretch on the triceps.

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Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia, where he sees clients. He has written materials and instructed classes since the mid-90s. This includes anatomy, trigger points, cranial, and neuromuscular.

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*This site is undergoing significant changes. We are reformatting and expanding the posts to make them easier to read. The result will also be more accessible and include more patterns with better self-care. Meanwhile, there may be formatting, content presentation, and readability inconsistencies. Until we get older posts updated, please excuse our mess.

Tony Preston

Tony Preston, LMT has been treating adults and children since the early 90s. He has authored a number of texts on neuromuscular and craniosacral techniques. He has taught Neuromuscular Therapy for ASHA School of Massage and craniosacral the National Institute of Craniosacral Studies. He currently teaches seminars in Integrative Craniosacral techniques at The Body Guild.

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