ageist editors | june 28, 2018
If you work with your hands and you are our age, chances are you are familiar with the pain in either the inside or outside of the elbow joint. Swing a hammer for 10 years, use a socket wrench all day for years, get into doing lots of pull-ups ... you get the idea.
It seems to be caused by either muscle imbalance or the muscle fibers sticking. The muscle groups to look at will be your bicep, tricep and the forearm. All should be stretched and something done to break up the muscle fascia so they slide more readily. This torture device above is especially good for the forearm, which seems to get very little attention considering how essential it is to any sort of work with our hands.
We naturally want to to reach for the ibuprofen, as we assume these are normal aches and pains of age. Don’t do it. Some doctors will tell you this is the solution; it’s not. You need to work on the cause, not the symptom. If we keep our joints and muscles healthy, we can get decades of hard work out of them. Especially with age, we need to understand how to care for them.
I have been down this road, and this message is targeted especially to all my friends in the building trades: take the time to understand your body in the same way you have taken the time to master your craft. Who should you consult? Find yourself someone who works with dancers. I know what you are thinking: What does a dancer have to do with me? But these people are the best of any of the doctor, physical therapist, Pilates, trainer people I have ever met. This is not about mind over matter, no pain no gain, this is about you getting to use your body to do your job for as long as you want to do it.