Get rid of pain in the elbow

Pain in the elbow or in the pit of the elbow mostly comes from over-stressed and tensed arm muscles.

As a consequence, this leads to irritation and inflammation of the tendons attached to the elbow.

Taking anti-inflammatory medication only provides temporary pain relief, if any relief at all – and doesn’t doesn’t do anything to eliminate the actual cause of the problem.

On this page, you will learn which muscles can be responsible for pain in the pit of the elbow and how you can eliminate this pain.

If your pain isn’t located in the pit of the elbow, but rather in the inner or outer side of the elbow, then you should go you to the corresponding article.

1. Causes of pain in the elbow

Tendonitis or inflamed tendons are most often given the blame for elbow pain in general.

There is of course true in a lot of cases, but one aspect is often forgotten.

Why does a tendon become inflamed? A tendon provides the connection between a muscle and a bone.

It is therefore the link that transfers the power of the muscle to the bone.

Overstressed muscles, trigger points and tension, as a rule, all have one thing in common: They indicate an increase in muscle tension. This tension is naturally transferred to the tendons of the respective muscles, which can lead to inflammation.

A tendon can become inflamed when it is overstressed by its corresponding muscle.

The bottom line is that, often, two structures are overstressed: the muscle and the tendon.

This stress-induced tension can be of a chronic or an acute nature. Whereas chronic stress arises, for example, through constantly repeated motions, acute stress is mostly caused by sudden or temporary excessive strain.

Both forms of stress overload lead to elevated muscle tension and the development of trigger points and as such, often to pain.

2. Getting rid of pain in the elbow

To be able to successfully deal with inflammation, one aspect is to normalise the tension in the corresponding muscle. In this case, this means decreasing the tension. A self-massage is the treatment of choice for this.

There are two muscles and their insertion tendons that are primarily responsible when it comes to pain in the pit of the elbow.

A self-massage of these muscles results in a reduction of their tension and can thus contribute to alleviating your pain and even eliminating it in the long-term.

These muscles are the biceps brachii and the brachialis.

Instructions for massaging these muscles and consequently getting rid of the pain in your elbow are given the next section.

3. Pain in the elbow: Description of your self-massage.

We’ll begin with the massage of your brachialis.

To start with, you first have to be able to localise this muscle and feel it.

  • Start by placing your thumb about 2 – 3 cm above the pit of your elbow and press lightly into the muscle tissue that’s there.
  • Now shift your thumb a few times to the left and right. While doing this, you should be able to feel a muscle springing back and forth under your thumb. That is your brachialis.
  • Slide your thumb upwards and downwards a bit in order to feel the entire muscle.

3.1 Self-massage of the brachialis

Now that you have found the muscle, we’ll proceed with the actual massage. You can use either the thumb technique or the pressure-motion technique.

Thumb technique: Press into the brachialis and search for painful and pressure-sensitive areas. As soon as you have found one, massage that specific area 10 – 15 times with your thumb.

Press into the muscle in the area immediately before the spot where you feel pain. Continue with a short massage stroke that ends just after the sensitive spot.

Make sure you stay on the muscle and don’t slide off toward the inside. If you do, you could massage a nerve. As soon as you feel a tingling or burning sensation under your fingers, you know that it’s time to head back to the muscle.

Pressure-motion technique: Take hold of the muscle with a pinching grip between your thumb and index finger.

Now press into the muscle, bending and straightening your elbow a few times.


Thumb technique


Pressure-motion technique

3.2 Self-massage of the biceps brachii

In the next step, we’ll turn to your biceps brachii.

Here again you can use the thumb technique or the pressure-motion technique. The latter is described in the following.

You won’t have any problems feeling the biceps.

  • Shape your hand like forceps and take hold of the muscle running along the surface of the front side of your upper arm.
  • Now, palpate your entire biceps. Start from the pit of the elbow, and go all the way up to the shoulder.
  • Once again, you should encompass the muscle with your hand in the forceps-like shape described above. With your thumb supported on the backside of the upper arm, press with your fingertips into the muscle.
  • Bend and stretch your elbow slowly about 10 – 15 times. You should be able to feel your biceps moves under your fingers.
  • Whenever you find a sensitive spot, slow down the motion and concentrate on it.

3.3 Other, possibly problematic muscles

In addition to the muscles described above, there are two more muscles that can lead to pain in the elbow.

Since they are involved less frequently, there’s “only” a short video on them and of course, the pages that go with each of the muscles!

These muscles are the supinator and the brachioradialis!

4. Another important tip regarding pain in the elbow

Repeat the massage for these muscles daily. Better yet, do them multiple times per day until the pain in your elbow has disappeared.

If you don’t feel any pain or excess sensitivity to pressure, then check to see that you are massaging the “right” muscles.

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