The brachialis muscle is the primary flexor of the elbow, it lies deep below the biceps muscle in the anterior upper compartment of the arm. Injury to this muscle can result due to a number of factors, if the pain is gradual in its onset it may be as the result of tendonitis. Tendonitis is usually caused by over exerting the muscle through over training, repetitive use or excessive force through the elbow joint. In comparison, if the pain is acute and sharp it may be as a result of a tear in the muscle belly. Brachialis tears generally occur during a forceful or sudden contraction of the muscle.
Symptoms of brachialis injury include:
- Deep, constant, aching elbow pain
- Swelling around the elbow or just about the elbow joint
- Inability or serve pain when bending the elbow
- Pain on the front, inside of the elbow
Additionally, an injury to brachialis muscle may also refer pain to the;
- Front and/or back of the base of the thumb, often accompanied by numbness or tingling in the forearm and/or thumb
If you do suspect a brachialis muscle injury a soft tissue occupational therapist may be able to help you get brachialis muscle pain relief.
A visit to a Soft Tissue Occupational Therapist can assist in the treatment of your brachialis muscle pain. A soft tissue occupational therapist will conduct an assessment to determine the cause of the pain and then provide hands-on neuromuscular techniques, such as trigger point therapy, dry needling or myofascial release to improve functioning of the muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia. These neuromuscular techniques work to break down fibrous adhesions, releasing tight muscles and correcting improper muscle functioning. Soft tissue occupational therapists will also work to develop and recommend stretching and strengthening regimes to assist in alleviating symptoms and prevent recurring of your brachialis muscle pain. An occupational therapist will look to explore lifestyle factors, such as workplace ergonomics, which may be contributing to your brachialis muscle pain and set up an personalized treatment plan that aims to reduce your symptoms. A soft tissue occupational therapist may employ or recommend a number of treatment techniques to help relieve your brachialis muscle pain, these may include:
Trigger Point Release
Trigger point therapy involves the application of firm pressure to a hyperirritable spot or taut band, known as a trigger point. This pressure works to release tension in the muscle, by decreasing the blood flow to the area, and decrease the pressure felt. As the pressure is removed, blood flows back to the area and flushes any toxins released by the muscle. These points and can often refer pain to other parts of the body, lasting a few seconds.
Dry needling is a technique that can be used to reduce muscle restriction by releasing trigger points (see above) with acupuncture needles. A Soft tissue Occupational Therapist will use individually packed sterilised acupuncture needles to directly ‘needle’ the trigger point and produce a local response within the muscle, which then quickly dissipates and allows the muscle to relax.
Myofascial release is a manipulative treatment that attempts to release tension in the fascia due to trauma, posture, or inflammation. Connective tissues called fascia surround the muscles, bones, nerves, and organs of the body. Points of restriction in the fascia can place a great deal of pressure on nerves and muscles causing chronic pain. A soft tissue occupational therapist will employ long stretching strokes meant to balance tissue and muscle mechanics and improve joint range of motion in order to relieve pain.
Applying heat to your painful brachialis muscles through the use of a heat pack may help to alleviate the pain. Heat is an inexpensive, effective form of pain relief that works by increases blood flow to the area, relaxing muscles and increasing range of movement and flexibility. By increasing the circulation and blood flow throughout the area, injury healing properties are delivered to the muscles, aiding in repair, and reducing the symptoms of brachialis muscle pain. Alternatively, you can apply topical balms, such as Tiger balm or Eagle balm to help to relieve brachialis muscle pain. Tiger balm and Eagle balm work to heat the muscles due to to high concentrations of menthol, an active ingredient that soothes muscles.
Stretching and Strengthening
Gentle stretching will assist in relieving your brachialis muscle pain and can help speed up your recovery. Gentle stretching will work to encourage circulation and blood flow to tissues, reducing muscle stiffness and spasm. A Soft Tissue Occupational Therapist may recommend a stretching and strengthening regime, which you will be able to do at home. It is best to consult your Soft Tissue Occupational Therapist before engaging in this program to avoid further aggravating your brachialis muscle pain.
At Infused Health our highly trained Soft Tissue Occupational Therapists will use a hands on approach to help treat your injuries, conditions or any concerns you may have. You can make an appointment today by calling 0401 876 623.