Personal Health

Should I Swim with my Elbow Pain?

Elbow pain

If you’ve ever experienced pain before, no matter where you’ve felt it, you have probably left yourself with a dilemma; move or don’t move.

Similarly, you may have asked yourself questions like

  • “should I sit here and wait until it’s healed?”
  • “will I hurt injure myself further by moving?”

Recently, I had a patient who provided me with an excellent opportunity to explain this complex question in simpler terms.

This patient was experiencing a longstanding pain in his elbow and had been relying on his opposite hand to do all the work for him. He asked “I have a swimming lesson this weekend, I went sea swimming last week with no pain in my elbow, do you think I should go to the swimming lesson?”

I’ll start by saying pain is not created equal. Acute, traumatic injuries do require a short window of rest in order to allow the body to do what it does best and heal itself. However, longstanding, chronic pain requires close to the opposite. Movement is medicine in these cases and we should be trying to move at every opportunity within the limits of our pain.

So, no pain with lots of healthy movement? My answer naturally: a resounding YES!

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