My Forearm Pain Story: How I Got It, Fixed It, and Why I Want to Help Others
This is a guest post by Jedd Johnson, Grip Strength Specialist. Jedd loves all forms of strength, especially Grip Strength, and readily competes in Grip Contests around the nation. Jedd recently published Fixing Forearm Pain, Medial and Lateral Elbow Pain Fix for Athletes and Lifters.
One of the worst injuries you can get if you love to hit the weights hard or play sports at a high level is an elbow injury, especially medial and lateral elbow injuries like Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow.
Tennis and Golfer’s Elbow, which hundreds of thousands of people get every year, can trigger pain in just about every lift that you do in the gym, ranging from only slight interference which you can try to just ignore and going all the way to so severe that you can not even perform the movement.
Medial and lateral injuries of the elbow are truly something to contend with for lifters and athletes.
For instance, a heavy curl or other serious lifts that require bicep activity, such as Pull-ups and Rows, might be completely out of the question for a lifter with medial or lateral elbow pain. The level of pain triggered when the area of pain is put under tension can sometimes force you to have to shut down the movement immediately.
Other times, exercises might not bring about such a vicious impulse of pain. For instance, when doing heavy squats, one of the most important lifts for strength, power, and muscle gain, elbow pain most likely won’t make you stop a set, but it might be bad enough for it to linger in your mind throughout the set.
Is that any better, loading hundreds of pounds onto your back and instead of focusing on that lift 100%, you end up keeping part of your attention focused on your bad elbow?
Sounds like a recipe for a lifting accident, being distracted by elbow pain, instead of focusing completely on the technique for such a complex exercise.
Still others who experience conditions like Tennis Elbow, Golfer’s Elbow, and other types of forearm injuries report that the pain they feel is like a headache in their lower arm, that just won’t go away. It doesn’t keep them from training, it’s just always there, like a stain on your shirt that you can not seem to get rid of…
There’s no doubt these injuries suck. The question is, what are these conditions and what are they caused by?
There are many things that can go wrong in the elbow and forearm areas. Throughout this region, there are many relatively small muscles, and while capable of creating fantastic specialized movement such as drawing, painting, and sculpting, these tissues are not always suited for high intensity training – at least not without proper conditioning.
Because we use our hands and lower arms for so many things, and not just in the weight room, cumulative trauma can set it. This kind of slowly accumulating shock to the lower arms adds up over time, and tension can set in. Manual labor jobs, pastimes, using keyboards, and many other repetitive activities can cause this tension, and then without warning, when you do one new movement, lift one weight that is out of your normal capacity, or do something else that is out of the ordinary, it ends up being too much and you get that blaring sensation of pain in the elbow and forearm area.
That’s when you realize that one of these pesky conditions have set in. Tennis Elbow, more formally called lateral epicondylitis, is an injury to the common extensor tendon on the top side of the elbow. Golfer’s Elbow, or medial epicondylitis, attacks the common flexor tendon on the inside of the elbow. Other inflammatory conditions can also creep up on you with little warning.
The problem is, once you get them, you can be hard pressed to get rid of them, because these injuries came about because of the routine movement patterns that you have been doing during recent weeks, months, and years, and for many people, any time you do them again, you will feel that little spike of pain or that red hot poker that keeps getting jabbed in there.
Over the last several years, one of my biggest motivators in the gym has been Grip Strength Training and Feats of Strength. The nature of this training obviously involves a great deal of work with the hands and lower arms, especially when doing things like bending nails and steel bars or ripping decks of cards and phone books. Combine those with hundreds of repetitions on heavy hand grippers, pinching plates and blocks, and lifting thick-handled dumbbells, you have a the ingredients that can be whipped together into a pretty painful mixture, and I have had all of these conditions over the years.
Every time I have found myself with medial or lateral elbow pain or some sort of forearm injury, I have had to do something different in order to get rid of it.
The first time I got lateral epicondylitis (also called tennis elbow) and medial epicondylitis (termed golfer’s elbow) was when I not only first started bending nails, but I also had just started doing stone lifting. I had it so bad in both forearms that in order to get through any workouts, I had to super-dose with anti-inflammatory meds. I did this for weeks, wondering if I would have to stop all together. Imagine my amazement, when simple forearm rotation exercises helped me correct the condition and before you knew it I was back on top of my game again.
Another time, I had such bad forearm pain in my left arm that I couldn’t close grippers that weeks before I was grinding the handles together on. Everyone was looking at me wondering what my problem was, and I was thinking that too – for weeks! Incredibly, I had to work around this pain for the better part of a year, and then during a contest where I had to bend tempered steel bolts, I felt something adjust in my elbow during one of my bends and the pain was instantly gone. Somehow, I had put that bone out of alignment and it stayed there for months until just the right combination of forces when bending the bolt made it go back where it needed to be.
I have had about three other bouts of serious forearm pain, and all of them were caused by different circumstances, whether I wasn’t warmed up right, or I did something stupid, I usually brought it upon myself. The crazy thing is, every time I have gotten conditions like this, I have had to do something different to get rid of it.
Finding the right fix can be toughest part of the whole situation. That is why, I work to prevent these things from coming back.
And believe me – it is a hell of a lot EASIER TO PREVENT forearm injuries that it is to DEAL WITH THE PAIN for weeks and months at a time TRYING TO FIX them.
Like I mentioned earlier, guys who rip, tear, and bend stuff are not the only guys who have this problem. I have spoken with Powerlifters, Bodybuilders, and Strongmen who have had the same or very similar conditions and they are tired of dealing with them.
I even had an email conversation with one of the best bodyweight featists in the world last year and he was asking me what to do about medial and lateral elbow pain. This was a guy I really looked up to and respected, and I knew right then and there, I had to put something together for people to prevent this stuff from coming on.
But, I also knew I had to find some help from someone who had a more calculated and proven process for fixing this type of condition as well, because so many people already have it. That’s when I tracked down Rick Kaselj, from ExercisesforInjuries.com. He is looked to as an expert in the fitness realm for helping people treat injuries without having to spend hundreds of dollars on doctors’ and therapists’ visit, or having to take all kinds of pills or even having surgery.
I contacted Rick and told him my story, and he agreed – we had to put something out there that would be able to help all the people who were either suffering from these injuries, had suffered from them in the past, or those who ran the risk for developing them in the future due to their interests in high performance in the weight room, their job that presented risks for getting these injuries, and the others who don’t realize the sports and pastimes they enjoy might be leading to pain down the road.
That is why we developed Fixing Elbow Pain, Medial and Lateral Elbow Pain Fix for Athletes and Lifters. With this program, if you’ve got one of these conditions going on in your elbow region, we can show you what to do to help resolve it, and you will learn how to keep it away as well.
There’s nothing like feeling 100% every time you hit the weights. That’s what Rick and I are here to help you do.
All the best in your training,