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There are specific careers and jobs that require more physical labor and elbow grease than others.
And just one of these jobs is painting.
It doesn’t matter if this is your career, you paint as a hobby or you are an actual paint contractor, you are at risk of developing a painful elbow condition referred to as painters elbow.
Here’s the thing:
Individuals who suffer from this injury and condition are usually unaware that it is exactly the same as a tennis elbow injury.
Now you might be wondering:
If the injuries are the same, shouldn’t the treatment methods be identical?
I’ll answer this question in a moment but first …
In order to successfully recover so you can continue painting without taking time off, painters such as yourself need to know how this injury develops and what structures/soft tissues of the elbow are affected.
Painters elbow is commonly described as a dull aching pain that sometimes feels hot on the outside of your forearm muscles near your elbow.
The most common symptom is fatigue and pain when holding and using your paint brush or roller.
Within the first couple of weeks of developing this condition, it’s not uncommon to experience a little swelling and inflammation.
If there are no visible signs of swelling, an easy way to check whether you have any is to simply measure both arms at the upper forearm/elbow region.
If your affected elbow is larger than your unaffected elbow, then it’s safe to say you have inflammation.
But here’s what is shocking to me …
The majority of painters who complain of pain and discomfort in their upper forearms and elbows simply blow it off and attribute it to putting in a hard day at work.
This is when things go from bad to worse because
This is the first indication that there is something more serious going on in your forearm and elbow that is causing you this pain and discomfort.
See this post on how to Quickly Stop Upper Forearm Pain In Just 2 Steps.
You most likely have already noticed that it has impacted your job performance and you can’t paint nearly as long as you used too.
Am I right?
Here’s the deal:
In order to beat your injury into the ground, you need to look at and address the mechanics behind painting and using your brush or roller.
Spending hours each day holding and gripping your brush or roller really puts a lot of strain and pressure on your dominant arm.
Physically gripping the brush or roller requires engaging the extensor and flexor tendons and muscles in the forearm that lead and attach at the elbow.
Then a painter makes specific, detailed strokes with their brush that requires pin point accuracy which again puts strain and pressure on the tendons and muscles.
Overtime, these tendons eventually breakdown from all the wear, tear and stress.
Very small micro tears start to develop, especially in the extensor tendon.
Your extensor tendon can be thought of as a rope.
The strain associated with painting starts to make the “rope”(extensor tendon) unravel.
This is when you start to feel the true pain of your injury and you realize that this is no ordinary pain but something a little more serious.
Here is another interesting post on painters elbow and why it is exactly the same injury as tennis elbow.
Your pain can get so bad that it interferes with your job performance and you may even have to cancel contracts or appointments.
So what are your options?
My first suggestion is to look at your brush and roller.
Seek out an alternative more ergonomic brush for starters.
This brush is called the Right Brush.
The reason for success behind this brush is that it has been created and designed by a painter for painters.
It has an ergonomic right angle handle that helps alleviate and take the strain, stress and pressure away from your wrist, fingers and forearm flexors and extensors.
It is such a simple design that allows your grip to remain in a neutral position as you paint.
This allows larger muscles in your forearms and arms to take much of the strain allowing your already injured small flexors, extensors and tendons to rest.
If your pain gets to the point where you can’t even hold this kind of brush, the best thing to do is listen to your body and take a few days off.
When it comes to using your roller, did you know there is a better alternative to your everyday normal roller handle?
It is called the RoboHandle!
It takes the pressure off your wrist and forearm flexors and extensors and makes your larger muscles such as your biceps and triceps take most of the strain.
Here is a picture of the RoboHandle:
Make sure that you elevate your injured arm and apply ice at least twice a day for 10 to 15 minutes at a time.
The worst thing you can do is throw on an elbow brace and keep working.
This will only make your painters elbow worse and increase the length of time it takes for you to recover.
Other common mistakes made by painters with elbow pain is popping anti-inflammatories every 2-3 hours, smearing on messy anti-inflammatory gels or creams, getting cortisone injections or opting for surgery.
Elbow surgery is usually only an option when all avenues have been exhausted and explored.
For painters who are serious about eliminating their painters elbow as quick as possible so that you don’t have to take time off work or abandon your hobby all together, there’s no need to spend hundreds of dollars on doctors, elbow braces, massage or physical therapy, painful cortisone shots or pop pills like candy day after day in order to get elbow pain relief.
To be honest with you, all it takes to treat and recover from your elbow injury is the same treatment methods used for tennis elbow.
And the best part is that all you really need are 5 simple techniques that you can do from the comfort of your own living room while watching your favorite TV show without the need for any special exercise equipment or medical gadgets.
Click on the button below where you a video will show you these 5 simple steps that you can even do while on the job or on lunch break.
is the author of Tennis Elbow Secrets Revealed which has been teaching individuals how to overcome their tennis elbow injury at home since 2005 with over 1,767,986 copies sold.
He is a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer and Exercise Rehab Specialist based in Vancouver, BC, Canada