Elbow Joint Pain Relief

On this page I will teach you how to get rid of elbow joint pain that is located at the front side – antecubital pain – or at the backside – olecranon pain – of your elbow.  Antecubital pain is very often related to biceps tendonitis and olecranon pain to triceps tendonitis.

What you will be doing here, is learning how to massage the key muscles that are known to initiate the pain.

If your elbow hurts somewhere else, you still came to the right place. Here are the links to my treatment pages for tennis and golfers elbow.


Your Self-Massage...

... For Antecubital Pain

... For Olecranon Pain

Potentially Responsible Muscles


Further Articles

Antecubital Pain

Olecranon Pain

If you are skeptic and think that self-massage is not for you, you share the same thoughts as most people. But put that aside for a moment and believe in you. Why should you not be able to do it. Follow along my instructions here on this page, apply self-massage and your elbow joint pain might be gone pretty soon.

In the vast majority a elbow joint pain is caused by too tight muscles. What is interesting, is that not only your elbow muscles can cause the pain but also some of your back.

Elbow Joint Pain Relief: Your Self-Massage

Self-massage is one of the most powerful tools for muscle and joint pain relief. The reason for this is, that it can lower excessive muscle tension and eliminate trigger points, which are the most common initiators of muscle and joint pain.

In the following two sections I will guide you step by step through the self-massage for pain in front and at the back of your elbow, respectively. You will find videos as well as written instructions.

Always exclusively focus your massage on tender areas in a muscle. Working on healthy, smooth, non-painful muscle tissue is not necessary. Massage each tender area with max. 15 very short and slow strokes. That means, only massage from right before till right after a painful spot. Then move on to the next muscle or painful point.

If you have issues feeling or massaging a specific muscle, just visit its own site here on Painotopia.  You will find the links in the massage description as well as under the point “Potentially Responsible Muscles”.

Relieve Antecubital Pain

Muscles: Brachialis, Biceps Brachii

With elbow joint pain that is located at its front, there are two muscles that are the main troublemakers. Namely the brachialis, and the biceps brachii. Both of these muscles span over your elbow joint and their main function is to bend or flex it.

Description Of Your Self-Massage:

We start your massage with the brachialis muscle. To locate it, place your thumb slightly above your elbow and exert some pressure.

Now move it a couple of times to the left and right. With that movement you will feel your brachialis jumping under your thumb. Massage the muscle with max. 15 strokes, using the thumb-technique.

Brachialis Self-Massage

Let's move on to the biceps brachii, which is the big and superficial muscle at the front side of your upper arm. If this one is too tight, it's very prone to give you a sore elbow. For massage I recommend using the press and move technique.

Grab around your upper arm. Your fingertips are pressing in the biceps while your thumb is placed at the back of your arm. Now search with your fingers for tender spots by pressing in the muscle. As soon as you find one, stay there and start to very slowly bend and extend your elbow for about 20 times. Repeat this with every painful area in your biceps.

Biceps Self-Massage

Biceps Self-Massage

Relieve Olecranon Pain

Muscles: Triceps Brachii, Serratus Posterior Superior

When it comes to pain at the back of the elbow, you should check two muscles for tenderness. Namely your triceps and your serratus posterior superior. Your triceps is the big muscle at the back of your upper arm and attaches at your olecranon. Thus, excessive tension from this muscle gets directly transferred on your elbow, where it can create pain. 

The serratus on the other hand has no direct muscular connection to your elbow, but trigger points in this one can also give you a painful elbow.

Description Of Your Self-Massage

Start your massage with the triceps. With pain at the back of your elbow joint, it is especially the area directly over its attachment point that is causing trouble. I recommend using the press and move technique for massage.

Form your hands like a shovel and press with your fingers into the muscle tissue at the back of your upper arm. Now bend and extend your elbow a couple of times and search for tender areas by pressurizing the muscle. Stop at every painful location and then slowly bend and extend your elbow for about 20 times through the painful range of motion.

Triceps Self-Massage

Alternatively you can use your knuckles for massage.

Place the knuckle of your index finger on the triceps' attachment tendon.

Then press with your upper arm against your knuckle while rotating the wrist of your massaging hand. This way, massage each painful spot 10 – 15 times.

Triceps Self-Massage

Now we proceed with your serratus posterior superior. Here the tennis ball massage is the way to go. Note: To reach this muscle's fibers, you have to cross the arm of the affected side in front of your body and keep it there. Otherwise its fibers stay “hidden” underneath your shoulder blade and you won't be able to massage them.

Place a tennis ball on the upper and inner side of your shoulder blade. Then lean against a wall and cross your arm in front of your body. Now inspect the upper angle/peak and the upper half of the inner border of the shoulder blade for tender spots by rolling slowly over this area. Work each painful point with 10 – 15 very slow and short strokes.

Serratus Massage Position

Serratus Self-Massage

Potentially Responsible Muscles For Elbow Joint Pain

The muscles displayed below can initiate elbow joint pain. When they are too tight or contain trigger points, they irritate your nervous system, which in turn can give you pain.  They all got already discussed in the forgone paragraphs. Still, if you need or want to review one of them in detail, this is your place.

Note: If a muscle is tender when you palpate it, it is a sign that it is too tight and needs to be released.

Antecubital Pain

Biceps brachii


Olecranon Pain

Triceps brachii

Focus your massage on the area of the trigger point X 5, which usually develops on or slightly above the triceps' tendon.

Serratus posterior superior

Among others, excessive practice of one or more of the following movements or actions can be a cause for your sore elbow.

  • Rock climbing. Affected muscles: Biceps, brachialis, triceps
  • Manual Labor. Affected muscles: Biceps, triceps
  • Heavy lifting. Affected muscles: Biceps, brachialis
  • Coughing and paradoxical breathing. Affected muscle: Serratus posterior superior
  • Poor posture – round back –. Affected muscle: Serratus posterior superior

Symptoms Of Elbow Joint Pain

Among others, you might experience one or more of the following symptoms.

  • Sharp pain in elbow joint
  • Elbow bursa pain – is a differential diagnosis and displays a common misdiagnose
  • Burning pain on the lower part of the biceps
  • Dull pain at the back of the elbow
  • Problems extending or bending the elbow

Thanks for reading. I hope I could help you with your elbow joint pain. If you have any questions or suggestions about this site, feel free to contact me!

Further Articles

› Back/Front Elbow Pain