Severe Elbow Pain

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Forum topic by Christopher posted 09-23-2008 05:25 AM 5663 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Christopher's profile


576 posts in 4125 days

09-23-2008 05:25 AM

Anyone else get nearly crippling elbow pain in both elbows after doing any sanding?

Today after belt and orbital sanding for a short while (45 mins) both my elbows felt like they were going to come apart, the pain was nearly intolerable. It lasted for about an hour (spent pacing the room and sweating) and either self resolved or the ibuprofen kicked in. My elbows ache after I work but this was excruciating. I am still quite uncomfortable but I knew if I got on LJ’s I would instantly feel better!!

18 replies so far

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 4101 days

#1 posted 09-23-2008 05:30 AM

Could be several things——your body posture as you use the tool. Your grip on the tool might be too tight. The constant vibration may jangle the nerves in the elbow to make them hurt.

I use special gloves that dampen the vibration and that helps some. The other is I try to use good body posture and I try to let the sander do the work and not hold onto the sander for dear life.

Hope that helps in some small way.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Christopher's profile


576 posts in 4125 days

#2 posted 09-23-2008 05:34 AM

Thankyou Betsy! I will try all of those suggestions! Kinda scared to sand now if I am going to be punished for it.

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4098 days

#3 posted 09-23-2008 05:40 AM

You are not alone Christopher

my eyes never open in the morning….............they wince first, then they wince again, then maybe they peek open and then stay shut hoping she makes the coffee while I adjust my screaming back

by noon the painkiller pills kick in


and repeat

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View snowdog's profile


1166 posts in 4188 days

#4 posted 09-23-2008 03:44 PM

I would guess it is your grip, try relaxing or at least telling yourself to relax every few mins. Let the tool work for you, stop and take a breath every few mins and notice how your body is feeling then try to relax your stance as you attack the tool again.

-- "so much to learn and so little time"..

View lazyfiremaninTN's profile


528 posts in 4158 days

#5 posted 09-23-2008 04:08 PM

Relax and go with the flow. Sounds like you are to tense while you are working. I would also try the vibration gloves.

-- Adrian ..... The 11th Commandment...."Thou Shalt Not Buy A Wobble Dado"

View DanM's profile


90 posts in 3914 days

#6 posted 09-23-2008 09:04 PM

I wouldn’t discount the possibility of tennis elbow. Technically known as lateral epicondylitis, you can get it from any number of activities which stress the tendons of the elbow in a particular way. I’ve had it in my right arm after using a roller to paint a small section (maybe 8’ x 25’) of the clapboard siding over 5 years ago. Just that one event, and while it flairs & subsides a bit, it’s never gone away. My wife has it in BOTH elbows from doing yoga, of all the damned things.

Needless to say, if the pain continues, you should have it checked out.


View waroland's profile


48 posts in 4092 days

#7 posted 09-23-2008 10:04 PM

I use anti-vibration gloves and a light touch to keep my hands from hurting when I sand. I have not had my elbow hurt from sanding.

-- waroland, Mount Juliet, TN

View bruc101's profile


1260 posts in 3747 days

#8 posted 09-24-2008 05:47 AM

I’ve had this problem, may not be your problem, for 20 years and being a professional woodworker it surely gets to be a chore to work some days. My doctors call my problem tendonitis or tennis elbow. Some days I will use the anti-vibration gloves and it does help. I also have this problem bad sometimes when I use a table saw all day, carving or turning on a lathe.
The doctors told me to wear a brace on my wrist at night because when i sleep my hands will drop down and more or less cut off the blood circulation. When I wear the braces the pain is usually gone the next morning.
Sometimes I will also wear the brace on my right hand when I’m working and that helps a little too.
I’ve learned over the years you not have to only take care of your machinery you have to take care of your body also. I wonder, where were those anti vibration gloves 30 years ago when I got started in woodworking after college.
I’m new to the forum and thanks to everyone who sent me welcome messages.


-- Bruce Free Plans

View DocK16's profile


1184 posts in 4292 days

#9 posted 09-24-2008 06:34 AM

I believe Dan is on the right track diagnosing your problem as tendinitis, it is easily diagnosed but a little tougher to treat. You can test for it yourself, hold your arm out straight (elbow locked) and hand palm up have someone pull your hand down while you resist. If it reproduces the same pain it is a good indicator that it is tendinitis. It is not from vibration or circulation but from small tears in the tendon which attaches forearm muscles to the bony prominence at the elbow. Treatment is anti inflammatories, ice massage over the most inflamed point to reduce swelling and pain. I reccommend filling a styrofoam cup and putting it in the freezer and then tearing off the bottom when froze and use the insulated upper half of the cup to hold with the other hand and rub the sore spot. Avoid aggrivating activites as much as possible; gripping and twisting and especially using a hammer. Vibration dampening gloves can help. Therapy (ultrasound) and stretch techniques are helpful. Elbow manipulation can help break up scar tissue which can form in the tendon tissue. There are elbow braces to take the stress of the tendon while it heals which can take months. Hope this helps

-- Common sense is so rare anymore when you do see it, it looks like pure genius.

View Grumpy's profile


24668 posts in 4056 days

#10 posted 09-24-2008 09:52 AM

I get it from the computer mouse. I must be spending too much time on LJ’s.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Steelmum's profile


355 posts in 4168 days

#11 posted 09-24-2008 01:40 PM

I worked in a factory and used to get tennis elbow. I wore a band around my forearm near my elbow and that helped. What I did to fix it was an exercise: stretch out your arm in front of you and raise and lower your hand at your wrist. ( like ‘paint the fence’ from Karate Kid). The idea is to strengthen the forearm muscle to take more of the work from your elbow. It is not much of a motion and it does take time. After a while I added a small weight, I started with a 1 lb. I did it every morning before work. Wore the armband at work, and it did get better. The armband was bought at the same place that you get the wrist brace and stuff.
Hope you feel better :)

this disclaimer is because I am not a doctor and I am not trying to diagnose or treat anything.

-- Berta in NC

View benchgirl's profile


1 post in 3467 days

#12 posted 06-21-2009 05:32 PM

I have been hoping for a quick fix to this problem. My inside elbow feels like someone is injecting it with acid. Sometimes my hands ‘feel funny” and my shoulder gets into the act once in awhile especially when I am working through the pain.All my life I have been a doer and been repairing and renovating houses, now it hurts just to use a roller. I’m not getting relief. Its been going on for a year now, I ice it and it feels better but it does not last. I even laid off doing anything, not even picking up my little dog or grocies but in the end it returns like I didn’t even try to help myself. woe is me. My nasty doctor said I could have surgery as someone with carpel tunnel but said I wouldn’t want to do that… Pills, ice,braces and booze do not work. I would like to have a doctor open it up and let me have a look and maybe I could figure out the problem, it ain’t rock science afterall, oh yeah by the way I am a jeweler and this has seriously affected my life.

View Richforever's profile


757 posts in 3925 days

#13 posted 06-21-2009 06:02 PM

What I’ve come across: pain in the body is a lack of light energy flowing through the nerves. The light energy comes down through the pineal gland in the head and into the heart. It flows through the nerves into every cell in the body. By visualizing the light flowing through the body in this manner; and by relaxing the muscles; pain can go away. This is how Dad got rid of his cancer years ago.

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

View a1Jim's profile


117342 posts in 3782 days

#14 posted 06-21-2009 07:56 PM

Hey Chris
A couple of things that have helped some of my students are sand at a height were you can comfortable have you arm extended most of they way, Let the sander do the work don’t apply hardly any down ward presser (Just steer the sander), have a soft pad under your work if possible such as the firm carpet pad ,carpet, or anything to help absorb the vibration, your sander could also also be contributory. Some sanders have much more vibration than others and soft start sanders can help to. I agree with the vibration absorbing gloves I just don’t think there safe for saw use. If all else fails talk your wife into sanding LOL
Hope this helps bud.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3790 days

#15 posted 06-21-2009 08:01 PM

45 minutes sanding is not a short time you need to take constant breaks. This is, and will be , a re-ocurring problem.In short your not used to it. So your muscles are up to these things slowly.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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