When someone experiences elbow pain it will usually be felt around the bony prominence on the inside or outside of the elbow, with the outside being much more common. Those bony prominences are where forearm muscles attach and are known as epicondyles. Epicondylitis or Epicondylosis are the condition names mostly associated with elbow pain. More familiar names are Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow, but elbow pain is not limited to just these sports. Weightlifters, musicians, and those that spend a lot of time on a keyboard often experience elbow pain.
Generally speaking elbow pain is due to overuse of the soft tissues that attach to the epicondyles at the elbow. If you put your hand over the muscles of the forearm close to the elbow, while moving your wrist and fingers, you will feel those muscles working. Now add some pressure and really feel the quality of the muscles. They probably feel lumpy or stringy. As these muscles are overworked they become scarred and fibrotic. This puts a lot of stress through the tendon. The tendon is what attaches the muscles to the epicondyles. These elbow tendons are unique because they are shared with several muscles acting as an anchor.
Since the underlying cause of a majority of these conditions is soft tissue scarring, that is ultimately what needs to be treated and resolved. This is why elbow conditions respond really well to manual therapy. Cortisone and other pain medication will not resolve these soft tissue problems. Other modifications are often considered as well. This could include work and exercise.