Acupuncture for Tennis Elbow. Tennis elbow is a term used to describe pain that is located on the outside of the elbow. It involves inflammation of the tendons around the bony knob on the outside of the elbow, called the lateral epicondyle. This causes pain and tenderness in the elbow where the tendons connect to the bone as well as pain that refers up and down the arm.
But don’t only tennis players get tennis elbow? The answer is no. Tennis elbow is called so because of the tendency for tennis players to be affected but it is also commonly seen in weight lifters, carpenters, painters, and those who spend a lot of time typing, raking, knitting, and as I can attest to, driving. When I was in grad school and writing a lot and commuting 90 miles a day to and from school, guess who got tennis elbow! yep me.
Main symptoms of tennis elbow are:
- Persistent pain on the outside of the forearm near the elbow
- Pain that is triggered by bending your arm or lifting something
- Pain that occurs when writing or gripping small objects
- Pain when turning or twisting your forearm
- Difficulty with extending the arm
Tennis elbow can be quite persistent. In most cases it will disappear within a year, however it may take longer for others. For some professions, like musicians and sport people, tennis elbow can be very disruptive and affect performance and playing. When chronic, it is classified as repetitive strain injury.
Conventional medicine treatment. Commonly prescribed treatments for tennis elbow include: rest, ice, using a support strap, taking over the counter pain relievers, and gentle stretching exercises. In severe cases, doctors may prescribe steroid injections, opioids, or surgery. Many people turn to acupuncture when conventional treatments aren’t relieving the pain and they want to avoid pharmaceutical medication or surgery.
How can acupuncture help with tennis elbow?
- Acupuncture can help by relaxing the shortened tight muscles that are pulling on the elbow. This reduces the pressure on the tendon bone junction so that the body can begin to repair the damage
- Acupuncture promotes circulation directly over the inflamed tissue, allowing blood to nourish and repair the elbow.
- Acupuncture reduces local inflammation
- Acupuncture increases the release of adenosine which is a natural chemical found in our DNA. This chemical helps to reduce pain sensitivity.
- Acupuncture stimulated local nerves, promoting the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller.
Proven effective in multiple studies.
Acupuncture has been proven effective for relieving the pain of tennis elbow in numerous empirical research studies
over the past few decades. In a systematic review of research published in the Journal of Rheumatology in 2004, six randomized controlled trials were deemed high-quality and accepted for review. All six of these studies concluded that acupuncture was effective in the relief of tennis elbow.Five of the six studies indicated that acupuncture treatment was more effective than the intervention offered to the control group.
Doctors at Mayo Clinic performed a recent study in which they treated 22 people that experienced chronic tennis elbow. These sufferers could not find regular relief with the help of conventional medicine. 80 percent of the participants were able to find last relief with acupuncture
As for my tennis elbow, with an extra boost from acupuncture, it’s all better now! If you would like to learn more about how acupuncture can ease that elbow pain, give me a call or schedule an appointment online.