We know that acupuncture can be extremely effective for treating various types of pain, but can it be as effective for nagging conditions like tennis elbow?
What is tennis elbow?
Tennis elbow is classified as pain or tenderness that occurs in the lateral epicondyle in the humerus. This is otherwise classified as elbow pain. The condition is common among people between the ages of 40 to 50 years old and it occurs in roughly 6 out of 1,000 people. This condition is usually considered a repetitive strain injury as a result of ongoing performance movement. It acts like tendinitis that sends shocks of pain through the main elbow joint as well as the muscles and bones. Pain can not only occur on the inside of the elbow but up and through the entire forearm. Pain symptoms usually persist for around two years and sometimes even longer in people that have exacerbated their condition due to continuous and repetitive strains in their muscles.
How does acupuncture treat tennis elbow?
Acupuncture effectively treats tennis elbow by allowing for a more natural energy (Qi) flow throughout the body. In the Traditional Chinese Medical perspective Qi flows through the body along pathways also known as meridians. Using this principal tendinitis or tennis elbow is like a river that has been dammed. As a result of this blocked energy there is too much pressure which is causing ongoing pain and a restriction in flexibility. By breaking through this energetic blockage it’s possible for the body to actually heal itself and maintain its regular flow of energy. This is exactly what’s done in an acupuncture appointment when treating tennis elbow. Sterile needles are inserted into specific points throughout the body to break up the blockage(s) and redirect energy flow to help the body to heal itself. Participants are encouraged to regularly exercise their elbow to improve the healing process and to minimize symptoms of pain/discomfort.
Can acupuncture be effective in treating tennis elbow?
Doctors at the 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 medication or other procedures and tried acupuncture. Amazingly 80% of the participants were able to find lasting relief with an extra 10% of the study finding an improvement in flexibility and performance as a result of acupuncture. Most of these patients had tried anti-inflammatory drugs regularly, wearing braces as well as cortisone injections but acupuncture helped them to find the greatest form of relief.
A similar study was done in 2001 were Dr. Peter Dorsher completed a trial consisting of 22 patients who received rehabilitation treatments with acupuncture. 77% of the participants no longer had symptoms of tennis elbow and had regained the full use of their arms. Many of these patients had experienced symptoms for months and had tried multiple therapies apart from acupuncture without success. The techniques in acupuncture for this study also included micro current electronic stimulation and heat applications to improve results. Dorsher further went on to add that the acupuncture seem to be helpful for patients that were in the later stages of tennis elbow. Treatment with the needles appeared to loosen up tight muscles around the elbow joint and the therapy was so effective that it has now become his primary form of treatment for this condition. He also suggested that acupuncture is an extremely powerful tool for pain.
Can acupuncture cure tennis elbow?
While it can be difficult to know for sure, acupuncture can work very well at reducing the symptoms of tennis elbow. A percentage of people could be completely cured of chronic tennis elbow over the course of regular treatments. Acupuncture is sometimes used to alleviate the symptoms of tennis elbow but as found in some of the studies, generally around 10% of people can find a complete and permanent cure for the condition.
The good news about alleviating symptoms with the help of acupuncture is that they are basically risk-free. While cortisone injections, medical therapy and anti-inflammatory medication can all come with side effects, all of the side effects that come from acupuncture are for the most part risk-free. Many people that seek acupuncture treatment for tennis elbow often experience other benefits when it comes to improving their sleep, stress levels and overall wellness as a result of simply managing their symptoms of pain.
If you have tennis elbow you should strongly consider seeking treatment with acupuncture. You have nothing to lose and with the proven positive benefits of Traditional Chinese Medicine you could reduce your symptoms of pain as well as the improve the quality of your life.