Suffering From Tennis Elbow? Chinese Medicine Can Help!
Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a common elbow injury that is usually caused by repetitive motions including gripping and/or flexing or supinating (turning or holding the hand so that the palm is facing upwards) the wrist, for example when playing tennis, painting, typing, raking etc. The repetitive motion causes inflammation and, in some cases, micro tearing of the tendons that join the forearm muscles to the outside of the elbow. The main tendon involved is the extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB), but can affect many extending muscles and tendons in the forearm.
Symptoms usually develop gradually with mild pain that slowly worsens over weeks and months. Once set in, tennis elbow usually presents with burning pain on the outside (lateral) elbow, reduced grip strength and is worsened with forearm activity. Due to the inflammation in the elbow, the muscles around the forearms are usually very tight and it can also have effects on the wrist, shoulder or neck. Due to this gradual tightening and inflammation of the muscles and tendons in the forearm it is imperative that these symptoms are caught and proper treatment and care commence as soon as possible, the longer it has set in for the harder it can be to treat and bring back to good health.
Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine can be a very effective method of returning proper circulation to the affected tissues allowing for healing and reduced inflammation in the area in turn relieving pain and swelling in the elbow and forearm region.
A study from 1994 on the analgesic effect of acupuncture in chronic tennis elbow pain put together a placebo-controlled single-blind trial with 48 patients who were placed in either the acupuncture treatment group or placebo group. The acupuncture treatment group received acupuncture on distal Chinese medicine points on the leg to treat the elbow pain. The placebo group received placebo acupuncture avoiding penetration of the skin with an acupuncture needle.
The overall reduction in pain in the acupuncture group was 55.8% compared to 15% in the placebo group. After one treatment nineteen out of the twenty four (79.2%) patients in the acupuncture group reported pain relief of at least 50%, compared to only six out of twenty four (25%) in the placebo group. Lastly the average duration of analgesia after one treatment was 20.2 hours in the acupuncture group compared with only 1.4 hours in the placebo group. The results are statistically significant and indicate that acupuncture may have a strong analgesic effect on elbow pain/tennis elbow.
At Village Remedies, your practitioner will treat you as a whole person as well as assess and treat your elbow pain. In Chinese medicine we prefer to look at the client as a whole person, we believe this gives us a better understanding of your overall health and will give you a better outcome not only for the main complaint (elbow in this case), but better health in general. We will also discuss your digestion and sleep and try to improve any issues here as well. If you are sleeping well and your digestion is working well you are in the best possible position to heal the elbow as well as any other issues.
Acupuncture can also assist to nudge the body into the rest and digest parasympathetic nervous response promoting better digestion, restful sleep and improved mood allowing for better healing and improved circulation to the elbow and forearm.