Tennis elbow is a common injury often caused by repetitive motions that include gripping and/or flexing, or supinating the wrist (turning or holding the hand so the palm faces upwards). Also called lateral epicondylitis, tennis elbow can be caused by playing tennis, of course, or activities involving similar movements such as typing, painting, playing musical instruments and gardening.
The repetitive motion causes inflammation and possibly even micro tears in the tendons joining the muscles in the forearm to the outside of the elbow. The symptoms tend to gradually get worse over several weeks or months and you know it’s most likely tennis elbow when there is burning pain on the outside of the elbow, reduced grip strength and pain when spreading the fingers. The symptoms worsen with any type of forearm activity. The muscles around the forearm are tight and can lead to discomfort or pain in the wrist, shoulder or neck.
Like many injuries, the sooner treatment begins the better – it’s much easier to remedy the injury when it’s new. So, once you notice symptoms, have it checked and consider using acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine. Both these methods can return proper circulation to the tissues so pain relief, healing and a reduction in inflammation can occur.
Chinese medicine has been used for thousands of years and takes a holistic approach to healing, looking at the client as a whole person, body and mind, which is believed to give a better understanding of overall health. Treatment at registered Chinese medicine clinics like Village Remedies, will not only focus on the main injury or complaint, but also on sleep and digestion, as if they are functioning well, then the body is in a better position to heal, not only the elbow, but by providing better general health.
Treatment Using Acupuncture
Chinese medicine practitioners will ascertain the history and extent of the injury, along with information about the overall health of the client. Very fine needles are inserted into relevant acupuncture points on the body and may include points away from the site of pain, such as the legs. This improves the flow of energy throughout the body and by doing so will relieve the pain, gently trigger the body’s recovery process and also nourish the affected tendons.
A study looking at the analgesic effect of acupuncture for tennis elbow pain was carried out using 2 groups of patients – one group received real acupuncture treatment and the other group received placebo acupuncture (no actual penetration of the skin with acupuncture needles). Pain reduction was 55.8% in the acupuncture group compared to 15% in the placebo group. Also, the duration of pain relief was over 20 hours in the acupuncture group compared to just 1.4 hours in the placebo group. This suggests that acupuncture is very effective on the pain caused by tennis elbow.
Apart from the relief for elbow pain, acupuncture can help shift the body into a ‘rest and digest’ state that promotes better sleep, digestion and mood. In this state the body is able to heal more effectively.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Along with acupuncture, a Chinese medicine practitioner may recommend Chinese herbal medicine to complement the treatment. Chinese herbs can be used to support the healing effects of the acupuncture in between sessions. A herbal formula may include specific herbs to relieve the pain, improve blood circulation and promote overall body health. Chinese herbal formulas often include certain herbs which will promote the function of the main herbs and reduce any possible side effects.
Chinese herbal medicine is extremely safe, with very few side effects, if any, and offers not only pain relief but healing. Reconsider over the counter pain relief which really just masks the issue. Put a stop to elbow pain and get in touch with a registered Chinese medicine clinic near you. You’ll be at the top of your game in no time.