You don’t have to be a superstar tennis player to suffer from tennis elbow. In fact you don’t have to be a tennis player at all. Most of my patients with lateral epicondylitis suffer as a result of some other cause such as carrying, lifting or repetitive actions at work or in the garden. This causes inflammation and microscopic tears of the muscles and tendons where they attach to the outside of the elbow. The result? Often burning pain and discomfort.
Research has shown that simple acupuncture can help resolve tennis elbow and the treatments can be remarkably relaxing. Very fine sterile needles are inserted around the elbow and in other parts of the body depending on each individual’s treatment needs. Some of the needles are inserted and removed immediately whilst others a left in place for 20 minutes or so whilst the patient relaxes or often falls asleep.
The treatment also often includes moxabustion (a type of heat therapy that uses the herb mugwort to warm an area and help relieve pain and inflammation) and sometimes a light massage of the area to relax the muscles.
Most of my patients find the pain reduces almost immediately but usually at least five treatments are needed to resolve the root problem.
It is essential that patients help the healing process themselves. Resting the injury if possible is invaluable, as is an anti inflammatory diet and strengthening exercises. A good acupuncturist will help you develop useful home treatment strategies to promote your healing.
Gaynor Hollis is a Classical Five Element Acupuncturist with a thriving practice in Birmingham. She is interested in all things healthy and life style related not just Chinese and Japanese acupuncture.