What is Tennis & Golfer’s Elbow?
If you are experiencing pain in the elbow or forearm or if your golf or tennis game is suffering, I have good news for you. Acupuncture can alleviate the pain you are experiencing so you can get back to the activities that you enjoy.
Many people suffer from severe pain in the elbow and forearm. Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is pain at the lateral side of the elbow. When the arm is laid across the chest, like you are doing the pledge of allegiance, the lateral epicondyle is the little boney protuberance at the elbow that is facing the sky. If you play a lot of tennis, this area can become very sore, and usually makes playing tennis extremely painful and difficult. Many other repetitive actions can also cause pain in this area. For most people, if this goes untreated, the pain will progress until it is difficult to perform activities of daily living.
Golfer’s elbow, also known as medial epicondylitis, is pain at the medial side of the elbow. When the arm is laid across the chest, like you are doing the pledge of allegiance, the medial epicondyle is the little boney protuberance at the elbow that is touching your abdomen. If you play a lot of golf, this area can become very sore, usually making playing golf extremely painful and difficult. Many other repetitive actions can also cause pain in this area. For most people, if this goes untreated, the pain will progress until it is difficult to perform activities of daily living.
Many of my patients are very discouraged when they start to develop pain in either of these areas. They usually come to me saying that their golf or tennis games are suffering and that their form is off. The pain often causes these people to decrease the frequency of play or cut the games short. This can be the beginning of a downward spiral of physical decline. These once very active people, stop being active due to the pain they are experiencing. When activity decreases, many of these people become sedentary, which leads to physical decline in other areas of their body. Don’t let this happen to you.
How Does Acupuncture Help?
Even if you have tried acupuncture before and did not get the results you wanted, I encourage you to try it again. Zang-Fu diagnosis is the type of diagnosis that is taught in American acupuncture schools. Most acupuncturists utilize this diagnostic method to diagnose and treat their patients. Some patients improve completely, some get a significant reduction in pain, and others get only a small amount of pain relief. This type of diagnosis strategy works great for Chinese Herbs, but for acupuncture the results are inconsistent.
Until recently, this is the type of acupuncture diagnosis that I used in my practice. I was frustrated because the outcome between patients was not consistent. I am happy to report that I have learned a new type of diagnosis that is getting fantastic results when it comes to the achievement of pain relief. My patients are now getting pain relief within minutes of the insertion of the acupuncture needles.
This diagnosis method is called meridian theory. Meridian diagnosis and treatment is the most effective acupuncture method. It is not taught in the acupuncture schools, however, so most acupuncturists do not use this method. That is why I encourage you to try acupuncture again if you didn’t get relief the first time and if you are still experiencing elbow and forearm pain.
What Kind Of Acupuncture Is Used?
If you can use one finger and point to where the pain is, there is a good chance that only one or two needles will be needed. I use the mirroring and imaging formats to select the appropriate point. To treat the elbow, I will put the acupuncture needles into the opposite knee. If the pain area is larger than one finger and encompasses the entire forearm, more needles will be needed to correspond with the larger area of pain. I would use acupressure to push on corresponding areas on your opposite shin and lower leg and you would tell me which points are tender to the touch. The tender areas are the points I would use. This approach makes each treatment unique, it is rare that exactly the same points are used from treatment to treatment.
The needles are stimulated periodically over the course of about 45 minutes. Soft lighting and music plays so you become very relaxed during the course of the treatment. Depending on the exact circumstances of your pain, stretching, massage, moxibustion or electro-acupuncture may be used in addition to the acupuncture. Instructions about home self-treatment will be given as well.
Treatment results vary depending on the length of time the pain has been present, your overall health, and your ability to rest the arm between treatments. Most patients see a dramatic reduction in pain within the first 3 treatments. If the pain is chronic and if you continue to overuse the arm between treatments, then progress is usually a bit slower. I recommend 6-12 treatments total in most cases. Results are the best if you can come 2 times for the first three weeks, then once per week for three weeks, then as needed for maintenance. If you make an effort to rest the arm and perform the suggested home treatment, results can be fast and long lasting so you can resume your pursuit of the activities you enjoy.
Call (239) 774-2444 and schedule an acupuncture appointment today!