Many athletes will suffer from tennis elbow at some point in their professional careers, and the tricky part is determining how best to deal with it. While pain moderation and exercise definitely have their perks, a great option to try for pain relief and the healing process is acupuncture. It’s not commonly thought of when learning about tennis elbow, but it can be a huge help to getting you back on the road to recovery, both in the short- and long-term. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, tennis elbow affects between 1% and 3% of the general population in the United States each year. If you think you might be included in these statistics, keep reading to learn more about acupuncture for tennis elbow and whether it can help.
First, What is Tennis Elbow Exactly?
Tennis elbow is a type of tendonitis in the elbow tendons. Even though the name of the condition makes you think that only tennis players can get it, this is very much not the case. Like a lot of conditions, such as athlete’s foot, it’s simply just about who coined the name in terms of diagnosing it formally. Essentially, it is when the tendons in your elbow (epicondylitis) are inflammed from overusing your forearm muscles. The following infographic should give you an idea:
According to a study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, tennis elbow is more common in individuals who perform manual labor, such as carpenters or plumbers, than in individuals who play sports. Common examples in everyday life of those who suffer from tennis elbow are painters, cooks and mechanics and people who play some form of racket sport. Like a lot of conditions to do with the tendons, it’s more focused on the overuse of the tendons than it is on the profession that you’re dealing with. For more information on tennis elbow, refer to our blog post “5 Common Signs That You Have Tennis Elbow“.
Acupuncture for Tennis Elbow – How Does It Work?
Acupuncture involves the careful placement of specialized needles around the affected area, and sometimes other areas of the body which may be “connected” to the affected area. Acupuncture is a very specific treatment that tends to vary with each person and each specific case of tennis elbow. By placing the needles strategically around the affected area, it can help to relieve the inflammation and the associated pain that comes along with it. Once the elbow has had a bit of time to heal on its own, acupuncture in combination with a series of specialized exercises can help with recovery in a big way. Have a look at the following video for an idea on what a session of acupuncture for tennis elbow can look like:
Once a session is complete, which takes around 30 minutes, the elbow is often mobilized to make sure that you are able to get the maximum range of motion and recover each session. In terms of healing entirely, it will take a variety of sessions to see its long-term progress, but it can a great option especially if you’ve tried a lot of other types of treatment and haven’t seen any real results yet.
Acupuncture For Tennis Elbow – Why People Are Opting For It?
In terms of its actual ability to help, there are a lot of reasons why acupuncture should be part of your recovery plan when you’re looking for the maximum benefit in terms of your elbow’s comfort and recovery process. Take a look at some of the highlights that will be waiting for you if you choose to use this treatment option as part of your plan:
- It’s a natural treatment option – These days, more and more people are leaning towards natural treatment options before turning to medicinal or surgical options. Acupuncture is a great natural treatment method, which has been used for thousands of years to treat many different types of pain conditions.
- It can be combined with other treatment methods – When done by a professional, acupuncture can be combined with a series of other treatment methods to speed up the recovery process. For example, a common option to combine with acupuncture is physiotherapy or other stretching and mobilization exercises.
- It can provide short-term and long-term relief – Acupuncture is a unique option for treatment with tennis elbow because it offers long-term relief and recovery to help each person be able to return to their daily activities, but it has also been known to provide short-term relief as well.
Should you consider acupuncture for the treatment of tennis elbow? Unfortunately, it’s impossible for us to answer that one. You may have to try it out for a few sessions to see if it’s a viable solution for you, but at least now you know that it’s an option. But before you go down this road though, we highly recommend that you talk to your doctor and get their opinion. Have you had any luck treating your elbow pain with acupuncture? Leave us comment to let us know! Until next time.
Disclaimer – We are not doctors here at SimplyJnJ. The information on acupuncture for tennis elbow and traditional Chinese medicine posted today was done so for information purposes only. Always check with your doctor before starting a new treatment method.