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Y.C. Chan, OMD, Dipl Ac
Acupuncture For Tennis Elbow
Acupuncture Clinic of Maryland

Acupuncture For Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow is inflammation of the tendons in your elbow. Tendons are strong tissues that connect muscle to bone.

Tennis elbow is caused by overuse of the muscles in your forearm. These muscles are used to straighten your arm or lift your hand and wrist. Fast, repeated arm movements can lead to inflammation and small tears in your tendon. Tennis, painting, and manual labor are common activities that can cause tennis elbow.

A similar condition called golfer's elbow can occur around the other side of the elbow. Symptoms for both conditions can persist for many months or years, unless the treatment is properly addressed.

The symptoms of tennis elbow can include pain when you straighten your arm or rotate your wrist and forearm outward, weakness in your wrist or hand, trouble holding, lifting, or grabbing an object, (such as a coffee cup), tenderness on the outside of your elbow, or red, swollen, warm skin on the outside of your elbow. Some patients also experience tenderness, stiffness or swelling.

An accurate diagnosis is critical to receiving the proper treatment.

Acupuncture treatment usually accelerates the healing process by improving circulation and blood supply to the affected area, as well as relieving the pain. The effectiveness of acupuncture for tennis elbow is well documented by many experienced practitioners. One study of 58 patients with tennis elbow treated by acupuncture reported that 52% of the participants reported no symptoms for up to six months after treatment; an additional 40% had excellent results after six months.

One impressive study of acupuncture treatment for tennis elbow was presented at the November 2000 annual meeting of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in San Francisco. The study chair was a physician, Dr. Peter Dorsher, who reported that 22 patients with varying degrees of tennis elbow were treated 2-10 times, with an average of 3.9 treatments, with every patient reporting a disappearance of pain. Dr. Dorsher said that it was unclear why acupuncture seemed to help patients in early and later stages of tennis elbow, and that the needles appeared to immediately loosen the tight muscle around the elbow joints.

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