Acupuncture As A Treatment For Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow, which is also known as lateral epicondylitis or extensor tendinopathy is a condition that causes pain outside of the elbow. The primary cause for this condition is degeneration or inflammation of the tendon of the extensor muscles near the elbow due to strenuous overuse. Most tennis players do get this condition, but it is also common to people who repetitively stress the muscles around the elbows such as decorating, painting, weight lifting or typing.  Tennis elbow develops gradually over a period of days or can develop suddenly, and the injury can be difficult to treat if it is chronic.

Acupuncture For Tennis Elbow
Acupuncture For Tennis Elbow

The main symptoms of tennis elbow are elbow pain when pressing outside of the elbow, and the pain tends to worsen when the wrist is straightened, twisted or lifted.  One also feels weakness in the wrist when performing simple tasks such as opening the door.  It is important to seek treatment so as to ensure quick recovery and also reduce the chances of reoccurrence. The common types of treatment include physiotherapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, local steroid injections, bracing and surgery. However, acupuncture has been used for a while now, and most studies show that it is an effective way to treat tennis elbow by alleviating the symptoms. Most people will prefer this method of treatment because it is natural.

Acupuncture for tennis elbow is a way of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for treating pain, and it has been accepted in the modern western medicine. In TCM, the Qi flows along the meridians which are pathways in the body. The theory behind its work is that it helps unblock the body channels where energy flows from the cells.  When the channels are blocked, then there is the restriction of energy flow, hence leading to serious symptoms such as pain. When acupuncture is done, these blocked areas are released, hence minimizing pain on the elbow.

Another way that acupuncture for tennis elbow works to relieve pain is by stimulating the nervous system and releasing neurochemicals hence promoting emotional and physical well being. When the pressure points are stimulated during acupuncture, the brain receives messages to reduce stress and pain which then reduces anxiety and allows one to relax.

Acupuncture for tennis elbow also relieves symptoms such as inflammation and pain through:

  • Stimulation of the nerves in the muscle and other tissues, hence leading to the release of the endorphin hormone and neurohumoral factors and changes the pain process in the spinal cord and brain.
  • Delivery of analgesia through the alpha-adrenoceptor mechanisms.
  • Modulation of the limbic- paralimbic-neocortical network
  • Increasing the release of adenosine, which contains antinociceptive properties.
  • Promotion of the vascular and immunomodulatory factor release, hence reducing inflammation.
  • Increasing local microcirculation, which aids in the dispersal of swelling, hence improves muscle stiffness and joint mobility.

Acupuncture for tennis elbow treatment is administered when the person is either in supine or sitting position, and the acupuncturist knows the exact points that the needles need to be placed. The acupuncturist uses 40mm sterile, disposable acupuncture needles which are rounded which makes it easier for the needle to enter the muscle tissue beneath the skin without causing any injury or damage. When the needles are placed in a particular region, then they stimulate the points that cause blockage and increase the blood flow to the area, hence allowing the healing process to start, reduces inflammation and strengthens the tendons.

The insertion points of acupuncture for tennis elbow are usually not near the elbow, and this is because if the intricate energy circulation blocks one part of the body, it will have effects of the energy blockage in another place.  Some of these points include:

  1. Large intestine 10 also called LI 10 or Arms Three Miles, which is located 1 inch below the elbow fold on the forearm.  Stimulation at this point helps relieve immobility and arm pain and eases inflammation of the elbow by stimulating energy flow along the large intestine channel.
  2. Large intestine 11 also called LI 11 or Pool at the Crook which is located in the large hollow that is found on the outer end of the elbow creases. When this area is blocked, it becomes tender hence acupuncture will heat and relax the arm sinews.
  3. Large intestine 12 also called LI 12 or Elbow Bone which is located above the elbow fold, and when it is stimulated, it relieves numbness, reduces pain that moves up towards the shoulder, relaxes the sinews and relieves inflammation and swelling.
  4. Large intestine 5 which is located on the radial side of the wrist and inside a depression between the brevis tendons and extensor pollicis longus. When stimulated it relieves wrist pain.
  5. Large intestine 6 also clad LUO Connecting Point, which is located just 3 inches higher than the large intestine and towards the elbow. When stimulated, it relieves pain in the wrist, arms, and elbows.
  6. Lung point 5 also known as Cubit Marsh which is located at the elbow crease outside the biceps brachii tendon. Stimulation at this point helps relieve pain in the upper arm and also regulates water level within the body hence balances the water involved in inflammation.
  7. Lung point 6 which is located 5 inches away from lung point 5 towards the wrist when the palm is facing up. When stimulate it relieves pain in the forearms, wrist, and elbow.
  8. Heart point 3 also known as Lesser Sea, which is located between the cubital crease end and the medial humerus epicondyle. When stimulated it relieves pain, tremors, numbness in the lower arms and hands.
  9. Triple warmer 6 which is located 3 inches above the TH4 and in the middle of the ulna and radius on the radial side at the tip of the olecranon Iine and the digitorium muscle extensor. Applying pressure helps relieve shoulder and arm pain, and shoulder and back heaviness.
  10. Triple warmer 10 also known as TH 10 or Celestial Well, which is located 1 inch above the olecranon process in a depression. When stimulated it reduces the elbow pain, swelling, and tendinitis.

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Tennis Elbow Exercises

Tennis Elbow Exercises

Tennis elbow also commonly known as lateral epicondylitis is caused when the muscles of the forearm that attach to the elbow are injured. It is as a result of the inflammation of the extensor tendon. It can be caused by repetitive activity and is sometimes common in tennis players as well as people in the painting, plumbing and carpentry profession.

Tennis Elbow Symptoms

Symptoms of tennis elbow include a painful or burning sensation on the outside of the elbow and the strength in your grip of objects becomes weaker. You may even find some simple tasks a bit more difficult to perform such as opening the door. If these symptoms develop over time, they could get worse and will require treatment.

Tennis Elbow Treatment

This involves reducing symptoms of pain. Some methods of treatment are available at http://elbowpainsolutions.com/elbowpain/tennis-elbow-painful-truth/ and more are listed below.

Ice: This is used to apply cold compression for about 15 minutes or less to the injured tissues.

Elbow Brace: You can also wear an elbow brace to help with the prevention of further injury and to help with the healing process. The brace will apply compression and change the direction of forces allowing the injured tissue to rest.

Rest: This form of treatment cannot be emphasized enough. Continuous use of the elbow will slow down the recovery process and make it very difficult to press. Avoid gripping and lifting heavy objects to help heal.

Massage: Carefully rub across the painful area for about 5 minutes. Be sure to not press too hard. You may feel some mild pain when massaging the injured area. If the pain worsens, seek the services of a doctor to help with the treatment process.

Surgery: This is the last resort to the treatment of tennis elbow and is used in cases where the above remedies have not worked in helping the injuries heal. The injury could take up to 8 weeks to heal after surgery.

Exercises: Tennis Elbow Exercises that help with stretching and strengthening are very important to the healing process. Some people may opt to use painkillers before carrying out these tennis elbow exercises to help stay active without causing extra pain.

To help ease the pain from the injury and in some cases prevent further injury from occurring, listed below are a few exercises you can try out.

  1. Ball Squeeze

This tennis elbow exercises helps with improving your grip on objects and improving your ability to perform day to day tasks with ease. Hold the tennis ball in your hand and make a fist around it to allow you to squeeze the ball. Hold this position for about 6 seconds then relax for about 10 seconds. Repeat this process 10 times to help strengthen your muscles.

  1. Wrist Extension

While seated, hold a 2-pound dumbbell in your hand with your palm facing down. Rest your elbow on your knee comfortably. Curl your wrist towards your body to extend your wrist, then return it to the starting position. Repeat this process 10 times on each arm.

  1. Supination Exercise

Stand with your feet apart to the width of your shoulders. You can also choose to do this exercise while seated with your elbow resting on your knee. While holding a can or dumbbell, bring your arm out in front of you parallel to the floor. Rotate your palm up and then rotate it back to face the other direction. Repeat this 20 times or so for each side. You can try and isolate the movement of your lower arm by keeping your elbow very still.

  1. Triceps Stretch
Tennis Elbow Exercises
Tennis Elbow triceps Exercises

This tennis elbow exercises may be a bit difficult. Bend your arm behind your back and put some gentle pressure on your elbow using your other arm. This will help you feel the stretch. Hold this position for about 30 seconds and then release. You can do this exercise 3 times in a day to help reduce stiffness and improve your range of motion.

  1. Forearm Flexor

Sit in a chair and let your forearm lay flat on an armrest or on your thigh. Hold a 2-pound dumbbell in your hand with your palm facing upwards. Flop your wrist over the armrest or knee while holding the weight and slowly bend your wrist upwards until it is in line with your forearm. Repeat this for about 10 reps for each side, 3 times every other day.

  1. Wrist Flexion

Hold a 2-pound dumbbell while seated with your palm facing upwards and your elbow resting on your knee or on the chair’s armrest. Flex your wrist by curling it towards your body while your palm faces upwards. Return to starting position and repeat this rep about 10 times. Try to isolate wrist movement by keeping the rest of your arm very still.

  1. Towel Twist

Hold a towel with both hands while sitting on a chair with your shoulders relaxed. Twist the towel using both hands in opposite directions as if you are wringing water out of it. Repeat this process about 10 times in one direction then switch.

  1. Forearm Extensor

Raise your arm in front of you to about 90 degrees. Turn your hand so that your thumb faces downwards then bend your wrist. With your other hand grab the other fingers and slowly pull on them to increase the stretch on your forearm. Hold this position for about 30 seconds and then release. You can carry out this exercise at least twice in one day to help with improved blood flow. This will in turn help with speeding up the healing process.

Seek Medical Advice

Before starting any tennis elbow exercises, consult a doctor. Their diagnosis will help in ruling out any serious injuries. Exercises work well when the inflammation has significantly reduced as it may make the condition much worse. If you experience any pain after having done any of these exercises, use some ice to help relieve the pain, let your arm rest and consult with a doctor for better advisement.

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Elbow Pain

elbow pain

The elbow is a joint formed where three bones come together. It lets you throw, swing and lift objects. If anything happens to this joint, it could result in elbow pain.

Elbow pain is mostly as a result of over exertion. Repetitive hand or wrist movements are associated with sports, jobs and day to day tasks. If you are heavily involved in lifting objects and swinging objects such as rackets and golf clubs, you could easily be prone to experiencing elbow pain. In some other cases, elbow pain may be as a result of diseases.

Causes of Elbow Pain

Common causes of elbow pain range from diseases to fractures. The elbow is less prone to wear and tear than many other joints but is still susceptible to injury.

Some of these causes include tennis elbow, arthritis in its various forms which include rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, bursitis, a broken arm, golfer’s elbow, stress fractures, tendinitis and sprains, and strains.

Strains and Fractures

Sometimes, one could end up with a dislocated or fractured elbow. If one of the bones forming the elbow gets knocked out of place it will result in a dislocated elbow. When this occurs, it is best to consult a doctor as soon as possible.

A fractured elbow is as a result of one of the bones breaking and this will require immediate medical attention as well. Sprains and strains are also quite common causes of elbow pain. A strain is caused by a muscle tear when too much pressure is exerted onto elbow muscles when lifting objects or playing sports.

Tennis Elbow

Common diagnoses of elbow pain are tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow. This is dependent on the location of the pain. Elbow pain diagnosed as tennis elbow is a condition that can develop over time due to repetitive motions. People affected by tennis elbow include those in the professions of painting, plumbing, typing, and carpentry. People who enjoy playing tennis, squash, and weightlifting are also subject to tennis elbow. This will result in more stress applied to the tendons and could result in an injury.

Treatment of elbow pain can be simple and easy resulting in reduced pain and the ability to perform tasks with much more ease.

Diseases

An example of a disease that can cause elbow pain is arthritis. Arthritis can come in form of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common to occur in the elbow and can cause this joint to swell. Osteoarthritis occurs when a cartilage in the elbow breaks down causing the bones to rub together and this, in turn, causes pain.

Diagnosing Elbow Pain

Diagnosis is done by a medical professional through any one of the following methods: the use of CT scans, physical examination and study of medical history, x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and conducting a biopsy of bursa fluid.

These methods will help identify the cause of elbow pain and identify a mode of treatment to ease the pain.

Treating Elbow Pain

The steps involved in the treatment of elbow pain include identifying the location of the pain, identifying the cause and eventually seeking medical assistance to help start the healing process.

Get a head start on treating your elbow pain to prevent it from being more painful and unbearable. The treatment may involve surgery or medicine and can sometimes include simple remedies and exercises.

Exercises

Gentle stretching is one way to reduce elbow pain as long as it is done carefully. Stretching in a pain-free manner helps improve your motion overall and improves blood flow to help speed up the healing process. Perform these stretches 3-5 times in a day to reduce elbow pain. Do not rush this process. If you experience pain after stretching, use some ice to help ease the pain and put your elbow to rest.

Counterforce Braces

Elbow braces are commonly used to prevent injuries and also to help in healing elbow injuries or reducing elbow pain. These braces help in dissipating the force from the muscles before it can get to the point of elbow pain. The brace should fit accurately; it should not be too tight such that it prevents blood circulation. Acquiring an elbow brace can be upon recommendation from a doctor after diagnosis.

Numerous factors are involved when looking for elbow braces. Be sure to consider cost, fit and how they are best suited to your healing process before going out to buy one. To help with making a more informed decision, check out http://elbowpainsolutions.com/elbowpain/tennis-elbow-strap-will-work-best/.

Ice Or Heat

Placing some ice on the injured area for a period of about 15 minutes in a day can help reduce the swelling and pain. This can be done at least once a day to help with the treatment process.

Applying heat to the area affected can help improve blood flow thus speeding up the healing process. Be sure to avoid direct heat contact with the skin and instead use a hot pack. Place this around the elbow and forearm area to treat the elbow pain.

Prevention Measures

To prevent any causes of elbow pain, it is important to sometimes take breaks from repetitive tasks to help strengthen the muscles around this joint. Be sure to warm up adequately, stretch as regularly as possible and correct any wrong techniques being used during sports or when lifting objects. Consult a doctor to advise on other preventive mechanisms that you can use to help in preventing elbow pain.

Recovery

Do not rush the recovery process when healing from injuries that cause elbow pain. The extent of damage differs with each person and so does the healing rate. Once you are properly healed you should be able to lift or grip objects and even flex with much more ease and without experiencing any elbow pain. The elbow will no longer be swollen or inflamed thus signifying that you have now recovered and can return to your former level of activity. Just be sure to not over exert yourself.

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Tennis Elbow Treatments

Tendon injuries are very common and if not treated, they can be painful and in most cases affect mobility due to the stiffness and inflammation. Tendon injuries occur near the joint such as the shoulder, the ankle the knee, and elbow. This is why we are going to talk about tennis elbow treatments.
tennis elbow treatments

A gradual wear and tear of tendons are referred to as Tendinopathy, which includes both inflammation and microtears – tiny tears in and around the tendon due to overuse or aging.

Anyone can suffer this injury in their daily activity, however, this injury is very common amongst sports personalities such as athletes, golfers, and body builders because they tend to exert this area making the same motions over and over again.

Tendinopathy symptoms are:

  1. Pain when using the tendon
  2. Stiffness during the night and when you get up in the morning
  3. The area feels tender, appears red, feels warm and inflamed
  4. A crunchy sound when using the tendon

Tennis Elbow Treatments

Also known as Lateral Epicondylitis in the medical field, is a tendon injury that is experienced by people who repetitively use their forearm such as butchers, carpenters, assembly line workers, cooks and, even playing musical instruments. But like its name, it is an injury commonly diagnosed with people who play tennis. The pain occurs on the tendon and the Extensor Carpi Radialis (ECRB) muscle of the forearm.

Although Tennis Elbow may heal on its own when you give it ample time to rest, when left untreated the tears on the extensor muscle can lead to severe inflammation and chronic pain, which would make it painful to lift even the lightest things. This would prove difficult for a tennis player to grip a racket let alone use a backhand movement. Most likely a person will need to seek tennis elbow treatments in order to gain full use.

Tennis Elbow Treatments: The Standard

While you can be able to alleviate some of the Tennis Elbow pain by resting the arm and using ice packs on the area as often as possible, however, if it becomes increasingly difficult to lift or grip things and the area is too sore and painful to touch, you need to seek treatment, which includes:

  • Having an X-ray, Ultrasound or an MRI scan, which is more effective and will give a more detailed information on the elbow injury.
  • Pain Medication such as anti-inflammatory drugs or steroids Injections.
  • Use of forearm splint brace or cast to hold the tendon in place.
  • Tennis Elbow Invasive Surgery.

Alternatives Fir Tennis Elbow Treatments

  • Acupuncture: Tiny needles are inserted into certain pressure points to break down scar tissue and stimulate the release of the body’s natural painkillers – Endorphins in the muscles.
  • Active Release Technique: A manual hand therapy that breaks scar tissue, while the muscle and joints are taken through the natural range of motions, thus freeing the nerve and restoring normal motion.
  • Prolotherapy where a sugar solution is injected to degenerated tendon, tricking the body that a new injury has occurred and in response the body increases blood supply to the area, promoting tissue regeneration.

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Treatment of Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow treatment

Treatment involves reducing symptoms of pain and inflammation through rest and applying ice or cold therapy, then gradually increasing the load through the elbow through exercises to a point where normal training and competition can be resumed.
Tennis Elbow join painIce & compression – In the first 72 hours post injury, you should apply the principles of P.R.I.C.E. (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation). Apply a cold compression wrap for no more than 15 minutes as the injured tissues are very close to the skin and do not need longer.

Protection – Wear a specialist elbow brace or support can help reduce the strain on the tendon enabling healing to take place. This works by applying compression around the upper arm which puts pressure on the injured tendon, changing the way forces are transmitted through it allowing the injured tissues to rest.

Rest – this is probably the most impotant part of treatment and is often difficult to do. If you continue to use the painful elbow then it will not recover as quickly and may become chronic and very difficult to treat. Avoid gripping heavy things, opening heavy doors, using a screw driver and of course playing a backhand in tennis.

Sports massage can be a useful treatment for tennis elbow, particularly more chronic conditions. In particular cross friction massage of the tendon insertion but only once the initial inflammation has settled (after 5 day) is done. Place the 2nd finger of your opposite hand on the outside of the elbow and rub across the tendon (painful area) for 5 minutes. Do not press too hard but there may be some mild pain whilst having the area ‘frictioned’. Repeat once a day. Do not carry on with this exercise if the pain worsens after the treatment.

A professional therapist or doctor may prescribe medication such as Ibuprofen to help reduce symptoms in the early stages, however the effectiveness of this long term is disputed. In addition electrotherapy such as ultrasound, laser, extracorporeal shock wave therapy, acupuncture, corticosteroid injections, nitric oxide donor therapy patches, botox injections and autologogous blood injection are all treatments available for treating medial epicondylitis.

Read more on these and tennis elbow treatments.

Exercises

Both stretching and strengthening exercises are important and provide the foundation of a rehabilitation program. The exercises should be performed as soon as pain allows and then continued until and after full fitness has been achieved.

wrist extensor exercises

Wrist extension stretches and exercises are the most important with the aim of gradually increasing the load transmitted through the tendon and its attachment whilst also being within the limits of pain. Isometric (also known as static exercises) are done first and involve contracting the muscles without actually moving the wrist. They should only be started once the initial pain and inflammation has settled down.

Read more on tennis elbow exercises.

Surgery

Both golfers elbow and tennis elbow are approached in a similar manner which it comes to surgery. The vast majority of cases of tennis elbow do respond to conservative treatment of rest, ice, ultrasound and occasionally a steroid injection, however if however if surgery is required then it may be 8 weeks before the patient has recovered. See our interview with Mr Elliot Sorene, Consultant Surgeon who explains when surgery may be indicated and which patients are most suitable.

First Published on  Sportsinjuryclinic.net

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Elbow Pain, Why I have It and What To Do About it

This is the post excerpt.

Have pain on the inside of your elbow?

Are you experiencing a burning or stinging sensation in your elbow joint? If you are you are likely experiencing some form of tendentious. If your pain radiates on the outside of your forearm and elbow you have a case of Golfers Elbow. If the pain radiates on the inside of your elbow this means you have Tennis Elbow.
Tennis, Golf and weight lifters Elbow
It is not uncommon for a person to experience tendentious in both the outside and inside elbow or Golfers Elbow and Tennis Elbow. Both issues are caused by inflammation or thickening of the Extensor Carpi Radialis Tendon. These injuries are often slow to develop and are noticed as the burning sensation increases over time. People will notice their tendentious pain in their day to day lives as the inflammation increases in their tennis elbow. Issues with grabbing and holding objects, extending your form arm to reach or pull an object or even just pulling up your pants can irritate the condition.

Sharp Pain in The Tip of The Elbow

Once a person is experiencing the burning pain sensation their tendentious is likely chronic and will be difficult to treat. Pain in your elbows is caused by repetitive strain injuries. These strains can be experienced from many weight lifting movements with both heavy and light weights being able to cause the irritation. Examples of lifting movements that will increase tendentious and pain are:

-Arm Curls
-Bench Press
-Pull Ups
-Pushups

It isn’t just weight lifters, tennis players and golfers that are prone to repetitive strain tendentious. Any person that completes repetitive tasks with their hands and arms can become a victim of tendentious pain.

-Typing with improper form
-Grabbing and squeezing repeatedly such as factory workers
-Golf
-Baseball
-Tennis

Tennis Elbow can result in pain when straughtening your arm or gripping

The common thread in all elbow tendentious is the type and location of the pain a person will experience. Pain from elbow tendentious is often described as a burning sensation or a pulling tension inside the joint on the outside of the arm. People experiencing Golf Elbow will feel pain on the inside of their arm with the same sensations as Tennis Elbow.

Tennis elbow

There are elbow pain solutions that can cure both Tennis and Golf Elbow. The very first move is to take a break from what is causing the pain. This is often hard for people as it could affect their lively hood but for people who can rest it is an important factor in healing from the inflammation caused by repetitive injury. Next up is ice. Icing your elbow over the pain area for 20 minutes at a time at least 5 times a day to start. This will greatly control the inflammation in your joint which will decrease the pain you often feel when your elbow is flexing.

NSAIDS can and should be used to reduce inflammation in your joint. These drugs are known as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil or Aleve. Both drugs are safe to use for extended periods of time when used as directed and both will decrease inflammation in your joints and tendons.

How to continue your activities and reduce pain

Bracing and compression can also help treat acute tendentious. Weight lifters and dedicated golfers and tennis players often are not willing to let their tendentious pain interfere with their fun and exercise. In these cases, it is recommended that braces are used while participating in these activities.

Braces can put pressure on the tendons which will reduce the pain at the tendon contact point where it meets the bone of your elbow. These braces also reduce the amount of moment the user can experience thus reducing the damage to the tendons when under strenuous use. Without any questions a brace or cuff for tennis elbow will help reduce pain and inflamation when you are using your injured arm.

Once you’ve reduced the swelling of your Radialis Tendon you can begin to rehabilitate your injury. The name of the game is gentle and slow. Any activity that irritates your tendentious will undo any improvements you have made. Once your tendons are injured almost any amount of motion or strain in your elbow can cause your injury become inflamed again which means you need to start the healing process over again.

When it’s time to rehab your elbow pain there are several great options that can be completed at home. Please read our article “Your guide to free home rehab”.

If your Tennis or Golf Elbow isn’t healing, you can visit your local rehabilitation clinic. Options for severe or treatment resistant tendentious can be steroid injections in the affected tendons. Also, ultrasound can be used to break up scar tissue inside the joint. Most cases of Tennis elbow can be resolved on your own by following my instructions.

As first seen on Elbowpainsolutions.comFirst blog post