Acupuncture for Tennis Elbow: Benefits and Best Practices
Tennis elbow is a condition that occurs when tendons in your elbow are overused. It is followed by pain, and it comes as a result of repetitive motions of the wrist and arm. It doesn’t affect only athletes, but people whose job involves frequent motion – plumbers, carpenters, painters, or butchers.
You may notice that the pain occurs primarily in the area where your forearm muscles’ tendons attach to the outside of your elbow. Pain may spread into your forearm and wrist.
Painkillers and rest may help ease the signs of tennis elbow. However, these are just temporary solutions. If left untreated, tennis elbow may cause severe and unbearable pain that prevents you from performing your daily activities. Herbs and acupuncture for tennis elbow may help you get rid of pain, providing long-term results. These drug-free Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatments are safe and efficient for addressing different kinds of pain that might interfere with your everyday life.
In this article, you will find more useful information about tennis elbow and its best treatments, including herbs, acupuncture, massage, and sports medicine.
Makari Wellness: Best Acupuncture for Tennis Elbow
At Makari Wellness, we give our best to provide the safest and most efficient acupuncture for golfer’s elbow, tennis elbow, tendonitis, and similar musculoskeletal injuries. We combine the best techniques to deliver unique treatment for tennis elbow to relieve pain, stiffness, and discomfort.
Call us at (888) 871-8889 to book the treatment of initial symptoms of acupuncture for tennis elbow at Makari Wellness.
What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is a painful condition that often affects athletes and people whose jobs require repetitive motion. It results from muscle overuse or strain injury, and it is followed by pain that may spread from the outside of your elbow into your forearm and wrist.
The Most Common Tennis Elbow Symptoms
Due to pain and weakness, you may feel difficulties shaking hands or gripping an object, turning a doorknob, or holding a cup of coffee.
The pain usually aggravates after activities that use the forearm muscles. You may also feel stiffness and achiness in the morning, while more severe cases of tennis elbow might be followed by redness and swelling.
Tennis Elbow Causes
Tennis elbow is caused by muscle overuse, which consists of a repeated contraction of the forearm muscles you use to straighten and raise your hand and wrist. These repeated motions and stress to the tissue may affect the tendons that attach to the forearm muscles, resulting in tennis elbow.
Its name suggests that activities such as playing tennis may increase the risk of developing tennis elbow, especially if we’re using the wrong technique while performing them. Tennis elbow is commonly caused by:
- Everyday use of plumbing tools
- Driving screws
- Cutting up meat and other cooking ingredients
- Repetitive use of computer mouse.
Most Efficient Tennis Elbow Treatment Options
If you notice any signs that might indicate tennis elbow, you should do a physical exam and get the right diagnosis. Once your practitioner determines the exact cause of your problem, you can get the best treatment for tennis elbow to alleviate pain and resolve your issue.
Most doctors will recommend analgesics, such as ibuprofen, to ease the tennis elbow pain. However, painkillers are just temporary solutions. Untreated signs of tennis elbow may lead to a severe condition that might require surgery. To prevent it, you should seek integrative treatment solutions that deliver long-term improvements.
A Vital Connection Between Acupuncture and Tennis Elbow
Acupuncture for tennis elbow has proven its efficiency in alleviating pain and resolving this condition’s most common symptoms. Acupuncture is an ancient method based on a holistic approach. It has been widely used to treat various problems with muscles, tendons, joints, or musculoskeletal disorders in general, including:
- Frozen shoulder
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Spinal stenosis
- Bulging disc
- Golfer’s elbow
Acupuncture involves using small, thin, and stainless steel acupuncture needles to stimulate specific acupoints on the human body. By addressing those points, a licensed acupuncturist encourages the flow of blood and qi, which is a vital energy that flows through invisible pathways in the body.
The role of acupuncture needles is to purify the pain-causing chemical environment located around the nerves and increase blood circulation to the area. Therefore, acupuncture flushes away inflammation and helps to heal tennis elbow and similar conditions.
Acupuncture is incredibly beneficial for treating pain and discomfort. It is often used alongside other TCM treatments, including herbs and massage for tennis elbow to deliver better and more long-lasting results.
A certified Chinese herbalist may recommend herbal supplements to treat tennis elbow more efficiently. The most commonly prescribed anti-inflammatory herbs are bromelain, turmeric, and ginger, but you may also take vitamins, fish oil, and collagen supplements.
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Acupuncture Points for Tennis Elbow
A certified acupuncturist will select the acupoints based on your particular condition. When it comes to treating tennis elbow, it is recommended to stimulate the following points:
- LI10 is located on the forearm’s outer surface, and its stimulation is essential for treating neck tightness, shoulder pain, and tennis elbow.
- LI11 is one of the strongest points in the body, and it is vital for removing heat.
- LU5 is located with the elbow slightly flexed, and its stimulation may help treat spasmodic elbow pain and similar issues.
- LI4 is found on the highest point of the muscle when the thumb and index fingers are held together. It is used for facial pain, stress, neck pain, and headaches.
- SJ5 is essential for alleviating pain and spasm of the upper extremities.
In most acupuncture treatments, needles remain on the body’s surface for about 25 minutes.
Sports Medicine and Massage for Tennis Elbow
Although you might feel pain relief, you should know that tennis elbow may reoccur. Therefore, it is vital to prevent any injury that might cause more severe pain and discomfort. To avoid any inconvenience in the future and experience more solid improvements, a licensed TCM practitioner may recommend massage therapy to relieve tennis elbow symptoms. Sports medicine can significantly help people dealing with tennis elbow. One of the most efficient approaches includes Active Release Techniques (ART). This method is used to treat the body’s soft tissue using precise depth and tension. It is incredibly efficient for addressing injured muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves. ART is the most common treatment for tennis elbow and other musculoskeletal disorders. Like acupuncture, it enhances circulation, breaks down scar tissue, alleviates pain, releases muscle spasms, and improves flexibility. ART consists of almost 500 different moves a practitioner can use to create a custom-tailored treatment according to the patient’s needs. These techniques deliver physical and physiological benefits to patients. They aim to treat muscle pain and improve stiffness in the following conditions:
- Tennis elbow
- Sports injuries
- Plantar fasciitis
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
How to Treat Tennis Elbow with Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA)?
Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) is a type of assessment method that helps determine the pain source and the mobility issue (joint, muscle, or fascial restriction, or motor control problem).
If you notice that your tennis elbow pain doesn’t cease even if you’re treating it, it means that you’re not focusing on the fundamental cause of the problem. The truth is that tennis elbow results from an inflammatory process at the outer lateral elbow, often caused by repetitive strain type injury, but there can be other causes of this specific condition.
An SFMA-certified practitioner will identify the root of your problem and find an adequate treatment to address it. In the case of tennis elbow, the pain source might be either nerve inflammation from a bulging disc in the neck or trigger points in the rotator cuff shoulder muscles. Once a therapist determines the pain source, you may get a suitable treatment.
Depending on what caused your tennis elbow and the severity of your dysfunction, your therapist may suggest the combination of the following treatments:
- Orthopedic dry needling
- Active Release Techniques (ART)
- Nano acupuncture
- Gua Sha
- Corrective exercises.
At-Home Remedy for Tennis Elbow
Besides tennis elbow therapies, you can apply some self-care tips to reduce pain, stiffness, and dysfunction. Still, we suggest you consult your practitioner before trying home remedies to prevent potential inflammation or injuries.
Rest Your Elbow
It is vital to rest your arm and avoid repetitive movements that triggered the inflammation. If you perform your daily activities, make sure you do it slowly. If you start to feel the pain in the meantime, it’s better to stop whatever you’re doing.
Use Ice Packs
By putting ice packs on your elbow, you may reduce inflammation and feel instant pain relief. You can wrap the ice in a cloth or towel to ensure the ice cannot damage your skin. Hold the ice pack for about 15 – 20 minutes, 3 – 4 times a day.
Compress Your Elbow
Compression may reduce muscle fatigue. Wrap a compression bandage around your elbow and make sure you can move your fingers after it.
Do Gentle Exercise and Stretching
Gentle stretching exercises can help you ease the pain and improve your arm’s function. For example, you can gently pull your fingers back towards your arm for about 15 seconds. Relax and repeat several times.
Improve Your Technique
If you know what activities caused your tennis elbow pain, you will need to improve your technique or adapt it to the current situation. Athletes might need new equipment or adjust the method they use, while those whose inflammation resulted from repetitive motion at work should try to make their workplace safer and more ergonomic.