Tennis elbow doesn’t just affect people who play tennis. Office workers, students, or anyone who spends a lot of time typing are at greater risk of developing lateral epicondylitis (the ‘doctor term’ for tennis elbow).
What is Tennis Elbow
The wrist extensors are a group of muscles that run along the back of the forearm. Their job is to extend your wrist (the action you’d make if you were pretending to ride a motorcycle). Tennis elbow is an irritation of the tendons of these muscles that attaches to the outside of the elbow.
When we use these muscles a lot (like when we play tennis, or type), they can get overworked. Due to the repetitive strain of this group of muscles pulling on the same part of the bone, it can cause inflammation and irritation on the outside of the elbow.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow is often described as an ache or pain felt on the outside of the elbow. The pain usually gets worse after activity that uses the forearm muscles. Grasping or holding can be painful. Stiffness and achiness in the morning is a common sign or tennis elbow, and can persist well into treatment, even as the pain starts to disappear. In more progressed cases of tennis elbow, swelling, redness and heat can be present at the elbow.
There are multiple aspects to treatment that are important when dealing with tennis elbow. Specific massage work on the affected muscles, icing and targeted exercise are all beneficial for a speedy recovery.
Acupuncture is AMAZING when it comes to tennis elbow. We have had patients come in who have tried treatments at other facilities and gotten no relief, and after a few sessions of acupuncture they’re already feeling much better! Most of the time it only takes 2-3 needles each session to have a positive impact. The needles are painless and only have to stay in for 10-12 minutes!
The acupuncture needles help clean up the pain-causing chemical environment around the nerves and increase blood flow to the area to help flush away inflammation and kick-start the healing process. This can often be the missing piece of treatment for people who have been suffering from tennis elbow for a while. A chronic tennis elbow (one that has persisted for more than 3 months) can be treated VERY effectively with acupuncture.