Arm & Elbow problems
Acupuncture for Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow is very common and is often caused by over-gripping hammers, secateurs, screwdrivers, etc.
There is inflammation at the tendon which attaches to the lateral epicondyle of the elbow and the pain results in difficulty gripping everyday objects. Tiny tears occur in the tendon, and the healing process causes the build-up of rough tissue and calcium deposits within the surrounding tissues. Repeated steroid injections into the elbow joint can cause weakening of the tendon and a risk of repeated tears. In severe cases the radial nerve gets pinched, causing further problems in the arm and hand.
If both elbows are affected then there is likely to be an upper back problem compounding the picture.
The key to successful acupuncture treatment is to accurately identify the points of tenderness around the elbow and in the forearm. It is important to treat the forearm muscles because tightness in the muscles can cause excessive pull on the attachment at the lateral epicondyle. One reason that steroid injections may not be successful is because the forearm muscles have not been treated.
In China, tennis elbow is usually treated with acupuncture firstly and if treatment is unsuccessful, steroid injections are used. In this country I often see people who have had steroid injections but if pain is persisting, then they wish to try acupuncture!
Research Articles about Tennis Elbow in the News Section
Acute Strains and pains
These conditions can always be treated with acupuncture. Even if the damaged area is to painful and sensitive to needle, acupuncture points further along the acupuncture channel can reduce pain and swelling quite dramatically.
Acupuncture will speed up recovery and give pain relief to strains and pains. It is one of the advantages of acupuncture that it is possible to treat strains and sprains that may be too painful to work on directly. Points may be chosen either side of the site of injury, further down the acupuncture channel, or sometimes the opposite part of the body is treated! This treatment works since the acupuncture channels form a continuous network, and by regulating the qi (energy) on one side, it will affect the opposite side.
Acupuncture for Sports Injuries
Sports injuries are no different from any other type of musclo-skeletal injury, except that they were done whilst playing sport!
There is no need to go to a specialised sports clinic for treatment. I have treated many athletics in the past with a lot success.
Related articles from the NEWS section
Acupuncture enhances recovery rate following intense exercise
Acupuncture for Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)
Any joint which is repeatedly overused will gradually become weakened. The joint will lack the necessary qi (energy) and blood for its proper functioning. In Chinese medicine this can lead to external climatic factors, such as Wind, Cold and Damp invading the joint and making it more problematic.
In Chinese medicine pain is caused by stagnation of qi (energy) and blood. Imagine a river that has run dry, forming pools of water on the riverbed. In this case there is stagnation of water because there is not enough water flowing down the river. It is similar to repetitive strain injury. The qi is weak and over time it stagnates and causes pain in the affected joint. Treatment would involve needling points locally to move the stuck qi, and also to open up the affected acupuncture channel to increase the flow of water. This may involve needling the opposite limb in order to tap into more energy, and move it to the affected area.
When a joint has become weakened, it is then vulnerable to Cold, Damp, and Wind entering the joint and becoming lodged there. We see this all the time in the clinic. In York I treated a patient who had very painful knuckles and when I touched them they were very cold, even though the rest of his body was warm. He had been working on roofs for 27 years (in Yorkshire), without wearing protective gloves. The Wind had driven the Cold into the knuckle joints, which then prevented the qi moving freely. Cold has a contracting nature, and this impedes movement. Treatment involved burning a Chinese herb ‘moxa’ on the end of acupuncture needles to send warmth between his knuckles and into acupuncture channels.
Another example is a patient who had a repetitive strain injury in her right hand following excessive use of a computer mouse. Her hand felt very cold and the cold continued halfway up her arm. She was a vegan and ate a lot of raw and cold food. She had a lot of cold internally due to eating a cold diet for a long time, combined with a weakness of qi and blood due to using a mouse. This allowed cold from outside to easily enter her weakened hand and wrist. This was successfully treated with three acupuncture sessions using moxa to warm the channels.
Repetitive stain injury is characterised by a weakness in qi and blood, with the possible complication of Cold, Wind and Damp becoming lodged in the acupuncture channels.
Most cases respond very well with acupuncture treatment.
Acupuncture for Lymphoedema
There is an interesting pilot study looking at the safety and efficacy of acupuncture for lymphoedema.
It relates to acupuncture for lymphoedema after breast cancer surgery.
Follow this LINK to the article in the News section.