Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is characterised by pain and tenderness over the lateral epicondyle of the humerus. In the UK, the annual incidence of lateral elbow pain in general practice is around 4/1000 to 7/1000 people.(Hamilton 1986) It is most common in people aged between 40 and 50 years (Allander 1974); for example, the incidence is as much as 10% in women aged 42 to 46 years.(Chard 1989; Verhaar 1994).
Tennis elbow is considered an overload injury, and it typically occurs after minor trauma of the extensor muscles of the forearm; tennis is a direct cause in only 5% of people with the condition.(Murtagh 1988). It is primarily a type of tendonitis though the muscles and bones of the epicondyle joint may also be involved. Pain can also occur on the inner side of the elbow, which is known as golfer's elbow. Although generally self-limiting, symptoms of tennis elbow can persist for 1.5 to 2 years or even longer in a minority of people.(Hudak 1996). If the muscles and tendons in your forearm are strained, tiny tears and inflammation can develop near the bony lump (lateral epicondyle) on the outside of your elbow.
Acupuncture may help relieve symptoms of tennis elbow, such as pain and inflammation by:
reducing inflammationimproving muscle stiffness and joint mobility by increasing local microcirculation which aids dispersal of swelling.stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, which leads to release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors (e.g. neuropeptide Y, serotonin), and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord (Pomeranz 1987, Han 2004, Zhao 2008, Zhou 2008, Lee 2009, Cheng 2009);delivering analgesia via alpha-adrenoceptor mechanisms (Koo 2008);increasing the release of adenosine, which has antinociceptive properties (Goldman 2010);modulating the limbic-paralimbic-neocortical network (Hui 2009);
In addition to acupuncture I will often use deep massage to promote healing within the injuried area. Stretches and advice will be give on how to prevent the injury form reoccuring. Sometimes wearing a tennis elbow strap may provide some short term pain releif.