Acupuncture for tennis elbow is one of the conservative therapies for tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis). Some of the other conservative treatments include:
- Low Level Laser
- Cortisone Injections
Ultrasound and low level laser don’t have any side effects associated with them. See the resource (Schmerz. 2008 Feb;22(1):9-15) for more information. Their low cost and successful outcomes make them viable options for those with lateral epicondylitis.
Conservative treatment of tennis elbow for medical treatment is cortisone injections. But there’s a risk in this method: side effects and changes in the tissues around the elbow.
That makes cortisone treatment controversial and even questionable.
Tennis Elbow Acupuncture: Does It Work? First Get Past Bad Attitudes
So now that you know about the “conservative” treatments, let’s review a few medical studies and comment on them about the topic of acupuncture for tennis elbow.
Researchers in Germany wanted to evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture for orthopedic diseases including lateral epicondylitis by evaluating all the studies.
This is kind of the laser way to do research to get it published because they only do minimal work “reviewing” studies. Also, it’s a way for them to try to establish being bossy!
You must know what I mean. Haven’t you ever had someone at work who loves to critique what everyone else is doing while they want you to believe that they’re perfect themselves?
So this is the attitude these scientists had going into the study. Well, they decided that all of the studies on acupuncture for tennis elbow and other orthopedic diseases were not done well. No surprise there!
They concluded with the statement that laser acupuncture for tennis elbow is better than regular acupuncture for lateral epicondylitis because there are fewer side effects.
Side Effects Of Acupuncture
Now anyone who knows anything about tennis elbow acupuncture knows that the side effects are pretty limited and really no big deal at all. Here’s a list of some of them:
- Reduced pain (this is what you want!)
- Perhaps a drop of blood appears when the needle is removed in one of 20 needle sites
- A feeling of tingling sometimes that results when the right spot is selected
- Sometimes tiredness after the treatment (take a nap)
Knowing this, do you see how crazy and biased some of these research studies really are?
Pushback From Other Scientists Vying For Top Dog
This idea of trying to have the final word on a topic by writing a review study is pretty prevalent in the medical literature.
The scientists at the Foundation for the Study of Traditional East Asian Medicine in Amsterdam decided to use the same strategy in 2004. (Source: Rheumatology (Oxford). 2004 Sep;43(9):1085-90. Epub 2004 Jun 22.)
In essence, their report was a rebuttal to the previously mentioned study, saying that internationally, acupuncture is an accepted treatment for many conditions although research on tennis elbow was just promising – not effective but at least it was a relatively safe procedure.
It sounds to me like they just didn’t want to step on the Top Dog’s toes. Big dogs do bite, you know?
A few months later, Canadian doctors had to put in their opinion on the matter. They found that all studies examined – six total – showed that acupuncture for lateral epicondylitis was effective for short-term relief. And five of the six studies showed that acupuncture was more effective than control treatments.
Real Research Studies Involving Lateral Epicondylitis Sufferers
In another study, the researchers from China – where acupuncture is really done well because the Chinese developed it and perfected it, by the way – gave acupuncture for tennis elbow to three different groups of about 30 patients. (Source: Di Yi Jun Yi Da Xue Xue Bao. 2004 Nov;24(11):1328-9.)
One group got electric acupuncture. Another got Fu needling acupuncture without electric therapy to stimulate the needles and the third group got a combination of both.
Electric acupuncture is a method whereby electric current is attached to the needles. It’s not a shocking type of feeling, but pretty gentle.
It feels like tingling and that’s about it. You’ll never feel a jolt of electricity from electric acupuncture!
Fu needling is a specific type of needling named after its creator, a man with Fu as his last name. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find out much more about it. Fu needling is one of the closely guarded Chinese acupuncturists’ secrets.
All the patients experienced pain relief but the ones that received both treatments did the very best. This report was published in the journal called Di Yi Jun Yi Da Xue Xue Bao. Not exactly one you’d be reading on your own spare time.
Moxibustion May Be Used During Tennis Elbow Acupuncture
In another Chinese study (Source: J Tradit Chin Med. 2004 Sep;24(3):194-5.), the type of acupuncture for lateral epicondylitis tested was moxibustion and point injection right into the elbow. Both these are not ordinary types of acupuncture.
Moxibustion is a method of acupuncture where a cone similar to an incense cone is placed near the acupuncture spot.
The cone is organic, containing moxa, which is another name for mugwort. Sometimes the cone is replaced with a small pile of dried mugwort herb. Mugwort is known for its detoxifying properties.
The cone is lit on fire and burns slowly; hence, the name of moxibustion. As it burns, it transmits the healing mugwort herb into the skin via the acupuncture point, stimulating the point and what that point does for the body.
If the point is blocked, it opens and the acupuncture meridian now becomes a stream of flowing energy.
Moxibustion doesn’t burn the skin surprisingly. The practitioner watches the moxa burn to make sure nothing bad happens to the body, and the “fire” is more like a slow smoldering, not a raging flame!
For point injection acupuncture, the doctors injected Chinese herbs called Dan Shen and Ye Mu Gua right into the elbow that had lateral epicondylitis.
According to the report, 30 of 50 patients were cured. Two patients had nothing happen at all. And the rest improved.
So now that you know the harmlessness of tennis elbow acupuncture, will you consider it? If not, really do try to get the ebook, Tennis Elbow Secrets Revealed.