Leeches Are Being Used As A New Tennis Elbow Treatment
What? Leeches used for tennis elbow? Just the thought alone may be enough for some people suffering from tennis elbow to get better overnight.
Who would want their doctor to come into the exam room and say, “We’re ready to start the leech therapy. Nurse, bring the leeches in right now!”
That’s enough to terrorize any tennis elbow patient and cause post traumatic stress disorder!
The answer may surprise you.
First, let’s get a background of medicinal leech therapy so you understand it better.
1. Leech Therapy Has Been Reported In Medical Literature Over 400 Times
This year – 2012 – scientists in Australia reported on studies that used leeches during the process of plastic and reconstructive surgery.
As you know, in some cases that are quite severe, these same types of surgeons may perform tennis elbow surgery. There are different procedures that reconnect the tendons of the elbow.
The scientists in Australia found that 461 articles, which were medical journal reports or studies, were published between 1966 and 2009. That’s a lot of ‘barbaric’ scientists or researchers willing to use the little critters.
2. The Medical Profession Has Standards For Using Leeches
These reports were quite detailed, including the numbers of leeches used in the treatments, the medications that accompanied the leeches, and the details on the blood transfusions afterward.
Of the 461 reports, 67 of them had enough details in them to make sense of it all. This reduced the population of those who had received leech therapy to 277. The ages were as young as 2 years old and as old as 81 years old.
And no surprise that there were twice as many males receiving the leech therapy as females.
3. Success Rate Of Leech Therapy?
The overall success rate was 78%! That’s a shocker in itself. But there were some other things you should know. 50% of the people receiving leeches needed to have blood transfusions.
Seventy-nine percent received antibiotics and another 54% had to take anticoagulants, which are blood thinners.
Complications were experienced in a full 21% of the patients. The source for this information is Microsurgery, March 2012, Volume 32, No. 3.
Specific Leech Study As A Tennis Elbow Treatment
German researchers at the Department of Internal and Integrative Medicine at Kliniken-Essen-Mitte wanted to find out what would happen if leeches were used for tennis elbow.
They knew that other doctors had used leeches for arthritis of the hand and knee and had been pretty successful.
So the doctors found patients with chronic lateral epicondylitis – 40 of them – and got them to agree to have either 2 or 4 leeches put on their elbow for 30 days. The control group had the topical ointment of diclofenac.
By day 7, the patients who had the leeches reported significantly less pain. They also reported a higher quality of life after 45 days and had less disability.
The researchers concluded that a single course of leech therapy effectively reduced pain in those who had tennis elbow. Leeches might be considered an option for tennis elbow, they said.
The report can be found in the Clinical Journal of Pain, June 2011, Vol. 27, No. 5, pages 442-447.
Commentary On Leeches As A New Tennis Elbow Treatment
Well, I don’t know about you but reading these reports makes me want to rush and try every other natural alternative. The first place I’ll go is to the ebook, Tennis Elbow Secrets Revealed .
This ebook uses methods that are simple and don’t involve leeches! The author discovered that simple exercises can be performed to improve the muscles and tendons associated with tennis elbor or chronic lateral epicondylitis.
I’d rather do the exercises than stare at a leech on my elbow for a month. And I shudder to think what my kids would think if they saw leeches on me, or if my business colleagues found that one of them escaped onto the conference room table during some important meeting.
What about you? What do you think? Would you consider leech therapy for tennis elbow? Tell us your comments.