Acupuncture is a time-worn and popular method of holistic treatment for various aches and pains proven to be an effective treatment against multiple types of conditions, particularly those suffered by athletes. But would acupuncture work for such straining injuries as tennis elbow?
Acupuncture has proven to be at least mildly effective in treating such conditions as tennis elbow.
But to understand what makes the treatment effective, it is necessary to understand how tennis elbow presents as an injury, how acupuncture works as a practice, and the risks involved with the procedure.
What Is Tennis Elbow?
As the name might suggest, tennis elbow is an injury that is common among tennis players – and others who make repetitive motions with their arms or wrist. Tennis elbow occurs when the soft tissues and muscles in the arm and wrist become irritated. The chief symptoms of tennis elbow are pain and a limited range of motion.
What is Acupuncture?
The modern practice of acupuncture is derived from the ancient Chinese holistic medicinal approach meant to improve qi’s flow or life force energy, throughout the body, by inserting tiny needles into strategic points on the patient’s body.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
During an acupuncture session, the acupuncturist inserts tiny needles to varying depths under the patient’s skin. In certain instances, the point of insertion may not be anywhere close to the area experiencing pain. For example, in the tennis elbow treatment, the acupuncturist may insert the needle into another part of the body to allow the nerve impulse to migrate to the injured area.
Beyond the initial prick of the needle on your skin, you may not even feel it at all, depending on how sensitive you are to needles. The only uncomfortable sensation may be if the needle is manipulated directly on the sore spot.
The needles’ insertion helps to stimulate the nervous system and inhibits the neurological responses that transmit pain. Additionally, because the patient is relaxed and the muscles and soft tissues are being manipulated, serotonin and dopamine are being produced, which can have that same pain-mitigating effect, if not to block it altogether.
Although acupuncture can be an effective treatment for aches and pains of different sorts, it may not be for everyone. It is best to consult a medical professional before undergoing any alternative practice. Acupuncture may pose risks for individuals with certain bleeding disorders, pacemakers, or who may be pregnant.
A Final Word
There isn’t a tremendous amount of concrete scientific study to back up the practice of acupuncture. But there are thousands of years’ worth of continual practice and patient testimony that lend credence to acupuncture as a way of treating pain. And for the sufferer of tennis elbow, a few sessions of acupuncture are well worth the ability to stop their pain, improve their range of motion, and feel better overall.