THE FOLLOWING ARE SYMPTOMS AND CONDITIONS COMMONLY TREATED BY THE WASHINGTON ACUPUNCTURE CENTER.
Tennis elbow is radiohumeral bursitis or epicondylitis caused by muscle strain in such motions as hitting a tennis ball or screwdriving. It may be extremely painful and disable the arm involved. Weakness of the wrist in dorsiflexion may accompany the elbow pain.
X-Ray findings may be negative but sometimes reveal periostitis. Injections of procaine or hydrocortisone into the most painful area may give temporary relief but in some cases may increase the pain. Surgical intervention may result in permanent disability and is unlikely to be successful. Immobilizing the arm in a splint may relieve the pain but result in persistent limitation of elbow mobility and muscle atrophy. Analgesic medications strong enough to relieve the pain may have dangerous side effects and be habit forming.
Acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment for tennis elbow. Six treatments are usually enough for lasting relief. Until the treatments are completed it is advisable not to play tennis or use the involved arm for other strenuous exercise or heavy lifting. Some athletes, however, have had enough relief from the first few treatments to be able to resume their regular schedules.
Increasing the protein content of the diet and supplementing it with vitamins and minerals may improve muscle, bone and joint physiology.