Acupuncture for Medial Epicondylitis or Golfer’s Elbow
Medial epicondylitis (or commonly called “golfer’s elbow”) is an overuse injury characterized by pain and inflammation on the inside of the elbow where the muscles that flex the wrist attach to the bone. Golfer’s elbow is associated with racquet sports and is similar to tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) in many ways. Golfers, bowlers, archers, weight lifters and anyone who performs repeated motions of the wrist are at risk of developing this condition. Rest and appropriate treatment can get you swinging again.
Symptoms of Golfer’s Elbow
Golfer’s elbow causes pain and tenderness where the tendons of your forearm muscles attach to the inside of your elbow (medial epicondyle). Sometimes, the pain extends along the inside of the forearm and spreads into the forearm and wrist. Additionally, there may be numbness or tingling in one or more fingers — usually the ring and little fingers.
There are a host of movements that typically worsen the pain. These include swinging a golf club or racket, squeezing or pitching a ball, making a fist, shaking hands, turning a doorknob, flexing the wrist, picking up something with the palm down.
How acupuncture can help
Acupuncture is a gentle, non-medicated treatment that stimulates the body to promote healing and facilitates rehabilitation from injuries. It is a safe form of treatment for elbow injuries and can provide a three part approach in treating golfer’s elbow. It increases circulation to the affected area, relaxes spasmed muscles, and stimulates the body to release endorphins and natural anti-inflammatory compounds. These compounds improve the range of motion in the affected area and help in pain management and recuperation.
The acupuncturist will take a detailed medical history in order to reach a correct diagnosis. Some acupuncturists also perform an extensive orthopedic examination of the arm that includes range of motion and resisted testing. The acupuncturist will also be checking for signs of swelling, redness and tenderness. These tests will help identify the tendons and muscles that will be targeted for treatment.
The treatment may be applied above and below the injured joint, as well as at what are known in acupuncture as ‘mirror points’. Mirror points in this case would include the uninjured elbow and the knees. Once there is sufficient recovery, some acupuncturists may perform trigger point therapy, PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching), or transverse friction massage technique in order to ensure that the patient gets the most out of rehabilitation. A trigger point is a tight area within muscle tissue that causes pain in other parts of the body and PNF refers to stretching that enhances the range of motion, improves motor performance, and aids rehabilitation. Transverse Friction Massage is a therapeutic connective tissue massage technique that is performed at the site of the injured tendon in order to breakdown scar tissue.
There is no need to suffer from the pain associated with golfer’s elbow. Acupuncture is a safe and reliable alternative treatment of this condition and can help you back into the swing of things.