I have had a number of patients come and see me recently with the same complaint of tennis elbow. What struck me was they had all heard of acupuncture, or had acupuncture treatment for something else but hadn’t thought acupuncture could help with pain in the elbow. There are articles in magazines about how acupuncture can help with back pain, so people are aware of it. And the reputation for acupuncture to help with fertility issues is growing all the time. But there are so many things acupuncture can help with that people are not aware of, including tennis elbow, sore knees, and frozen shoulder to name a few.
One of my patients had been to see her GP. She had been suffering with pain in the elbow for four months. It was so sore it was keeping her awake at night, but stronger and stronger painkillers weren’t helping. She couldn’t rest the arm because she has a small child and needs to pick him up out of the cot, and carry him downstairs etc. The advice from her GP was to take stronger painkillers, have a steroid injection or go for surgery. I was talking to her and suggested she come for acupuncture before she tried an injection or had surgery. After three treatments her elbow was less sore and no longer kept her awake at night. After three more treatments the pain had nearly all gone, and was just an occasional dull ache. She was surprised and pleased with how much the acupuncture had helped in just a few weeks when the pain had been bad for so many months.
Another patient was a builder and plasterer who had terrible pain in his elbow. He was self employed so didn’t want to take time off and couldn’t rest his arm while he was working. After the first treatment it felt better for a day, but was sore as soon as he started work again. It took four treatments for the benefit to last for longer, and another five treatments for it to get better. Progress was slow because each week he was using his elbow and causing more damage to the muscles and tendons, but he could continue to work which was important to him, and his elbow did get better in a few months.
My third patient was having physiotherapy at the clinic for her sore elbow. The physio treatment was helping but she was about to go on holiday and I suggested some acupuncture to help ease the pain before she went away. When she came back ten days later she said it felt better. The sharp pain had gone but there was still a dull ache, so she had another treatment which helped.
At the Harrison Clinic the practitioners work together to get the best results for the patient. In this case the physiotherapy had been helping to heal and strengthen the elbow, and combining it with acupuncture helped reduce the pain. Since 2009 the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have recommended that osteopathy, physiotherapy and acupuncture are cost-effective options in the care for persistent low back pain. And from our experience at the clinic we know these therapies can help with so many different types of aches and pains.