In this country, doctors recommend an approach that begins with basic care such as resting the elbow, avoiding overuse and wearing a corset. Then, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory drugs, or analgesics are judged. Finally, injections of steroids (cortisone shots) May be used in an effort to reduce inflammation.
In China, acupuncture is the first choice of doctors and their patients in the treatment of epicondylitis. More radical approaches such as surgery or steroid injections are a last resort. In my practice, I often see people who have already tried everything that Western medicine has to offer, including injections of steroids, and who continue to suffer from debilitating pain. One of my patients, Mike, is a good example. He was a tennis coach fifteen years, and loved his work, but for the last year, he experienced severe pain in the elbow. He tried three steroid injections without relief. Now he was forced to consider the possibility of abandoning tennis for good. Fortunately, acupuncture has worked well for Mike. We started with two sessions per week and after five weeks, the pain had decreased significantly. Normally, I ask patients to rest their elbow during treatment, but Mike had to continue to provide tennis lessons and during this period. Even so, he improved to the point where he could continue with the work he loved.
The effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of tennis elbow has been the subject of a study conducted in Sweden by Dr. Gunilla BRATTBERG. It found that patients treated with acupuncture has become much more pleasant, or even completely free of pain. None of them had got worse or the side effects of acupuncture treatment. Dr. BRATTBERG noted that acupuncture is consuming more time than method of treatment with steroid injection, but in May it be a dramatic improvement by using steroids, there may be a worsening of symptoms with steroids. Most practitioners of acupuncture for patients who had steroid injections are slower to respond to acupuncture treatments that patients were not injected.
What kind of treatment can you expect a acupuncture clinic? Exact treatment varies somewhat from person to person, but most people start with two acupuncture treatments a week for several weeks, reducing the frequency of treatment as the condition improves. May the practitioner also use electrical stimulation, heat lamp, plates herbal and accelerate healing. Because tennis elbow is the inflammation of a tendon, it usually takes longer to heal than a muscle inflammation, but you should see an improvement of at least four or five hours after treatment.
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