Overuse injuries that cause arm pain due to soft tissue damage are rapidly on the increase in today’s computer driven work culture. Many if not most professions require some computer usage on a daily basis these days. Add to daily computer usage your other everyday activities and perhaps a sport such as tennis, golf or bowling and the accumulated stress can be too much for a person’s arm muscles to bear over time. Repetitive Motion Disorders can affect muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves causing tight muscles, inflammation, tendinitis, tendinosis and other types of degenerative changes in soft tissue. Chronic tightness in the muscles can contribute to many different types of arm pain including medial and lateral epicondylitis.
“Golfer’s elbow” and “Tennis elbow” are the colloquial names for medial and lateral epicondylitis respectively, and both are examples of elbow and forearm pain that are readily treated by acupuncture. Tennis elbow usually exhibits with pain on the outside of the elbow that may radiate into the forearm and wrist. The pain can be aggravated by gripping and lifting motions such as turning a doorknob, pouring a drink or even shaking hands. Golfer’s elbow may present with similar symptoms, but the pain is on the medial or inside of the arm. The most commonly accepted cause of epicondylitis, whether lateral or medial, is overuse. Tiny microscopic tears on the tendons create a chronic inflammation that leads to pain and sensitivity in the area. In older patients, the onset of epicondylitis may be partially attributed to tendinosis or degeneration of the tendons due to lack of circulation and aging. Regardless of the etiology of epicondylitis, acupuncture is one of the foremost therapeutic treatments for tennis and golfer’s elbow. Acupuncture has the ability to relax overused and tight muscles and to promote circulation in order to speed healing in inflamed and damaged soft tissues making it an ideal treatment for such conditions.
Terry M. Chen, Licensed Acupuncturist
Open Sky Acupuncture, Eugene Oregon