Medial Epicondylitis (Golfer’s Elbow)

Golfer’s Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)

Acupuncture Treats Golfer’s elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)

Medial Epicondylitis, commonly known as Golfer’s Elbow is an inflammation of the medial epicondyle of the elbow. This form of debilitation may render the affected elbow sensitive and tender making that arm unable to perform some normal functions like shaking hands, opening doors or squeezing objects without much discomfort while risking further aggravating the pain levels.Golfer's Elbow-Medial Epicondylitis

Though some individuals have higher pain barriers, it is still recommended to get a Golfer’s elbow treated. Non-treatment of this condition may lead to chronic elbow pain, limitation of range of motion or even the permanent contracture of the elbow. Acupuncture can provide a two-pronged approach in treating this condition. Acupuncture stimulates the body to release endorphins and natural anti-inflammatory compounds that will relieve pain while improving the affected area’s range of motion.

What are the symptoms and causes of Golfer’s elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)?

Golfer’s elbow may be suspected when pain begins to emanate on the bony bump on the inside of the elbow. This pain may radiate to the forearm and wrist. You can differentiate this condition from Tennis elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis) from the initial source of the pain since the pain from Golfer’s elbow emanates from the inside rather than the outside of the elbow.

The elbow may also feel stiff compounded by an inability to make a fist without much discomfort. Due to the area affected by the inflammation, weakness on the hand and wrists may be expected. Another common symptom is the experience of a numbing or tingling sensation on the fingers.

Medial Epicondylitis is commonly known as the Golfer’s elbow though this condition is not exclusive to golfers. A golf swing is a common cause of the condition but other repetitive mechanical activities that involve constant flexing, gripping, throwing or swinging can also cause pulls or create tears in the tendon.

How would a doctor diagnose and treat Golfer’s elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)?

Having relayed your symptoms, a doctor may examine your medical history, looking for signs of regular activities or past injuries that may have affected your elbow. A physical examination of the wrist and arms to test for the condition. The doctor will test for movement that cause pain and its origins.

An X-ray maybe taken to rule out other forms of elbow joint problems like arthritis or fractures. This examination can also help determine if there are calcium deposits on the medial epicondyle. If diagnosis is still unclear, a magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI) can be requested to examine tendons and bones or an ultrasound to examine the tissues beneath the sore part for collagen degeneration.

Initial recommended treatment entails RICE: rest, ice, compression and elevation. This regimen aims to decrease pain and inflammation. Once the patient is able, physical therapy will commence for the purpose of muscle and tendon reconditioning. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be taken to aid in pain management.

If this form of tendinopathy fails to respond to physical therapy or medication, surgery may be required. The Fascial elevation and tendon origin resection (FETOR) has been shown to be an effective surgical procedure despite the risks of neuroma or other complications.

How would an acupuncturist diagnose and treat Golfer’s elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)

As with any doctor, it is necessary that a detailed medical history is required to establish a correct diagnosis and rule out other underlying factors that may affect your shoulder. An extensive physical examination of the arm, carefully testing range of motion, strength loss and tenderness. These tests will allow the isolation of the tendons and muscles that will be targeted for treatment.

Acupuncture is considered a safe form of treatment for elbow injuries. It is a non-invasive and non-medicated treatment that merely stimulates the body to promote healing and rehabilitation of injuries. Besides increasing circulation to the affected area, the treatment will induce the body to release anti-inflammatory compounds that will aid in pain management and recuperation.

Modalities such as electro-acupuncture, cupping, moxibustion of massage may be applied to supplement the initial treatment. Additionally a patient may receive prescriptions for anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements. Once the area has recovered enough, trigger point therapy and PNF can aid in getting the most gains out of rehabilitation.

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