Just ask anyone who has experienced this localized affliction; it really knocks you around! Yours truly was recently subjected to this impairment and I can attest to episodes of a quite debilitating degree of pain and major limitations of movement and strength associated with the arm in question.

Tennis elbow, lateral epicondylitis, is a painful and stubborn tendinitis  (tendon inflammation) that can start from an injury like a tear, then develop into a chronic condition through some repititive activity. If it is not thus initiated, but develops slowly and imperceptibly, it is more accurately a tendinosis, which is chronic tendon injury, (degeneration) at the cellular level, occurring without actual inflammation. Pain is classically associated with movements such as: lifting, twisting motions, gripping, and wrist straightening.

Tennis elbow  is somewhat misleadingly named  as many sufferers do not in fact, play tennis. However the condition really disrupts one’s quality of life.

What I can say from my personal experience is that acupuncture played a central role in my recovery! It wasn’t until I brought the needles on board that I sensed effective pain relief and the consequent gradual return of strength to the arm.

My situation was initiated by an awkward lifting injury. It was almost nothing at the time. I just felt a local pinging sensation at the right elbow. However a couple of rounds of tennis later, a very localised pain let me know that my elbow was compromised.

I gradually introduced a treatment regime:

Self-administered acupuncture treatments – about 15 applications
Moxibustion therapy
Mandatory rest from tennis (the most difficult part)
Very vigorous massage of forearm, upper arm and elbow, to break up scar tissue
Sturdy therapeutic strap to warm and support the elbow
A rehabilitation stretching device, used only after the inflammatory phase had passed

My overall period of impairment was six months. This was due, I confess, to impatience. I missed tennis so much that I returned to the court, prematurely, and re-injured my elbow. However, I am happy to report my elbow is now as good as new!

Yours in enduring health,


Michael is the Acupuncturist-in-residence at Bardon Counselling & Natural Therapy Centre. He is available on: Monday, Tuesday morning, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Contact: Mobile: 0411 537 394 and Bardon Centre: 07 3368 1300


Research Links on lateral epicondylitis and acupuncture: