In the interview, common causes of Tennis Elbow were explained. Also, view on treatment and the way of avoidance were also introduced.
Topic: Acupuncture and Cupping Treatment for Tennis Elbow
Date & Program: 2017/09/05 RTHK Radio 3 "1 2 3 Show" Interview
Interviewer: Noreen Mir
Interviewee: Lo Man Kin William
Q: Is Tennis Elbow really related to playing tennis? What exactly is Tennis Elbow?
A: Tennis Elbow is pain over the outer side of elbow, symptoms would be triggered by holding things, or using of forearm muscle. It can be seen on tennis player, cashier, office worker.
Q: We know repetitive motion can cause Tennis Elbow. How can we avoid it?
A: Other than repetitive motion, forearm muscle imbalance can precipitate into tennis elbow. Usually, muscle over the inner side of forearm become tight, while outer side is too weak. Imbalance between inner and outer forearm muscle group can put elbow into unfavourable position. If we also have repetitive motion, it would cause repetive strain to forearm. In long term, it would result in tennis elbow.
Q: Is it related to weather condition as well?
A: Weather could be one of the causes, but it is not the main reason for tennis elbow. Usually, pain causes could be multi-factors, including forearm muscle conditions, motion habit, occupation and weather condition. All factors would combine together and affect pain condition.
Q: It sounds it is un-avoidable for certain occupation, for example, if you are a chef, you need always using your arm, how can pain be minimised?
A: We encourage people having regular stretching if their works involve repetitive motion. For instance, if people have tennis elbow, they need to have forearm muscle stretching.
Keep our forearm straight and palm face downward, using other hand to push palm futher downward, and it is expected there are tight feeling over forearm extensor, keeping for 10 seconds. It will help forearm muscle relaxation.
We will also ask our patients whether the pain condition related to their occupation, if yes, they could change their working equipment in order to minimise repetitve motion. What is more, they need change of working and exercise habit, practise stretching and strengthening exercises. If they pay attention to all these factors, it would help for their recovery from pain.
Q: Is different stages of pain affecting the treatment decision?
A: Yes, aims of treatment are different according to stages. For example, treatment targets for inflammation, pain and muscle spasm in acute stage, by means of acupuncture, cupping, gentle massage and herbal medicine. Whenever their conditions are better, the next concern would be how to make pain relief effect keeping for long time. Education is important in chronic stage. Exercise and knowledge of avoiding repetitive motion would be taught to patient. Working environment and equipment is reminded for them also.
Q: Are there any contradiction between Chinese Medicine and Physiotheray in treating Tennis Elbow, for example, applying ice for the painful area?
A: Chinese Medicine can still use ice according to the condition of painful area, but they still use warm for the area later. The decision is determined by stage of condition. In acute stage, Chinese Medicine still apply ice to the inflammed area, and they know that too early heat treatment would trigger swelling of the injuried area. While the condition progresses to chronic stage, heat treatment would help for improving circulation, while ice would limit the circulation and thus limiting healing process.
Q: Is it possible to apply cupping for such a small area in elbow?
A: Yes, we can still apply cupping for elbow. For back region, we can apply fire cupping, while elbow area is better to apply vacuum cupping for the ease for application.