dry needling for tennis elbow calgary nw

Tennis elbow, a condition often associated with the repetitive motion of the wrist and arm, can lead to significant discomfort and hinder your daily activities. While traditional treatments have been the go-to for many, an emerging and effective approach known as dry needling is gaining traction. 

This blog post delves into the intricacies of dry needling, its effectiveness for tennis elbow, and how it differentiates from acupuncture, providing a comprehensive understanding for those seeking relief from this persistent condition.

What is dry needling?

Dry needling is one of many adjunctive techniques that physiotherapists and chiropractors can use to help target and release tight muscles and trigger points. We use single-use, fine, sterile needles and insert them into specific points on the body, aiming to help alleviate pain, improve range of motion, and enhance your rehabilitation.

A common misconception is that acupuncture and dry needling are the same, however, there are distinct differences. Acupuncture is derived from Traditional Chinese Medicine and it involves balancing the flow of internal energy (Qi) along the meridians in the body. Dry needling techniques are derived from Western medicine and are based on anatomical and neurophysiological principles. 

It looks to target trigger points in the body to “reset” the muscle tension. Dry needling is similar to manual therapy, joint mobilizations and manipulations in that it provides novel stimulus to the body and helps the area move more effectively while reducing symptoms. 

What causes tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow (aka Lateral epicondylitis) is described as irritation, inflammation and/or changes occurring to the tendons of the muscles on the outer part of the elbow. These muscles help to extend the wrist and fingers. It is typically characterized by pain and tenderness on the outer elbow with gripping or lifting activities. 

It is common in tennis players (hence the name) however, it is associated with repetitive and overuse of the wrist extensor muscles. It can also be caused by a traumatic accident (e.g. motor vehicle accident), muscle weakness (e.g. in the forearm, but especially correlated with rotator cuff strength), occupational factors and/or other medical conditions (e.g. nerve entrapments, etc)

Can dry needling help with tennis elbow?

After a thorough assessment of the elbow, dry needling can be used as an adjunctive tool to help reduce the symptoms in the outer elbow and may improve range of motion and grip strength. Dry needling will help to reduce muscle tension, which can create a reduction in pain and improve range of motion. 

Tennis elbow can be multifactorial, therefore, optimizing the environment that the forearm muscles operate in, can allow us to create stronger muscles, but also work up the arm and into the shoulders and neck. There is a strong correlation between rotator cuff strength, shoulder and neck function and tennis elbow symptoms. Improving the entire upper limb mechanics will help restore function and strength to the forearm! 

How effective is dry needling for tennis elbow?

The overall effectiveness of dry needling is very individual. Some individuals may experience instant pain relief and improved functions, while others may take more time. 

It is important to understand that dry needling is one component of many factors that can help restore elbow and wrist function. The most important aspects to recovery from a tennis elbow injury are activity modification, optimization of diet, sleep and stress and of course a challenging yet completable home exercise program or routine.

Who should not get dry needling?

There should be some caution with dry needling for the following situations:

  • Pregnant women.
  • Individuals with needle phobias or a history of fainting from needles.
  • Blood clotting disorders.
  • Currently taking moderate to high doses of blood thinners.
  • Immunocompromised individuals.
  • Areas of active skin infections or lesions.
  • Uncontrolled medical conditions.
  • Have been told by your Medical Professional that you should not be dry needled.

Are there any negatives to dry needling?

The most common adverse reactions are:

  • Temporary and short-term discomfort or soreness.
  • Mild bruising may occur (especially if you are prone to bruising or are on a low dose of blood thinners).
  • Post-needle fatigue or drowsiness.
  • Trace amounts of bleeding at the insertion site.
  • Exacerbation of symptoms (temporary worsening of symptoms before improvement).

Rare adverse reactions are:

  • Dizziness or nausea.
  • Infection at the needle site.
  • Pneumothorax.

Take the first step towards tennis elbow relief

Dry needling in Calgary NW presents a viable option for those battling tennis elbow, offering a path to pain relief and functional improvement. At Market Mall Physio & Chiro, our team of experts is dedicated to providing personalized care, utilizing dry needling among other techniques to support your recovery journey. If you’re struggling with tennis elbow and seeking a solution, contact us to explore how dry needling can be part of your rehabilitation strategy, paving the way for a return to pain-free movement and an enhanced quality of life.

Ready to tackle your tennis elbow with an innovative approach? Contact us today to schedule your consultation and discover how dry needling can transform your recovery process. Let us help you move beyond pain and back into action.

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