Acupuncture – The elbow

Needling sites:

Anterior medial elbow area

– weakness of hands
– carpal tunnel syndrome
– elbow pain
– writer’s cramp

Anterior lateral elbow area

– pain in base of thumb

Posterior lateral elbow area

– pain in dorsum of wrist

H 7 (beside pisiform)

– cardiac disorders
– anxiety (Mann)

For some reason, pain in the elbow seems to be more difficult to treat than pain in other joints, especially “tennis elbow”. (Intrinsic disease of the elbow, however, such as burnt-out rheumatoid arthritis, does well.) Pain in the elbow is commonly located at the lateral epicondyle of the humerus (tennis elbow). There may be exquisite tenderness over the bony prominence, but direct needling of this site is extremely painful and seldom helps much. This may be because it is really a site of referred pain, the TP being elsewhere. Some patients have TPs in the neck or in the muscles above or below the elbow; needling these may help.

Writer’s cramp

Most patients do not respond. However, in some cases the problem seems to be due to TPs in the shoulder or arm rather than to a central disorder and these can be helped.

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