Acupuncture For Tennis Elbow: Is It Effective

by | Mar 6, 2024 | Acupuncture

Tennis elbow hurts a lot because of all the repeating movements we do. It doesn’t just happen to athletes; anyone can get it. We found out that acupuncture might be a good way to reduce this pain.

Family Wellness Acupuncture in Irvine, CA, with Ryoko Takayama’s help, focuses on treating these kinds of problems.

Studies show acupuncture could work better than other treatments for easing tennis elbow pain. Ten randomized controlled trials support this idea. Could acupuncture be the answer we’re looking for? Let’s explore how it could help us find some relief from tennis elbow together.

Key Takeaways

  • Acupuncture helps reduce tennis elbow pain more than traditional treatments like NSAIDs or steroid shots.
  • Special techniques like dry needling and electroacupuncture in acupuncture improve healing and offer relief from pain.
  • Although studies show promising results, more research with larger sample sizes is needed to fully prove acupuncture’s effectiveness for tennis elbow.

Understanding Tennis Elbow

Man in need of acupuncture for tennis elbow

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, happens from too much use of the arm. This condition causes pain on the elbow’s outside part and makes everyday tasks tough. Not just athletes, but anyone doing the same arm moves over and over can get it.

Studies show acupuncture really helps with short-term elbow pain. It’s better than traditional treatments like NSAIDs or steroid shots that can cause side effects. Acupuncture works by hitting special acupoints that help control pain.

It does more than just ease symptoms—it helps with long recovery by making clinical results better and dropping VAS scores for how bad the pain feels.

The Role of Acupuncture in Treating Tennis Elbow

Acupuncture on arm for tennis elbow

Acupuncture offers good relief for tennis elbow, doing better than drugs or blocking therapy. It helps more than just easing pain—it gets to the problem’s core with VAS scores to prove it.

This method speeds up recovery and has fewer side effects.

For those dealing with tennis elbow, acupuncture is a smart choice. At Family Wellness Acupuncture in Irvine, CA, Ryoko Takayama and her team provide this service well. To see what they offer, click here.

Methodology of Acupuncture for Tennis Elbow

Acupuncture treatment for tennis elbow

Acupuncture for tennis elbow involves various techniques like dry needling and electroacupuncture, aiming to alleviate pain and promote healing – discover more about these methods at Family Wellness Acupuncture in Irvine CA by visiting their website.

Data Sources and Search Strategy

We dug deep into databases like China National Knowledge Infrastructure, PubMed, and Cochrane Library. Our mission? To find every study out there on using acupuncture to treat tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis.

We picked only the top-quality research. This way, you get info you can count on.

Our strategy was clear. Focus on studies that zoom in on beating tennis elbow with acupuncture. We wanted facts that stand strong, backed by solid research. So, we kept our eyes peeled for the best evidence out there.

Why go through all this trouble? Simple. We aim to give you trustworthy insights into how acupuncture can be a game-changer for those nagging elbow pains from too many swings or any repetitive motion really.

Eligibility Criteria

We set clear rules to find the right studies. These studies tested acupuncture on patients with tennis elbow. They compared acupuncture to sham treatments, medicines, or blocking methods.

This way, we picked only strong randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

Our standards were high for each study. We looked for big RCTs that checked on patients for a long time. This helped us get trustworthy evidence on how acupuncture treats tennis elbow.

Data Extraction and Management

Our study protocol is registered in the international prospective register of systematic reviews (PROSPERO), ensuring documented transparency and adherence to stringent review standards.

We meticulously extract data and employ robust management strategies, focusing on clinical outcome measures, therapeutic effects, adverse reactions, and side effects of acupuncture therapy for lateral epicondylitis.

This encompasses a comprehensive analysis complemented by objective statistics to provide an evidence-backed understanding of acupuncture’s efficacy and safety in treating tennis elbow.

The results of the meta-analysis are expected to validate the positive impact of acupuncture on lateral epicondylitis. Our focus on thorough data extraction and rigorous management aims to bolster existing evidence sources, further solidifying acupuncture as a viable treatment option for this condition.

Results of Acupuncture Treatment for Tennis Elbow

Acupuncture treatment for tennis elbow showed significant relief in pain and improved functionality based on outcome measures. The therapy efficacy was evident through a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

Outcome Measures

Acupuncture treatment for tennis elbow showed a higher total effective response rate and significant improvement in decreasing the VAS score compared with other interventions in a meta-analysis of 10 RCTs.

However, the overall evidence quality was rated as “low” or “moderate” due to an inadequate number of high-quality RCTs. There is also significant heterogeneity in some comparisons, indicating the need for further research on its effectiveness.

The meta-analyses revealed that acupuncture has potential benefits, but the existing evidence is limited by factors such as study quality and heterogeneity. Therefore, while promising, more robust research is needed to conclusively establish its efficacy for treating tennis elbow.

Summary of Therapy Efficacy

After examining the results of acupuncture treatment for tennis elbow, it is evident that acupuncture has shown effectiveness in improving short-term pain and reducing the visual analog scale (VAS) score when compared with other treatment interventions.

The meta-analysis findings suggest that acupuncture or electropuncture therapy significantly enhances the clinical efficacy rate and reduces the VAS score compared with sham acupuncture, blocking therapy, and drug therapies.

These compelling facts indicate that acupuncture can be an effective alternative for individuals seeking relief from tennis elbow pain.

The Science Behind Acupuncture for Tennis Elbow

Acupuncture has shown to be effective in reducing short-term pain related to lateral elbow. Studies have indicated that acupuncture outperforms sham acupuncture, medicine therapy, and blocking therapy regarding clinical efficacy rate and visual analog scale.

The included studies used outcome measures such as the clinical efficacy rate, VAS, and functional recovery-related scales to assess the effectiveness of acupuncture for lateral epicondylitis.

Acupuncture or electropuncture therapy significantly improved the clinical efficacy rate and reduced the VAS score compared with sham acupuncture, blocking therapy, and drug therapies.

Despite this positive impact, more rigorous randomized controlled trials with larger sample sizes are necessary to provide reliable evidence on the long-term effectiveness of acupuncture for treating tennis elbow.

Services Offered for Tennis Elbow Treatment

After diving into the science behind how acupuncture can effectively treat tennis elbow, it’s important to know about the services available for addressing this condition. At Family Wellness Acupuncture in Irvine, CA, led by Ryoko Takayama, a range of specialized treatments using traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture points are offered.

These evidence-based methods aim to provide natural pain relief and enhance functional recovery for patients dealing with lateral epicondylitis (LE). The clinic’s expertise in providing personalized care tailored to each individual’s needs ensures that patients receive effective treatment that specifically targets their tennis elbow symptoms.

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For more information on the services offered at Family Wellness Acupuncture in Irvine, CA for treating tennis elbow through acupuncture therapies, visit us at

Limitations of Acupuncture for Tennis Elbow

Acupuncture for tennis elbow may have limitations due to poor study quality and small sample sizes. Varied acupuncture protocols and inconsistent outcome measures across studies make it challenging to draw definitive conclusions about its effectiveness.

Studies also show a risk of bias in randomized controlled trials, with some demonstrating low risk of bias while others had high risk. Overall evidence quality was rated as “low” or “moderate,” indicating potential limitations in reliability, along with reported side effects such as pricking pain leading to participant dropout.

A previous meta-analysis concluded that no reliable conclusions could be drawn on the effect of acupuncture on tennis elbow due to poor quality and inadequate trial numbers.


Despite its limitations, acupuncture has displayed positive analgesic effects in chronic tennis elbow pain. The evidence suggests that acupuncture can be an effective treatment option for lateral epicondylitis.

To embrace a new chapter in your health story, connect with us at (949) 836-2857 or visit to begin your transformative journey with a clinic that prioritizes your well-being every step of the way.

If you have questions about acupuncture, get in touch with us here:


1. What is acupuncture for tennis elbow?

It’s a treatment from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that targets pain by inserting needles into specific points around the body, aiming to restore vital energy flow and aid in healing injuries like tennis elbow.

2. Does acupuncture really work for tennis elbow?

Yes, medical evidence suggests it can be effective. Acupuncture has shown to modulate pain and reduce inflammation in some patients with tennis elbow, offering relief without the need for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or steroid injections.

3. Are there any risks with using acupuncture for this condition?

Generally, it’s safe when performed by a skilled practitioner. However, adverse events—though rare—can occur. It’s crucial to consult health professionals before starting treatments.

4. How does acupuncture compare to other treatments for tennis elbow?

Acupuncture may provide analgesic effects similar to traditional methods like rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE), physiotherapy or even laser acupuncture; but each case varies based on individual response rates and the severity of symptoms.

5. Can I still use other medications if I choose acupuncture as my treatment option?

Yes! Acupuncture can complement other treatments including self-care measures and medication prescribed by your physician—it doesn’t typically interfere with them but always check first!

6. How long will it take to see improvements in my tennis elbow with acupuncture?

The timeline varies; some might feel immediate relief after a few sessions while others may require more time depending on factors like overuse history and adherence to recommended complementary therapies like exercises or muscle knots release techniques prescribed by physical therapists.



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