Comparing Western practices and Eastern healing for Tennis Elbow or Golfer’s Elbow

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At Joost’s Sports Injury Clinic, Sunshine Coast, we encourage clients to embrace or at the very least explore Chinese sports injury therapy as an alternative and complementary  therapy. Tennis Elbow (external humeral epicondylitis) is a very common condition where the outer part of the elbow is inflamed and becomes painful and tender. In this week’s blog post, we review both systems of medicine. A balance between both western practices and eastern healing beliefs can be attained at Joost’s Sports Injury Clinic, Sunshine Coast.

Western Practices

Eastern Healing


  • Tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow is caused by repetitive, forceful motion. Movement while playing sports such as tennis and golf; the turning of a screwdriver; or sawing of a piece of wood can cause intense pain.
  • Originally called Tennis Elbow because it was believed that because of the repetitive nature of hitting so many tennis balls, would lead to tiny tears in the forearm tendon attachment at the elbow.
 In traditional Chinese medicine (tcm) tennis or golfer’s elbow is due to impediment and obstruction by wind, cold, and/or damp evils of the joints or due to the build up of stagnant blood which causes the channels and vessels are not free flowing. When qi and blood stagnation occurs, so does pain. TCM looks at the cause rather than just the symptoms.


  • Athletes with previous tendon injury. But they aren’t the only ones who can get tennis or golfer’s elbow.  Computer users, painters, gardeners, musicians etc. can also be vulnerable to the condition.
 Anyone who engages in activities that overwork the area are at risk. Those who have insufficient blood to nourish the area are also at risk.


  • Anti-inflammatory Drugs – often used to control inflammation and pain. The oral forms of this medication is easy to take and helpful for immediate pain relief. However, with long term use, they can leave a negative residual effect on your body such as upset stomach which could lead to ulcers and stomach bleeding.
  • Cortisone Injections –relief of localized inflammation in the elbow  is more rapid and powerful that oral anti-inflammatory drugs. But the effects generally wear off after a few months and may need repeating. Long-term effects of cortisone include thinning and bruising of the skin.
  • Operate – when conservative treatments fail elbow surgery is the first option. Procedures involve cutting, repairing tears or removing inflamed tissue. Operations can be costly, potentially traumatic, and like any other treatment option, don’t guarantee that your tennis elbow will be fixed. Recovery can also take three to six months. Additional rehabilitation is also needed after surgery.
  • Moxibustion – this method of treating tennis or golfer’s elbow restores the free flow of the qi and blood in the channels and vessels in the lateral elbow. Warming the channels dispels wind and cold, eliminates damp ‘evils’ and scatters static blood.
  • Chinese Massage – a holistic approach to health care that not only provides relief from elbow pain, but can also relax the body and mind. Specialised techniques stimulate the immune system, and encourage the natural healing abilities of the body. From an athlete’s perspective, it can also improve physical abilities such as increasing strength, flexibility  and resilience of the body.
  • Poultices –The warmth and healing properties in the herbs used to make the poultices help to alleviate pain and inflammation.

At Joost’s Sports Injury Clinic, Sunshine Coast you can learn more about Chinese sports injury therapy and treatments for Tennis or Golfer’s elbow. Let’s get you back into the swing of things, don’t delay, call today as advanced bookings are essential.

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