The Dandenong Ranges is home to many nature lovers like myself. These are people who are active and enjoy walking in the Hills, people who work outside doing hard physical labour.
But physical labour in the Dandenong Ranges is an order of magnitude above your average physical labour. Ask any builder who plies their trade around Upwey, Tecoma or Belgrave. A simple job such as digging a few holes for fence posts can end up taking the whole day. You will inevitably strike a 100kg rock which you will then need to prise out of the ground with a two-metre crowbar or break up with a pneumatic drill. None of this is particularly therapeutic for the joints or the back. The picture above shows a typical Upwey landscape: huge boulders and a fence that needs repairing.
All of this means that at Upwey Acupuncture I have many patients coming into the clinic with problems related to joint pain, tendonitis (also known as tendinopathy) and restricted mobility. Patients often come to me with chronic conditions from repetitive use of the joint, causing extreme pain and restriction of movement.
In the past few weeks I’ve treated tennis elbow, knee tendonitis, golfer’s elbow, frozen shoulder, neck, hand and wrist issues.
Many of these people have come to me as a last resort after first trying other medical treatments or painkillers that have not helped.
I also have patients coming to the clinic after surgery with the aim of promoting healing and reducing pain.
How I treat joint pain and tendonitis
I treat these conditions with gentle local needling, but I also work along pathways to promote the free flow of circulation throughout the surrounding area. My treatment will frequently involve some heat treatment such as heat lamp or moxabustion, perhaps some cupping, and often some gentle massage to release tension surrounding the epicentre beside the acupuncture.
Sometimes I work with herbal plasters containing herbs aimed at healing local inflammation, or auricular points designed to reduce pain at the corresponding body location.
How quickly can joint pain and tendonitis respond to acupuncture?
I find that acupuncture treatment can alleviate associated symptoms such as pain in these types of issues quite quickly, sometimes after only 1-3 treatments. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, that is considered a quick course of treatment.
How does acupuncture work for tendon and joint issues?
According to the British Acupuncture Council, acupuncture may help relieve symptoms of tennis elbow, such as pain and inflammation, by:
- stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, which leads to release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors (e.g. neuropeptide Y, serotonin), and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord (Pomeranz 1987, Han 2004, Zhao 2008, Zhou 2008, Lee 2009, Cheng 2009);
- delivering analgesia via alpha-adrenoceptor mechanisms (Koo 2008);
- increasing the release of adenosine, which has antinociceptive properties (Goldman 2010);
- modulating the limbic-paralimbic-neocortical network (Hui 2009);
- reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Kavoussi 2007, Zijlstra 2003);
- improving muscle stiffness and joint mobility by increasing local microcirculation (Komori 2009), which aids dispersal of swelling.
To find out more about how treatment can help with other injuries visit the British Acupuncture Council’s A to Z of Conditions.