I was diagnosed with tennis elbow (or lateral epicondylitis). The pain started when I was playing volleyball frequently. I was having issues in bending or twisting my right elbow. Eventually the pain became unbearable. I starting using an elbow brace at the advice of my HMO to see if the pain would go away. Once the pain did not subside, I was given cortisone shots to battle the pain. I was told upfront by the doctor that cortisone was only a temporary solution. In order to get rid of the pain, I would have to endure the shots more frequently or pursue other means, such as surgery.
After being discouraged about my predicament, I decided to do some research on the subject and came across an article describing for alternative medicine treatments, focusing on acupuncture. I reviewed my HMO policy and found that there were some providers available in my area. I asked my primary care physician if there would be any issue in seeing an acupuncturist. Luckily, I did not have any issues.
I was skeptical when I first made the appointment to the acupuncturist. My initial appointment was to discuss my problem and how to approach my treatment. Since I was under an HMO that was recognized by my doctor, I was told I would receive a discount on the service. I noticed when I entered the office, that there were numerous books, remedies, herbs and pamphlets on acupuncture and other forms of alternative medicine. I was fascinated about the subject. My doctor told me I would need to come in at least twice a week for a few weeks to see how I was progressing. The doctor took the time to explain the idea of using Chinese medicine and to analyze my symptoms.
When I arrived for my first treatment, I was escorted to one of the available rooms. In the room was a chart of the human body. The chart included information on the various pressure points of the human body. The doctor entered the room and explained the process of inserting the needles into the pressure points. Once the treatment started, I was lying down on my back. The needles felt like a slight pinch on my skin. There were some times that I was instructed to take a deep breath before the needle went through. The warning was given to me for those points that were very sensitive. Once the needles were in place, I was asked if I wanted any music. The doctor gave me my choices, turned the music on and departed the room for about ten minutes. I looked at myself and thought I felt like a pin cushion. But, I did not feel any pain at this point. Once the ten minutes were up, the doctor returned and asked me to turn over. Again, the needles were placed at strategic positions on my body. She departed briefly and returned to remove the needles. The treatment ended with a five minute massage.
After the first few weeks, I noticed that the pain in my arm was gone and I had mobility. To this date, I do not have the pain any longer.