Golfing is highly popular in North America. Sometimes it even becomes addictive. Especially in Vancouver, few can resist the temptation---just imagine the picture: You walk on a nicely trimmed green field where streams of creek gently running through and the ponds are sparkling; walking up the little hill and looking far ahead, you see birds singing, rabbits hopping, deer dancing in the nearby forests; the air is fresh and the sky is blue; you casually swing the club, while chatting with your good friends; at this moment you forget all the trivia of life---what a paradise! Indeed, golfing is very relaxing, refreshing, and thus can be extremely addictive. Therefore, someone even refers to it “the green heroin”. Unfortunately, many golfers, due to their bad posture, improper use of muscle, or lack of warm up, suffer from many injuries. The so called “tennis elbow” is one of the most common.
I have been golfing for three years, and I have been suffering from related injuries such as neck pain, back pain, and tennis elbow. Therefore I know the cause and feel the pain of the injuries. I would like to talk about tennis elbow today.
Now, some of you may think “do you get the terminology wrong? Isn’t it ‘golf elbow’”? Well, actually from my clinical experience, there are more cases of tennis elbow than golf elbow, and tennis elbow is much more painful than the other.
When I first started golfing three years ago, I was following my coach’s instruction: relax, and use as few muscle as possible to hit. However, being eager to hit a good ball, I eventually started to hold the club tightly and swing with much force. Then my posture became so incorrect, and my swing hit the ground all the time.
Finally it back fired: one day when I did a swing, the outside of my right elbow started feeling a kind of needle-piercing pain. At first I thought it was no big deal, but soon the area of pain started to extend. That night I woke up several times because of the pain. My elbow was uncomfortable in any position. The pain even moved up to the right shoulder joint the second morning.
I have seen many patients suffering from tennis elbow before I myself fell a victim. I could see and hear their pain: some had this condition come and go for over a decade; some lived on painkillers; some had to apply ice patch for months; some could not extend their arms or hold a fist; some could not wash their face or brush teeth; some even could not work anymore. I treated these patients and listened to them talking about their agony, but I could not fully understand until I felt the pain myself. This pain was rooted deeply behind the muscle, from where the tendon is connecting to the periosteum---it is really a pain from inside!
Then I started self-treatment. I used needle on myself three times a day. Each time I only kept the needle for several minutes. I did this short and intense treatment because: first, emergency situation should be treated with “reducing” technic; second, I had to work during the day thus there was not enough time. That night after the treatment I started to feel less pain, but it did not recover as fast as I expected so I did not sleep well that night. The second day I started treating myself only two times a day, and all the symptom disappeared after three days.
I healed numerous patients suffering from tennis elbow after I started my clinic in Vancouver. Most of them were labor workers, and the second most were golfers. I usually gave these treatments:
1. Acupuncture treatment;
2. Ice patch. If the symptom had lasted for more than one day, I would use hot patch;
3. Make sure patients do not use injured arm to do any work, or any exercise;
4. After the symptom is gone, make sure patients wait at least two weeks to start doing any work or exercise.
Acupuncture is proved very effective for tennis elbow. Normally all symptom would disappear after five treatments. A few patients need to have more treatments and sometimes need to take Chinese medicine because their symptom has lasted too long. I had one patient, who suffered from tennis elbow for more than ten years, and he needed ten treatments and extra Chinese medicine to fully recover.
My dear friends, if you also love golf, please make sure that:
1. You do enough stretching and warm up before practice;
2. Relax and keep your posture correct;
3. Do not hold the club tightly;
4. Do not use too much muscle to swing the club;
5. Once you feel any elbow problem, please stop practicing and take rest immediately. Please use ice patch with 24 hours, and use hot patch after. Please take enough rest (at least seven days) until all symptoms are gone and start doing any exercise;
6. Once your symptom gets worse, please see a doctor ASAP.
Hope every golfer can have fewer injuries, and more fun!