Is an acupuncture service of benefit to patients with chronic  tennis elbow? A Case Series of Twelve n = 1 Case Studies

By Clifton Wicks

Abstract

The research study that is the subject of this dissertation follows a series of 12 patients who presented themselves at the author’s clinic suffering from chronic “Tennis Elbow”.  They were offered a course of 10 free of charge acupuncture sessions and their progress was followed to ascertain what, if any, changes they experienced in their condition during the course of their treatment and at a six-week follow up.

Quantitative data on each patient was obtained through the use of validated questionnaires (MYMOP2 and the Short-Form McGill Pain Questionnaire) administered through the course of the study beginning with the first treatment session, at two further intervals during treatment and concluding with a six-week follow-up. Data in the form of qualitative routine patient case notes and a quantitative Present Pain Intensity Rating measure were recorded at each treatment session.  The treatment given to the patients, together with life-style advice and self-treatment, were in accordance with the author’s normal clinical protocols and were in no manner novel nor experimental in nature.

Two participants withdrew before completing their treatment and were replaced by subsequent volunteers, so that the intended number of 10 participants completed the full term of the study.  8 patients recorded improvements in most outcome measure scores and showed some interesting patterns through the course of their treatment.  2 patients experienced less overall improvement and possible reasons for their limited response to treatment are offered.  These data were reflected in patients’ respective clinical records, which provided a qualitative narrative of their experiences.  It was concluded that an acupuncture service could offer benefits to patients suffering from chronic tennis elbow, subject to reservations discussed in the text.  Some suggestions are offered for further research in the area of acupuncture treatment for Tennis Elbow.