Thread: Tennis Elbow
View Single Post
Old 04-22-2012, 10:19 AM   #18
Member P is offline
P's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: San Diego  CA
Posts: 178
Re: Tennis Elbow

Originally Posted by Ron Thurston View Post
I have Tennis Elbow in one arm and Golfer's Elbow in the other (basically the inside of one elbow and the outside of the other). I have found that icing after a grip intensive workout (pullups, deadlifts, heavy farmer carries, etc) helps some but the only thing that has actually gotten rid of this for any meaningful length of time was a doctor using the Graston Technique.

Basically, he lubes up your elbow/arm and uses a stainless steel tool to rub the trigger points (they call it Scraping) and massage these same areas. How he explained it to me was that this breaks up all the scar tissue that has built up and becomes "sticky".

I was at the point where I couldn't pick anything up with an outstretched arm because of the pain in my elbow. Handshakes would also send a shooting pain right through it. After one treatment I felt a significant change and after my second visit it had all but disappeared.
Not saying that "the Graston Technique" might not have worked for you. Not saying it might not work for me. Not saying that it's not worth investigating.

But... SFW

Summary of the Evidence

It really all boils down to a handful of mice pro, a handful of mice con, one human pilot study showing no advantage over manual mobilization, and a lot of testimonials. Would you be willing to try a new pharmaceutical treatment on the basis of nothing but one favorable mouse study out of two, and one pilot study? Would you agree to let someone deliberately injure you on such flimsy evidence? I would be very happy if the Graston Technique proves useful, but for the time being it must be considered experimental.
For now, I'm putting this in the same category as Chiropractic - may or may not work as advertised, for some but not other things, is more profit than proven medicine ("Sign up for a series of treatments!"), may work if you believe in it - because you believe in it, and may or may not be much more efficacious than just stretching and mobility work and physical therapy/strength work on your own.

More at SFW

Are the Graston tools like magic dowsing rods?

They are priced like it. They currently go for about $2500–3500 … for tools about as hard to manufacture as cutlery.

But perhaps they are worth it. The Graston Technique website makes some interesting claims about those tools. Strangest of all, right on their “about” page — always one of the most-visited pages on a website — they climb right out on a marketing limb and describe their massage tools as having spooky powers...


There may well be a kernel of truth in Graston Technique, and I would be interested in serious science looking for that kernel. I hope that Graston Technique will eventually be validated by new research — I would be delighted to endorse a new, proven method of treating stubborn pain problems. Three simple randomized controlled trials with at least 50 human subjects with clearly positive results would be sufficient to increase my confidence in Graston Technique® substantially.

However, I think it is unlikely that the results of such testing will be positive. Meanwhile, a vague and unsubstantiated theory is simply not adequate justification for such a severe approach to tissue — especially tissue that’s hurting to begin with.

Last edited by P; 04-22-2012 at 10:22 AM..
  Reply With Quote