Acupuncture, Carpenters & Pain 

 October 16, 2019

By  Steve Hoffman

You know who I hate treating? Carpenters. Not that I have anything against carpenters, Jesus was a carpenter after all, and he was a pretty good guy. No, I hate treating carpenters because the never get better. Huh? Why is that? Well, what do you think carpenters come in for to get treatment?? Elbow pain. Golfers elbow, tennis elbow, elbow tendinitis, whatever you want to call it, it is elbow pain and it affects how and even sometimes IF they can work.

Repetitive Motion Injury

Doing the same motion, under strain, over and over, puts stress on the joint being used. Often, these are not “organic” movements meaning that they are done in only one plane of motion that people would not have normally performed during our development. They are repeated and in the case of carpenters they are often done under increased strain (weight, vibration, impact). This puts strain on the tendons and ligaments for 8-10 hours a day often 5-6 days a week. Tendons and ligaments have relatively poor blood supply, so they heal slowly. Depending on the severity of the damage, tendons and ligaments can take months to heal. Broken bones normally take 6-8 weeks to heal by contrast. You also have to keep in mind that when you have a broken bone, you get a cast that completely immobilizes the break so that it can heal properly. What happens when a carpenter’s elbow starts barking? That’s right, they just keep on working.


The best thing for healing is rest no matter what the injury or illness. In the case of a carpenter, the irritation is a nuisance, at least at first. So, they continue working. If they had a broken bone it would force them to stop working for a period of time so that they could heal. With inflammation of a tendon or ligament the body just does not have enough time to heal the damage that is being done on a daily basis.


This adversely affects any healing modality when trying to treat this type of patient. Acupuncture will provide relief but in the case of a carpenter, the inflammation, pain and discomfort will always return because they are continually aggravating the injury. They normally walk away, thanking me for the relief but disappointed that I cannot provide them with a lasting solution. Acupuncture can and will help the body heal completely, but rest is a key component of a lasting solution.

What Does This Mean for You (and Jesus)?

What this means is that any injury or illness you are dealing with will heal better if you give your body the rest that it needs to heal. If you are coming in for acupuncture treatment, do yourself a favor, give your injury or ailment a chance to heal. Otherwise, just like the carpenter, permanent relief will be elusive. And Jesus? Well I guess that it is good that he made a career change!

Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Our patients know just how effective treatments are for these and a host of other problems. Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, will provide you with a thorough intake and evaluation and a clear, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan that will insure that your goals are met or exceeded. Do you want to move past these or other problems? We will help you thrive not just survive!

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