Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Elbow FAQ

Question:

I've heard they are using laughing gas to treat tennis elbow. How does that work?

Answer:

You may be confusing nitrous oxide with nitric oxide. Nitrous oxide is what we also know as laughing gas used to relax dental patients. Nitric oxide is a cellular molecule that appears to have a wide variety of functions. For example, it acts like Teflon in the blood vessels to keep blood moving smoothly. It also enhances tendon healing. By improving blood flow, it helps improve memory and blood pressure. Treatment is with patches placed over the painful area. Nitric oxide in the patch is absorbed by the area of tendon damage promoting healing. Studies using the patches for six months showed improved function and strength because of decreased pain. And the pain relief can occur as fast as 24 hours after starting the patch. Nitric oxide provides more than just pain relief. There's evidence of actual tendon healing as well. Studies in animals and humans using nitric oxide for tendonitis and tendinopathy are ongoing right now. With tendonitis, there is acute inflammation. Tendinopathy refers to a condition with tendon degeneration but no active inflammation. These studies may help us better understand the mechanism by which nitric oxide works for these conditions. Brett M. Andres MD, and George A. C. Murrell, MD, Dphil. Treatment of Tendinopathy. In Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. July 2008. Vol. 466. No. 7. Pp. 1539-1554.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
All content provided by eORTHOPOD® is a registered trademark of Medical Multimedia Group, L.L.C.. Content is the sole property of Medical Multimedia Group, LLC and used herein by permission.

Our Specialties

Where Does It Hurt?

Our Locations

  Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on YouTube
Follow us on Twitter