What is it for?
Medical acupuncture is used to reduce pain in a number of myofascial (muscle and tissue) complaints. It alleviates inflammation and relaxes muscle. Where tight painful bands, or ‘trigger points’ within a muscle cause pain locally or at a distance from the trigger point itself, acupuncture can be most effective. For example a trigger point in the should can cause pain and restriction in the muscles of the neck and provoke a headache. Trigger points occur in any part of the body, including the shoulder, back, hip, or legs, and may arise due to poor posture, repetitive actions or muscle damage.
Pain and discomfort pre and post-surgery may be relieved by acupuncture. Where joints are affected by osteoarthritis such as the knee, a combined osteopathic approach for neighbouring joints and acupuncture at the knee itself can bring relief. Low voltage electrical stimulation may further improve this effect.
NICE UK (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) recommend acupuncture for the treatment of migraines, persistent tension-type headaches and the temporomandibular joint pain. Acupuncture may also be helpful in providing relaxation and relief from pain in people with Fibromyalgia.
How does it work?
Fine, sterile, disposable needles are inserted at specific locations, usually to a depth of 3-5mm. The number depends on the symptoms you have. They may be gently moved to stimulate their healing effect. These needles cause chemicals to be released that reduce pain, stiffness and increase circulation. They usually create a widespread and relaxing easing effect. They do this by stimulating nerves in the skin, muscles and tissues that surround your joints.
Is it painful?
Although the sensation varies from person-to-person, acupuncture is usually painless and relieves discomfort. Typically, you may feel a slight dull ache. The pins are very thin, compared to a hypodermic needle, and do not have a cutting edge. Possible side effects to acupuncture will be discussed in more detail on meeting.
With what medical conditions can acupuncture help?
Acupuncture is often used for relaxation, it may also help you feel revitalised and more positive.
- Relief of the symptoms of overactive bladder syndrome
- Relief from tension type headaches
- Relief from migraine headache
- Relief from chronic low back pain
- Relief from neck pain or chronic neck pain
- Relief from temporomandibular (TMD/TMJ) pain
- As an additional treatment to osteopathy or massage, for osteoarthritis knee pain
Treatment could be once a week to begin with, then at longer intervals as the condition responds.
- A typical course could last 4-8 sessions to give acupuncture fair chance.