What is Medical Acupuncture?
Western Medical Acupuncture is an adaptation of Traditional Chinese Acupuncture and involves the insertion of fine needles into the soft tissues of the body in order to stimulate the nervous system and to treat musculoskeletal pain. It is based upon knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology and its known mechanisms of action include antidromic axon reflexes, segmental and extrasegmental neuromodulation and other central nervous system effects.
Who can Benefit?
The majority of patients with musculoskeletal pain can benefit from acupuncture. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) advocates the use of acupuncture for the treatment of non-specific low back pain. However acupuncture has far reaching benefits beyond low back pain including neck, shoulder, knee and hip pain along with conditions such as tennis and golfers elbow. Acupuncture can also improve sleep, promote relaxation and consequently can result in a feeling of improved wellbeing.
Those who cannot be treated with acupuncture include patients suffering with a bleeding disorder, at a particular risk of infection, those with damaged heart valves or a pacemaker, or patients who are taking anti-coagulant medication.
What can I Expect?
Most commonly acupuncture is used alongside other osteopathic treatment techniques such as mobilisation, manipulation, massage, stretching etc. However, you may choose to just have acupuncture as a treatment, in which case the case history and examination procedure is similar to that of Osteopathy. Once the examination has been completed, the Osteopath will use sterile, single-use, disposable needles and using information taken from your examination, will then insert needles into specific tender points or myofascial trigger points located within muscles. The needles used are finer in comparison to those used in blood taking or in vaccinations and the sensation when a needle is inserted varies from patient to patient.
Once the needles are inserted, they are manipulated in order to get a response and then removed when a sufficient reaction has been seen.
It is common to feel sore after acupuncture, the feeling should be similar to that of a rather vigorous sports massage. On rare occasions you may experience a small amount of bleeding from the needle insertion sites. The amount is minimal and is stemmed within 30 seconds. Because of this, you may experience some bruising of the area after the treatment. You may also feel drowsy.
It is advised to drink plenty of water after your treatment .The Osteopath will advise on the expected reaction following treatment and will further explain the course of action between your first and your follow up appointment.