WHAT IS ACUPUNCURE?
Acupuncture treatment involves fine needles being inserted through the skin and briefly left in position. Sometimes manual or low voltage electrical stimulation is applied to assist the process. The number of needles varies but may be only two or three. The practitioner will assess each patient’s case and treatment will be tailored to the individual so it is difficult to give more than this general idea of what your particular treatment might involve. Treatment might be once a week to begin with, then at longer intervals as the condition responds. We often use it alongside the osteopathic treatment, as they complement each other.
Traditional acupuncture was developed in China about 2000 years ago. It uses a complicated system of ancient ideas and methodology which takes a long time to learn and understand. At AATC we use western medical acupuncture, where we typically place the needles in some of the traditional acupuncture points as well as trigger points in muscles and focal points around joints. In medical acupuncture the needles are left in for much less time, generally about 1-2 minutes
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Acupuncture stimulates the nerves in skin and muscle and can produce a variety of effects. We know that it increases the body’s release of natural painkillers – endorphin and serotonin – in the pain pathways of both the spinal cord and the brain. This modifies the way pain signals are received.
DOES ACUPUNCTURE HURT?
Acupuncture is usually not pain free, but it is no more painful than an ordinary injection or blood test and in most cases it is less painful. Sometimes acupuncture can make you feel relaxed, sleepy or happy.
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HOW WE USE ACUPUNCTURE
Acupuncture has been shown to have a direct effect on reducing pain and therefore can be used for a variety of conditions, which have been medically proven to provide pain relief from acupuncture.
Tension type headaches.
Chronic lower back pain.
Neck pain and chronic neck pain.
Temporary relief from osteoarthritic knee pain.
CAN ACUPUNCTURE CAUSE HARM & ARE THERE SIDE EFFECTS?
Acupuncture carries the same risks as any other medical procedure involving needles, such as damage to internal organs or blood vessels, though this is rare.
This is why it is important that the person carrying out the acupuncture has been properly trained and has a good understanding of anatomy. Osteopaths have an excellent knowledge of anatomy and medical training, which is why they can be trained in medical acupuncture.
Bruising due to a small vein being caught by the needle, which is not painful or serious and will go away by itself.
Drowsiness either straight away or later in the day. Patients who have had acupuncture should be cautious about driving for the rest of the day, especially long journeys.
Aggravation of symptoms. Inform the practitioner if your symptoms become worse, so the treatment can be adjusted accordingly. However, if aggravation is followed by an improvement, this is a positive sign.