Acupuncture is a traditional form of Chinese medicine which has been around for thousands of years. In more recent times there has been an increase in acupuncture use in Western practice as its scientific basis and benefits have been demonstrated by modern research. Many musculoskeletal conditions such as back and neck injuries, headaches, sports injuries and occupational injuries can be helped by acupuncture.
Very fine needles are applied through the skin which cause minimal discomfort. The physiotherapist may apply between 2-8 needles in specific areas, some of which may be a distance from the area of injury. Once the needle is in the correct position a sensation is usually felt around the needle which differs from person to person. Most people describe a mild ache or throb. Needles will be left in place for up to 30mins depending on the desired effect and your individual response. Your physiotherapist may stimulate the needles during the treatment by gently rotating them or applying an electrical current. Only sterile disposable needles are used.
How does it work?
The needle activates nerve fibres in the muscle which send impulses to the spinal cord and brain to cause pain relief by releasing sustances that block incoming pain signals, substances such as endorphins are released which are the bodies natural pain defence mechanism. Cortisol is also released which reduces inflammation. (Many of you will have heard of Cortisone injections which are the synthetic form of the bodies natural cortisol).
There are very few side effects to acupuncture. The most common being drowsiness on the day of acupuncture.
On rare occasions, acupuncture may lead to:
- Fainting or nausea
- Bruising and/or pain around the needle site
- Alteration of your mood
Your physiotherapist is trained to know how to minimise any such symptoms and has the skill to adapt treatment accordingly. It is important to let your physiotherapist know of any medical conditions or medications you are on.
If you have any questions either before, during, or at the completion of your treatment, please make sure that you ask your physiotherapist.
Your physiotherapist will discuss the acupuncture procedure prior to your treatment.