Medical acupuncture is a procedure in which a thin filament needle is inserted into the skin and muscle directly towards myofascial trigger point. A myofascial trigger point is a small number of muscle fibre contraction knots, which can be related to the cause and maintenance of your pain cycle. They often occur as a result of neuromuscular dysfunction and in areas of musculoskeletal stress.
Breaking down the pain cycle
We know that inserting a needle into trigger points can cause favourable biochemical changes, which assist in reducing pain. It is essential to elicit so-called local twitch responses (LTR), which are spinal cord reflexes. Local twitch response with medical acupuncture is the first step in breaking the pain cycle.
Medical acupuncture is commonly used for a wide variety of musculoskeletal problems. Imbalance between nerves and muscles communication system are thought to be the primary contributing factor to the symptoms. Such conditions include, but are not limited to neck, back and shoulder pain, arm pain (tennis elbow, carpal tunnel, golfer’s elbow), headache to include migraines and tension-type headaches, jaw pain, buttock pain and leg pain (sciatica, hamstrings strains, calf tightness/spasms). The treatment of muscles has the greatest effect on reducing pain mechanisms in the nervous system.
Mild soreness is a common after the procedure much like osteopathic treatment. The soreness is described as muscle soreness over the area treated and into the areas of referred symptoms. Typically, the soreness lasts between a few hours and two days.
Acute or Chronic
We mainly use medical acupuncture as an adjunct to our Osteopathic delivery. However, during the initial acute phase of injury where pain levels are too high for ‘hands on’ treatment to occur Medical acupuncture could be the modality of choice. It is very common to initiate medical acupuncture at the beginning of your treatment program if very acute in order to break the pain cycle from the moment you meet us. Once that is achieved, other treatment options and techniques are introduced.
Once the dysfunction or imbalance has been corrected our aim is to ensure the body will maintain the appropriate balance. However, the musculoskeletal system is under constant stress from the demands of varying postures, gravity, psychological and emotional states etc. A regular exercise program combined with good posture can prevent many problems. If the pain comes back, occasional sessions are recommended to treat and prevent serious injuries.
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