Medical acupuncture, sometimes referred to as ‘dry needling’, is a modern adaptation of traditional Chinese acupuncture using current knowledge of physiology, pathology and the principles of evidence-based medicine.
The treatment involves the precise insertion of fine sterilised acupuncture needles into what are called myofascial trigger points (small areas of tension located within the muscle belly). This creates both a local and systemic effect that promotes healing, relieves tension and provides fast acting pain relief.
It is commonly used by doctors, physiotherapists, osteopaths and health practitioners, but only those who have completed post-graduate acupuncture training.
How does it work?
The modern scientific explanation is acupuncture stimulates the central nervous system to increases the body’s release of natural painkillers endorphin and serotonin in the pain pathways of the central nervous system (the spinal cord and the brain). This changes the way pain signals are received and so we feel less pain. Acupuncture needles also create a localised effect by relaxing the muscle, increasing blood flow and promoting a healing response.
What can it treat?
Medical acupuncture can be used to treat a wide range of conditions and has been found particularly effective for the following:
- musculoskeletal pain, eg back, shoulder, neck and upper/lower extremity pain
- headache and migraine – especially when arising from the neck
- trapped nerves, muscle strains and spasms, various kinds of arthritic and rheumatic pain and generalised aches and pain
- sciatica without loss of muscle power or reflexes
- sports injuries including some tendinopathies and enthesopathies, eg tennis elbow and achilles tendonitis
- myofascial (muscular and fascial sheath) pain conditions including fibromyalgia
Is it painful?
We provide a wide range of treatments and interventions to relieve your symptoms – of which acupuncture is just one. If you don’t like the idea of acupuncture, we won’t use it. We will always inform you of our treatment plan and ask for your consent before we begin.
Acupuncture needles are incredibly fine and patients typically find treatment painless. Patients will commonly experience a dull tension or pressure around the point of insertion – this is a good sign and means the acupuncture is working. If your muscles are very tight, you may experience twitching or slight discomfort - just let your practitioner know if this is the case.