Medical Acupuncture, also known as Western Acupuncture, or Dry Needling, is adapted from
Chinese acupuncture, and involves the insertion of fine needles directly into the skin and muscles to treat musculoskeletal pain, help improve movement and blood circulation, decrease pain, and aid in post-operative or post-injury rehabilitation.
Medical Acupuncture is practised by Doctors, Osteopaths, and other healthcare practitioners.
Medical Acupuncture involves stimulating sensory nerves under the skin and in the muscles, which engages the Central Nervous System (CNS), which in turn affects the way the brain modulates pain signals. It also affects the Cardiovascular System, improving blood flow to the soft tissues of the body, and initiates the body’s own healing mechanisms, as well releasing the body’s natural painkillers, endorphins and serotonin.
A course of acupuncture usually creates longer lasting pain relief, than when a single treatment is used.
Medical Acupuncture is great for:
• Decreasing pain
• Helping to ease tight muscles
• Improving joint movement
• Enhancing blood flow
• Enhancing the body’s own natural healing mechanisms
• Altering the way the brain perceives stimulation of nerve endings – inhibiting
nociceptive input to the CNS
At the Osteo Maestra clinics, Medical Acupuncture is sometimes used as the sole modality of
treatment, but is more often used in combination with other Osteopathic treatment techniques, such as gentle joint mobilisations, stretches and myofascial release techniques. Medical Acupuncture is helpful in decreasing pain, improving function, and getting you back to doing the things you love to do.
What to expect at your treatment session:
Single-use, pre-sterilised needles are inserted into specific places on the body, called acupuncture points.
During your session, you’ll usually be asked to sit or lie down. You may also be asked to remove some clothes so your Osteopath can access certain parts of your body.
The needles used are very fine and are usually a few centimetres long. They are disposed into a medical sharps box immediately they are removed from the body.
The needles may be inserted just under the skin, or deeper so they reach muscle. Once the needles are in place, they may be left in position for a length of time lasting from a few minutes up to around 30 minutes.
You may feel a tingling or a dull ache when the needles are inserted but you should not experience any significant pain. If you do, let your Osteopath know straight away.
After your session:
Acupuncture is generally very safe, and often painless. Rarely, some people experience mild, short-term side effects after their treatment such as:
• pain or aching where the needles puncture the skin
• tingling or hot/ice cold sensations where the needles puncture the skin
• bleeding or bruising where the needles puncture the skin
• feeling sick
• feeling dizzy or faint
• worsening of pre-existing symptoms for up to 48 hours
Medical Acupuncture can help not only with acute, new onset pain, but also in chronic pain conditions, and can be effective in treating tension-type headaches, migraine, tendinopathies, muscular spasms and back pain. Medical Acupuncture has also recently been recommended by NICE, the advisory board to the NHS UK in the treatment of Chronic Primary Pain – [NG193] Published: 07 April 2021.
To read more about the current research into the effectiveness of Medical Acupuncture in the treatment of non-specific lower back pain, click on the link below. This Systematic Literature Review and Meta-Analysis of studies conducted between 2000 and 2020, which was published earlier this year, concluded that acupuncture as an adjunct to standard therapy, is a safe and effective method in reducing pain and disability among adults with non-specific lower back pain. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35509875/
Ree Hyde – DO MROE. 629 is a Registered Osteopath and Medical Acupuncturist