Our chiropractic clinic in Oakville uses numerous methods of treatment to allow our patients to heal, including Acupuncture.
Acupuncture is a type of treatment that stimulates points on the body to relieve pain in other areas. The most common method uses very thin, metal needles to penetrate the skin. Acupuncture is an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine, and is used for treating pain and other health problems.
Acupuncture Pain Treatment
Acupuncture is a highly effective treatment that is commonly used to treat pain and problems with function in various areas of the body. Thin metallic needles are used to delicately penetrate the skin. Although initially adopted heavily in Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is quickly becoming a mainstream therapy in the western world because of its therapeutic potential. With an impending opioid crisis, Acupuncture is a safe alternative for conservative pain management.
What Is Acupuncture?
During an acupuncture treatment, very fine needles are inserted into the skin at specific acupuncture points on the body. Therapists are trained extensively in human anatomy to identify the correct location to place a needle. A wide majority of patients feel little to any sensation upon insertion. Most patients explain the sensation as a being tapped lightly with a fingernail.
In certain instances, needles are placed in an area where you may not be experiencing pain. During most treatment sessions, a therapist will insert between 5 and 20 needles that may span across the body.
The therapist may apply electrical pulses to the needles to stimulate muscles. They can also twirl or move the needles to create a greater affect in an area. The acupuncture needles commonly are left in the body for 10 to 20 minutes. During this time, you will have to sit or lie still.
Each acupuncture treatment takes about 30 minutes. Sometimes it is used in combination with other therapies to improve healing and function. You may need one or two treatments per week, with up to about eight treatments.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Acupuncture is thought to work by increasing blood flow to an area that is injured. When tissues such as your muscles, ligaments, connective tissue and nerves do not get enough blood flow, they get less oxygen. Anytime a tissue loses oxygen, it loses its ability to work properly. Acupuncture can help to restore blood flow to injured areas so function can return. This improves the healing process.
Acupuncture is also thought to stimulate the nervous system. Your nervous system carries pain signals from your body to tell your brain that an area is injured. This is to protect your body from danger. However, sometimes these pain signals are amplified greater than they should be. Acupuncture stimulates the nerves to decrease the sensation of pain.
Types of Pain Treated by Acupuncture
Acupuncture is used to treat a wide range of conditions. This includes the following types of chronic pain:
- Fibromyalgia pain
- Headaches and migraines
- Labor pain
- Low-back pain
- Menstrual cramps
- Neck pain
- Osteoarthritis pain
- Jaw Pain
- Knee Pain
- Shoulder Pain
- Elbow Pain
- Hip Pain
- Foot Pain
Risks and Side Effects of Acupuncture
Acupuncture is safe when performed by a practitioner who has training and experience. Soreness and minor bruising or bleeding may occasionally occur at the point of needle insertion.
If done incorrectly, acupuncture can lead to very rare side effects, such as collapsed lungs, punctured organs or other injuries. Acupuncture providers are intensively trained to avoid the lung fields to avoid these injuries. Infections can result from the use of non-sterile needles. This is why it is important to visit a certified and experienced acupuncture provider for your treatment. They ensure that sterilized and new needles are used on every patient.
If you are pregnant or have a bleeding disorder, let your acupuncture provider know. These conditions may increase your risk of side effects from acupuncture. Also, acupuncture done by electrically stimulating the needles can interfere with a pacemaker. It is important to provide your therapist with this information prior to receiving care.
If you have chronic or short-term pain, ask your chiropractor if acupuncture can help. Before undergoing any treatment, find out more about the training and experience of the acupuncture provider that you are considering.