Our Chiropractic Clinic in Oakville uses numerous methods of treatment to allow our patients to heal, including acupuncture!
Acupuncture is an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and has been adapted by western medicine to treat muscle and joint conditions. Our Oakville Acupuncturist stimulates specific points on the body to relieve pain in both the area of the needling and areas further away. The most common method uses very thin, metal needles to penetrate the skin and stimulate specific points in the body.
What Is Acupuncture?
During an acupuncture treatment, thin metallic needles are used to penetrate the skin at specific locations in the body. Some insertions are shallow (1-2cm) and other insertions through thicker tissues (like the buttock) can be deeper. Therapists are trained extensively in human anatomy to identify the specific acupuncture points, which are commonly points in the body where nerves run closer to the surface and can be affected by the needles. Needles can be placed directly into the painful area but can also be inserted in an area where you may not be experiencing pain. In these instances, the practitioner is targeting nerves that may be contributing to pain at a more distant location.
Most patients describe the sensation as a small prick when the needle is inserted. Insertions through tight musculature can be mildly achy, but should never be painful. With each treatment session a therapist can insert between 5 and 20 needles that are left in the body for 10-20 minutes. The therapist may apply electrical pulses to the needles or manually twist the needles to create a greater affect. Some people notice an improvement after their first acupuncture session. For others it takes two or three sessions to notice an improvement in their symptoms. Everybody responds differently!
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Acupuncture has an effect a few different ways. It increases 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 also stimulates the nervous system. Your nervous system carries pain signals from your body to tell your brain that an area is injured. However, sometimes these pain signals are amplified greater than they should be and acupuncture can help dampen the signals and decrease the sensation of pain.
Acupuncture also creates a neuro-hormonal response within the body that can help relieve pain and reduce muscle tension by stimulating the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.
Acupuncture Pain Treatment
Acupuncture is a highly effective treatment that is commonly used to treat pain and dysfunction in various areas of the body. Although initially used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, it has quickly becoming a mainstream therapy in the western world because of its therapeutic potential. With the current opioid crisis, acupuncture is a safe alternative for conservative pain management.
Types of Pain Treated by Acupuncture
Acupuncture is used to treat a wide range of conditions. This includes the following types of pain:
- Headaches and migraines
- Low-back pain
- Neck pain
- Osteoarthritis pain
- Jaw Pain
- Knee Pain
- Shoulder Pain
- Elbow Pain
- Hip Pain
- Foot Pain
- Menstrual cramps
- Fibromyalgia 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 and other important organs. Infections can result from the use of non-sterile needles, but most practitioners use individually packaged disposable needles to avoid this complication.
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, visit or call Nottinghill Family Wellness and talk to Dr. Jenn about it!