Have you ever thought about acupuncture for pain relief?

Here at Wimborne Osteopathic Clinic we get some great results using medical acupuncture. Our patients are often surprised that:

  1. we offer acupuncture
  2. it doesn’t hurt
  3. it works

If you have had acupuncture before then you will know the benefits. If you haven’t tried it yet, why not read on to see if it might be for you?

What is medical acupuncture?

Medical acupuncture, or dry needling, can relieve pain, decrease inflammation and relax muscles. Medical acupuncture is mainly used to treat musculo-skeletal pain, including tight knotted muscles, often called “trigger points”.  It enables access to deeper tissues that may be difficult or too painful to massage.  Acupuncture is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for tension type headaches.

Medical acupuncture is a form of therapy in which needles are inserted into specific points on the body to encourage healing and pain relief. These points can be tender areas in muscles or specific sites that stimulate nerves in the skin or muscle. Medical acupuncture is an adaptation of Chinese acupuncture drawing upon a modern understanding of human anatomy and physiology to bring about changes in the nervous and musculoskeletal system.

All of the osteopaths here at Wimborne Osteopathic Clinic are trained in medical acupuncture.

How does it work?

It is believed that stimulating acupuncture points can have the following effects:

  • stimulate the release of specific chemicals and hormones that reduce pain and increase well-being
  • increase blood flow to the area, which can aid healing
  • reduce pain messages

Fine needles are inserted into and beyond the skin into precise muscular knots (“trigger points”) or more classical acupuncture points.   It is thought that this creates an increase in blood flow and oxygen precisely where it is needed in the muscle tissue thus allowing that portion of muscle to relax and the associated pain and stiffness to reduce.

What can medical acupuncture treat?

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance for the management of headaches states that a course of up to 10 sessions of acupuncture over 5- 8 weeks can be considered for the prophylactic (i.e. preventative) treatment of chronic tension type headaches.

Here at Wimborne Osteopathic Clinic, we practise medical acupuncture alongside osteopathy. We find it particularly useful in the following circumstances:

  • cases where there is compensation for arthritic pain (wear and tear) when it is often thought nothing can be done – especially knees and neck
  • shoulder conditions
  • muscle spasms
  • tension headaches (arising from the neck)
Does it hurt?

People are often unsure about the insertion of needles but, more often than not, find it far less painful than anticipated and often don’t feel the insertion. This is because the needles are so fine – much finer than the needles used to give injections.

Many patients feel relaxed once the needles have gone in due to the release of endorphins. Some points produce a dull, heavy feeling or an ache which may “drift” from the site of insertion. This is a good sign! If very tense muscles are being treated, you may feel a stronger discomfort or muscle twitch. Very occasionally, people feel faint during a treatment. If you experience sharp pain or feel unwell, please let us know and we will remove the needles immediately.

Is it safe?

Yes. Single-use, sterile, disposable needles are used.

We also ask about your general health before we start to make sure there’s nothing in your medical history that might cause a problem.

Please tell your osteopath if you have:

  • a blood borne virus (such as HIV or Hepatitis B or C)
  • a history of fits or fainting or a strong reaction to acupuncture
  • a pacemaker
  • a bleeding disorder or are taking anti-coagulation medicine (eg Warfarin)
  • damaged heart valves or any other risk of infection
Are there side effects?

Serious side-effects are rare but, occasionally some patients feel drowsy after treatment and there can be minor bleeding or bruising. If you feel faint after treatment, we advise you not to drive.

More serious side effects occur in fewer than 1 in 10,000 treatments. Of the few reported cases of serious complications, almost all were caused by non-sterile needles (causing viral infections), or poor technique in positioning the needles. As qualified practitioners we understand the risk factors. We only ever use single-use, sterile disposable needlesand we practise safe needling techniques as taught by the British Medical Acupuncture Society.

What if I don’t like needles?

Then you don’t have to have acupuncture! It is YOUR treatment and you do not have to agree to any treatment modality with which you are not comfortable.

If you do not want acupuncture, then we will use alternatives such as trigger point massage.

Can I give blood after having medical acupuncture?
Yes you can. The Blood Service will need the name and GOsC registration number of your practitioner and the dates on which you received acupuncture treatment if it has been within the four months leading up to your donation. Please ask if you need these details.
Further information

Please see the British Medical Acupuncture Society.
Please note that Rona and Katherine are not members of the society.

 

At Wimborne Osteopathic Clinic we are always very happy to discuss your individual concerns and requirements.

To make an appointment or to talk things through, call us on 01202 888439.