Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese therapy which involves inserting of single use, pre-sterilised, disposable needles which vary inwidths and lengths, that pierce the skin at the speicific acupuncture points into the body. It aims to manage pain and inflammation and stimulates the body’s own healing chemicals in order to aid recovery. It is one of the most popular complementary therapies in the UK with 2.3 million acupuncture treatments carried out each year.
What can acupuncture help?
In physiotherapy we commonly use it to treat
- back pain
- headaches+ migraines
- muscle and tendon problems
- joint related pain such as osteoarthritis
- aiding sleep and relaxation which is useful in many long term pain conditions.
How does it work?
There are many different theories – in ancient Chinese medicine they believe that there are many forces within the body that require balance in order to achieve health and fitness. Acupuncture helps clear your energy channels (meridians) by two types of forces called YIN (negative) and YAN (positive) forces which help achieve and restore your natural state of balance (homeostasis).
In western medicine research has shown that acupuncture can help to reduce pain by inhibiting the pain signals transferred to the brain. It also releases chemicals such as endorphins and natural opioids which are both pain-relieving substances as well as improving circulation to the healing area.
Trigger point acupuncture may also be used to facilitate relaxation in specific muscles or as a means to obtain increased muscle length in order to aid stretch and rehabilitation.
The Physiotherapist will determine the locations of the Acupuncture points, based upon your assessment. A number of needles may be used at each treatment and these are typically left in position for 10-20 minutes before being removed.
Is acupuncture the right treatment for me?
Your therapist will ask you a series of questions in relation to your problem and your past medical history in order to help determine whether acupuncture is right for you. A few reasons we might not use acupuncture include a history of epilepsy, blood clotting disorders, infection or if you are pregnant.
Your physiotherapist will often incorporate other treatment techniques, education and exercises to help with your condition.
Are they any side effects?
It is common to get a mild tingling, warmth or heavy feeling in the area whilst the needles are in. The most common side effect is mild bruising, however some people can feel a little light-headed or drowsy after treatment.
Is there anything I should I do before/after acupuncture?
Try and eat a couple hours before your treatment, particularly if you have a condition such as diabetes where you could be more at risk of feeling faint if your blood sugar is low.
After treatment make sure you have time to sit and drink a glass of water before rushing off. You may also want to avoid driving after your first appointment in case you feel dizzy or drowsy.
If you think you could benefit from the combined approach of physiotherapy and acupuncture to help your recovery from a painful condition or injury, then give us a call or book an appointment online.