There is a wealth of research behind acupuncture for pain relief. However, there is no conclusive evidence on HOW it works.
Acupuncture comes from Eastern Medicine, where the body is seen as a complex pattern of energy lines and energy centres. The use of Acupuncture, following Eastern theory, is considered to unblock areas where excess energy has collected and flow into areas where it is lacking. This is a very basic description of a complex theory that takes decades to learn, so apologies to reades with an advanced understanding of energy based medicine.
The Western medicine theory behind acupuncture is that it has a positive effect on the nocioceptive (i.e. pain) pathways as they feed back to the brain along with the release of endorphins and an improvement in local circulation. To expand on this would mean going into the physiology of pain which is too complex to discuss here – please ask your Physiotherapist or Osteopath next time you see them.
The term dry needling can vary in its definition depending on the practitioner and is very similar to acupuncture. However, dry needling is often more localized to a particular muscle. Physiotherapists and Osteopaths are often trained in both types, so you will probably have a combination of both. Acupuncture gets glowing reports from patients with its impressive effects on pain (like sciatica) and tendon problems.
“Three months ago I had a prolapsed disk in my neck. The pain was so acute that the doctor had put me on Tramadol. After only two sessions with Lucy Macdonald, who treated me with acupuncture and massage, I was able to quit this morphine based medication. I was left with numbness down the left side of my right hand and continued treatment. Not only did this dramatically improve, but the feeling in the right side of that hand, rendered absolutely numb for 54 years, came back. This has astonished everyone, even a consultant. I was completely unable to feel even a severe burn and now my whole hand is normal.” Anne Nightingale
Acupuncture is used at Octopus Clinic with a combination of other treatments. It is often used to reduce pain levels so that the underlying mechanical cause of the problem can then be addressed with movement re-education exercises and hands on techniques.
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