What is Contemporary Medical Acupuncture?
Contemporary acupuncture is used to stimulate peripheral nerves in order to control pain and dysfunction in the nervous system. It involves the insertion of very thin needles over specific areas of the body where nerves and their receptors are found. No drug is injected. This will stimulate the central nervous system which can result in many potential benefits. For example, it stimulates the body to produce its own pain relieving chemicals called “endorphins.” These are natural chemicals that mimic morphine and help by blocking pain pathways that relay pain messages from the body to the brain. This results in relief of pain.
What types of conditions does acupuncture help?
Contemporary acupuncture is a safe, natural, and clinically effective option for the treatment of a variety of common orthopedic and functional health conditions. The World Health Organization has endorsed acupuncture, declaring it to be effective in the treatment of many musculoskeletal problems such as:
- Low back pain
- Tennis elbow
- Joint pain
- Pelvic pain
What are some benefits of acupuncture?
Acupuncture works by activating the natural pain control and healing mechanisms of the body. It improves circulation to the injured tissues, increases muscle nutrition, restores muscle strength and decreases pain.
Some of the main benefits of acupuncture include a reduction of pain, faster recovery from injury, improved function of the affected area and improvement in mood and energy. It is a process that encourages natural, drug-free healing.
What can a patient expect from an acupuncture treatment?
I would perform a history and physical examination to determine what the problem is. If acupuncture is thought to be a technique that can be utilized for the healing process, a treatment plan will be discussed.
The actual treatment involves the insertion of acupuncture needles that are very thin, sterile and are single use. Discomfort during the process is minimal. Many patients report that they do not feel anything during the insertion of the needles. The needles are solid with a round tip that gently parts tissues without damaging them therefore there is little to no discomfort. However, when the tissue is tender, it is not uncommon to feel a brief sensation at the location where the needle was inserted.
The needles are inserted at specific sites of the body that will lead to the maximum therapeutic and physiological benefit. Each patient is different therefore each treatment plan is individually customized to their condition.
A treatment session typically lasts between 20-30 minutes.
Are there any adverse effects?
Adverse effects are very rare. The most common is minor bruising or minimal bleeding.
How quickly are results evident?
Every patient is unique therefore each person has a different reaction to acupuncture. On average, 6-8 treatments are effective for simple pain problems, whereas a more complex, chronic condition may take 10-12 treatments. Some patients report immediate benefits following treatment.