Medical Acupuncture provides a fast effective route to pain relief, through the use of fine needles inserted into trigger points in muscles. The needles penetrate deep into knots of muscles, to relieve tension and increase blood flow to the region. They can hit stubborn knots with precision, even when the source of pain seems to be buried so deep as to be inaccessible to massage. Relaxing these trigger points can release long held pain. Because of their exact anatomical location on nerve pathways, they can also reach the roots of referred pain in, for example, whiplash or tension headaches.
In light of the evidence reviewed, acupuncture may provide the following:
Relief of tension type headaches
Relief of migraine headache
Relief of chronic low back pain
Relief of neck pain or chronic neck pain
Relief from temporomandibular (TMD/TMJ) pain
Treatment for osteoarthritis knee pain
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEDICAL ACUPUNCTURE AND TRADITIONAL CHINESE ACUPUNCTURE?
When a needle hits the right spot, there is usually a muscle twitch in response. It is important to distinguish here between Medical Acupuncture (MA) and Traditional Chinese Acupuncture (TCA). At our clinic, we offer Medical Acupuncture, based on modern medical science, and practiced only by qualified health professionals who have undertaken postgraduate training with the British Medical Acupuncture Society (BMAS). (TCA works with Chi or Qi, in meridians, and diagnosis involves meridians, and has very little to do with western medicine.) The difference to the patient is that a small number of very fine needles are inserted deep and directly into the muscles rather than just under the skin. (In TCA, there are usually more needles and they are just under the skin, and not only into muscle tissue.)
MA practitioners are skilled at finding exact trigger points with a high degree of precision, even when they are buried deep within several bands of muscle, producing the characteristic twitch in the patient’s muscle tissue. As a result, patients usually experience relief of their symptoms after the first visit.
WHAT IF I DON’T LIKE NEEDLES?
We can offer Medical Acupuncture on its own, or as a component of osteopathy treatments. Because the needles are so fine, they cause very little pain. But for those patients who don’t like needles, we can offer acupressure or trigger point massage. This is delivered by the same osteopaths, and has rather milder effects than the needles. Although it can take longer to achieve success than acupuncture, acupressure can also be effective in pain relief, and it has the advantage that patients can be taught how to find and stimulate their own trigger points, to massage themselves.