Acupuncture within the Chiropractic scope is used to treat a vast number of conditions such as sciatica, low back pain, arthritis, sprains and strains, whiplash, headaches, neck pain as well as neurological and other musculoskeletal conditions. Acupuncture is especially effective for treating and managing pain. In some cases, acupuncture will bring about a quicker or better resolution of problems and it is an effective complement to standard care. In a Cochrane Review4, it was found that for chronic low back pain, acupuncture is more effective for pain relief and functional improvement than no treatment or short-term “sham” treatment in the placebo group. Studies suggest that acupuncture would also be a useful addition to other therapies for chronic low back pain. In other words, when it’s added to other conventional therapies, it can relieve pain and improve function better than conventional therapies alone4. Acupuncture has been found effective in treating the headaches you might get once in a while, or chronic tension-type headaches that someone might suffer from all the time1. For migraines, adding acupuncture to symptomatic treatment can reduce how often you might get them3. Recent evidence supports the use of acupuncture for reducing neck pain2, particularly if it is chronic. Patients with neck pain who received manual therapy in combination with other modalities—including acupuncture—have been reported to have moderately better pain reduction, greater patient satisfaction, and improved function, range of motion and strength2.
How does it work?
Acupuncture is an ancient, safe and effective alternative and works to stimulate the release of endorphins-the body’s natural pain relieving neurohormones through the insertion of thin needles into the skin at specific anatomical points (acupuncture points) to encourage healing. Endorphins help to block the pathways that relay pain message from the body to the brain resulting in pain relief and general relaxation. After the practitioner finds the points, they will quickly tap the very thin needles into the skin. You might feel slight pressure with the needles goes in, however most people find that it doesn’t hurt and they don’t feel it at all. As the treatment goes on, the area where the needles are inserted may tingle, feel numb, itch or be a little sore. While these symptoms don’t always occur, they are all normal and a good indication that the point has been located exactly.
Therapeutic effects include:
- Pain relief
- Increased energy
- Improved Function
- Improved biomechanical balance
- Increased healing
- Reduces inflammation
Is Acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is safe for everyone and can even be performed on kids. There are certain conditions that the practitioner will review with you prior to beginning treatment that are relative contraindications and will guide the practitioner away from using certain points. The most common side effects from acupuncture include bruising, bleeding, and soreness at the site of insertion.
Acupuncture is a great complimentary treatment for any neuromusculoskeletal condition that you are already seeing your Chiropractor for.
- Linde K, Allais G, Fei Y, Mehring M, Shin B, Vickers A et al. Acupuncture for the prevention of tension-type headache. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2016.
- Carlesso L, MacDermid J, Gross A, Walton D, Santaguida P. Treatment preferences amongst physical therapists and chiropractors for the management of neck pain: results of an international survey. Chiropr Man Ther. 2014; 22(1): 11.
- Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, et al. Acupuncture for the prevention of episodic migraine. Cochrane Database for Systematic Reviews. 2016.
- Furlan A, van Tulder M, Cherkin D, et al. Acupuncture and dry-needling for low back pain: an updated systematic review within the framework of the Cochrane collaboration. Spine. 2005; 30(8): 944-63.