All about Acupuncture at Lushington Chiropractic Clinic
Here in Eastbourne at our Chiropractic Clinic, most of the chiropractors use a form of acupuncture. There are a lot of questions about what this is, what it entails, how it feels etc. I will try to answer these questions in this blog.
What is acupuncture?
The word acupuncture is derived from a Latin word acu, which means needle, and an English work puncture. So it is puncturing the skin with a needle.
Acupuncture makes use of very fine needles which are put in the body for a short time. These needles can be stimulated manually(moved around), or can be stimulated electrically.
Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years in the far East but has started to be used by western medical practitioners in the last few decades. Although western medical acupuncture is derived from Chinese acupuncture, it is based on knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology. The focus is no longer on Qi and the disruptions to the flow of energy. However, many similar points are used.
Acupuncture involves stimulating sensory nerves under the skin and in muscles, which cause the body to release endorphin and serotonin which are the body’s natural pain killers. So basically, we use acupuncture for musculoskeletal pain and to help release trigger points in muscles.
What will happen in an acupuncture treatment?
As chiropractors, we use acupuncture as part of our treatment. We generally use it as trigger point therapy and do not treat conditions like acupuncturists do. This part of acupuncture is often referred to as dry needling. We tend to focus on a painful area, we don't use many needles and we tend to remove them fairly quickly.
The needles are very fine and there are different lengths for different areas. We use them to put into trigger points in muscles, so some needles need to be longer in order to get into the muscle. The needle is tapped through the skin quickly and then pushed into the trigger point. We then twist/move the needle to get a twitch from the muscle/or a change in sensation. The needle is removed shortly after.
What does it feel like to receive Acupuncture?
The first thing you will feel is the plastic feeder tube that the needle sits in, touching your skin. We then flick the needle in quickly. Generally if this is quick,you barely feel it at all. Sometimes you will feel a bit of a scratch or prick, or it will feel a little bit burny. Most of the time it is barely felt.
We then move the needle until we get a response from the muscle. This can feel slightly strange as you can sense that something is moving, but it is not uncomfortable. Then the sensation changes. Sometimes it slowly builds to an ache, other times it suddenly becomes achy. The sensations felt can be different every time. Sometimes it can be very achy and travel down a segment in the body, other times it is a very subtle change. It is generally a quick initial feeling, and then leaves an ache after treatment. When I have acupuncture it generally feels quite achy after treatment for a few hours, and then I start to feel better and the effects kick in. Some people say they are very achy the next day and then the benefits kick in. On occasion, people feel the benefits immediately after treatment.
Needles are single-use and sterilised and disposed of immediately after treatment.
Side effects of acupuncture
The most common side effect of acupuncture is the deep ache/pain people can feel after treatment. For most people this seems to disappear in a day or 2 but I have had some people who have complained of pain for some days after treatment. Another common side effect is bruising. This is usually very mild, a small circular bruise around the insertion site.
Some people say they feel very tired after a treatment but I have had some people say it gives them a boost of energy.
There was a study done in the uk in 2006 about the safety of acupuncture. It concludes that risks associated with acupuncture are negligible. Click here to access the study.
I really like using acupuncture because I have found it very helpful for myself and it also fascinates me. If you would like to have some acupuncture as part of your treatment, then mention this to your chiropractor as most of us use it. If you want to talk to someone about this then please feel free to book a telephone chat. If you would like to receive chiropractic and acupuncture, then please contact us at our Eastbourne Chiropractic Clinic. You can find our details by clicking here.