Acupuncture can be used, along with other evidence-based physiotherapy treatment modalities, to decrease tissue inflammation, reduce pain and promote healing. Acupuncture involves inserting thin, sterile needles into specific acupuncture points on the body.
Research shows that the acupuncture needle stimulates sympathetic nerve endings, enhancing pain modulation by the release of chemicals within the body, such as endorphins. These help to diminish the sensation of pain. Following an assessment, a physiotherapist will decide if acupuncture is an appropriate treatment option for you. It will depend on your condition as to where and how many acupuncture needles are inserted, and how long they are left in for.
After reviewing the best available evidence, The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has produced guidelines which recommend the use of acupuncture to treat chronic low back pain. There is strong evidence showing that acupuncture is effective in the treatment of various conditions including joint pain caused by osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and tension type headache.
As a physiotherapy practice our clinicians use acupuncture to help pain relief with the consent of the patient when treating conditions from back pain to sports injuries. Acupuncture is rarely used on its own as it is a tool of treatment and the pain relief achieved by acupuncture can then allow other physiotherapy modalities to be used such as spinal manipulation, joint mobilisations and exercise.
For more information on acupuncture and the regulatory bodies who govern the licensing of acupuncturists see the links below.
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