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There is evidence to show Medical Acupuncture can assist with the following conditions:
Acupuncture broadly works on 3 levels:
1. Local effects directly on tissues via stimulation of nerve receptors, mechanical effects and release of various mediators – includes effects of dry needling.
2. Segmental effects – treating points stimulates A delta and C fibres modulating pain signals from the painful region within the same dermatome/ myotome/ sclerotome. This occurs primarily at the dorsal horn level.
3. Extra segmental effects – modulation of limbic system activity (calming effect) and cortical activity, autonomic regulation, effects on neurotransmitters and the immune system.
The most common problems I treat are chronic pain conditions. Most people have already tried many forms of treatment and continue to struggle with persistent pain and the associated effects on their functioning, mobility, mood, sleep and well being. The general comprehension regarding the basis of their chronic pain is usually an area requiring further education. As a generalisation, most people and their health professionals are focused on a discrete tissue injury/ disease cause of their pain with the resulting frustration when this cannot be found and fixed. Rather, chronic pain involves complex changes of the pain system involving the receptors, nerves, myofascia, CNS (central sensitisation) as well as psycho social factors.
My approach is first to fully evaluate the patient's symptoms through history, examination and review of investigations and treatments to date. Occasionally a red flag condition or a localised cause can be found that can be specifically treated.
From this assessment, I consider the relative contribution of the various components to the pain experience. The other reason for a thorough assessment is to justify the reassurance to the patient that there is no major structural problem and that they are safe to move and there is no need to guard the area.
I then spend time explaining the complexities of chronic pain and the multimodal treatment approach.