Acupuncture is delivered by Back In Action physiotherapists with post graduate qualifications in acupuncture.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points in your body near the injury site and sometimes at points linked to, but further away from the site of injury.
What does it feel like?
The sensation you should feel is a sharp prick initially, followed by a dull achey sensation, or a heaviness in the area around the needle insertion site. The sensation relates to a particular type of nerve fibre being stimulated, and is generally comfortable. Please let your physiotherapist know if there are any other sensations, particularly sharp sensations, or shooting pain into other parts of your body, or if you are uncomfortable.
Dry needling is a form of acupuncture where the aim is to elicit muscle twitch responses. This form of acupuncture can be uncomfortable, in the short term, but is often associated with better long term responses.
Electroacupuncture is another variation of acupuncture which can improve responses significantly. Small electrodes are clipped onto the needles and a current is passed through the needles to stimulate them. Most people describe the sensation as buzzing or ticking. Sometimes this causes muscular contraction also. Intensity will be adjusted to ensure that the sensation is comfortable for you.
Acupuncture often leaves you feeling relaxed, and this can be enhanced using some particular points. If you feel particularly drowsy after acupuncture we recommend you do not drive until you are more alert. You are welcome to spend some time sitting reading in the waiting room here at the clinic if needed. If you struggle sleeping, let your physiotherapist know and we can aim for more of these effects.
Acupuncture – Side Effects
There are some risks inherent to the practice of acupuncture which you should be aware of before you give your consent to treatment.
Negative side effects of acupuncture are rare, but can include:
1. Increased pain. It is very unlikely, but sometimes acupuncture can make your problem worse.
2. Achiness. Dry needling and electro-acupuncture often leave you feeling a little achy at the needle site for about 24 hours. This is usually remedied with consumption of a single alcoholic beverage, or the application of a heat pack.
3. Bleeding/bruising. This happens when small blood vessels are punctured and usually resolves quickly and without any further treatment. Please let us know if you are on any blood thinning medication.
4. Light-headedness, and in some cases fainting. This is not usually serious though can be concerning at the time. If you have fainted before, please let your physiotherapist know.
5. Infection. This is always possible with any procedure that penetrates the skin. Please let us know if you are on antibiotics for any reason or immuno-suppressant medication. At Back in Action we use only sterile single use needles to minimise your risk.
6. Needle breakage. Although we use only high-quality tested needles, needle breakage is an unlikely possibility – this would require a trip to the doctor to remove the splinter of needle left behind.
7. Organ puncture. Risk to internal organs is minimised with careful technique, and consideration of anatomical variation. However this is a possibility. The vast majority of needle injuries to organs reported in medical literature are minimal and non life-threatening.
8. Nerve injury. Nerve injury is also something reported in medical literature. Again most events are minor and avoided with careful technique and good anatomy knowledge. Nerve injury most commonly results in numbness for a short period of time.
You will ALWAYS be explained