Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine that is often used to treat stiffness and pain. It involves the use of very thin needles to puncture the skin. The needles are placed in specific points around the body depending on the condition that is being treated. Acupuncture needles are inserted directly into muscle.
Once placed into muscle, the needles will remain there for a period of time to allow the effects to take place. For many individuals, acupuncture can have a significant effect on their pain and stiffness. On the other hand, some individuals may not experience a significant effect. If you’ve tried one session of acupuncture and haven’t noticed a difference in your symptoms, it can be worth it to try a few more sessions. In some cases, it may take multiple sessions of acupuncture before you notice a significant change in your symptoms.
If you’ve tried several sessions of acupuncture and haven’t noticed any change in your symptoms, it’s unlikely acupuncture will have a significant effect. In this case, it may be more valuable to spend your time on other treatments that will help in the long-term recovery of your condition. It’s also reasonable to stop acupuncture if you’ve experienced increased symptoms from the treatment.
In some cases, it’s possible to experience more pain or stiffness from acupuncture, which may be an indication that your body does not respond well to it. Again, it’s worth it to try acupuncture a few times before giving up on it. If you find your symptoms are consistently worse with the treatment, you should stop acupuncture.
What is acupuncture good for?
Acupuncture can be helpful for many different musculoskeletal conditions. In general, acupuncture can be helpful for pain and stiffness around muscles and joints. As a result, acupuncture may help a variety of conditions that cause symptoms of pain and stiffness. Some examples of these include osteoarthritis, low back pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, and more.
It’s important to note that the effects of acupuncture are highly variable. Some individuals find the effects of acupuncture very strong and significant, while others may find that acupuncture did not have much of an effect on their symptoms. It’s worthwhile to try a few sessions of acupuncture to determine whether or not it’s helpful for you and your condition.
Is acupuncture good for sciatica?
Sciatica is an umbrella term that can be used to describe pain, as well as other symptoms that travel down the leg. It mainly includes two distinct conditions of radicular pain and radiculopathy.
These conditions involve the irritation of some of the nerves that exit the spinal cord through the low back and travel down the leg and into the feet. Radicular pain is the term used to describe pain that is caused by the irritation of the nerves travelling from the low back down into the leg.
On the other hand, radiculopathy includes at least 2 other symptoms of changes in sensation, strength, or reflexes in the leg. The term sciatica stems from the idea that the sciatic nerve is the source of the pain. While this may sometimes be the case, there are also situations in which the radicular pain or radiculopathy is caused by other nerves travelling down the leg. In short, acupuncture can be helpful for sciatica. It can help decrease the amount of pain and stiffness felt with this condition. Not everyone will experience symptom relief with acupuncture, but it can be helpful in the short term for some.
It’s important to note that acupuncture alone is often not enough to completely resolve sciatica. While it can help provide short term relief, long term strategies are typically needed to experience long term change. Education and exercise are crucial for long term recovery from musculoskeletal conditions, such as sciatica. Knowing what positions to avoid and what positions and exercises to work on can help you recover from sciatica, as well as reduce the likelihood of it coming back.
Still not sure what to expect with acupuncture? Call us at 519-895-2020, or use our online booking tool on www.strivept.ca to book an appointment with one of our knowledgeable physiotherapists, and they will be sure to help you understand your injury.
Physiotherapist at Strive Physiotherapy and Performance