Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient form of Chinese medicine involving the insertion of solid filiform acupuncture needles into the skin at specific points on the body to achieve a therapeutic effect. No drug is injected. The needles alone create the beneficial effects of acupuncture.

Acupuncture is used to encourage natural healing, improve mood and energy, reduce or relieve pain and improve function of affected areas of the body. It is safe and effective and is often successfully used as an alternative to medications or even surgery. Relief is often obtained with acupuncture when traditional medical therapy has failed.

Acupuncture needles are solid, usually stainless steel (they may also be gold or silver), and measure from 13-70 mm, although longer reusable ones up to about 150 mm in length can be purchased. The needles are very fine, flexible and rounded but sharp at the tip. They are ‘atraumatic’, meaning that they do not have a cutting edge like a hypodermic needle, which slices through tissue. Their design allows acupuncture needles to slide smoothly through tissues and makes them unlikely to cause bleeding or damage to underlying structures.

Conditions it can help:

The conditions for which one can say that there is the highest level of evidence that acupuncture is effective include:

  • Low back pain
  • Acute vomiting induced by chemotherapy
  • Post-operative nausea and vomiting
  • Neck disorders
  • Recurrent headache and Idiopathic headache

Intramuscular Stimulation

IMS is grounded in Western Medical Science, and has a solid foundation in its radiculopathic model of pain.  The treatment utilizes acupuncture needles to specifically target injured muscles that have contracted and become shortened from distress (common in chronic musculoskeletal pain conditions).

IMS relies heavily on a thorough physical examination of the patient by a competent practitioner, trained to recognize the physical signs of neuropathic pain. This physical examination is indispensable since chronic pain is often neurological as opposed to structural, and therefore, invisible to X-rays, MRI Tests, Bone and CT Scans.

The treatment involves dry needling of affected areas of the body without injecting any substance.  The needle sites can be at the epicentre of taut, tender muscle bands, or they can be near the spine where the nerve root may have become irritated and supersensitive.

The goal of treatment is to release muscle shortening, which presses on and irritates the nerve. Supersensitive areas can be desensitized, and the persistent pull of shortened muscles can be released. IMS is very effective for releasing shortened muscles under contracture, thereby causing mechanical pain from muscle pull. IMS, in effect, treats the underlying neuropathic condition that causes the pain. When competently performed, IMS has a remarkable success rate, as proven by the amelioration of symptoms and signs, even for chronic back pain with root signs.

For more information please visit the Institute for the Study and Treatment of Pain.