Recent research supports the effectiveness of Acupuncture for pain management and for treating many conditions including low back and neck pain, osteoarthritis and nerve pain.
Acupuncture or 'dry needling'
It can be used as part of a Physiotherapy rehabilitation and pain management program alongside other physiotherapy treatments and modalities; such as joint and soft tissue mobilizations, specific exercises, laser, traction, ultrasound and TENS.
Normally a course of 6 – 10 treatments is required to achieve the best results, however complete or lasting relief of symptoms may be achieved in just a couple of sessions, especially when needling is used to manage an acute problem. Most commonly a treatment will involve use of between 2 – 16 needles and they will be in place for 10 – 30 minutes. The needles may be inserted near the painful area and/or away from it to the hands and feet, or on the opposite side of the body. Insertion sites may be selected to treat trigger points in soft tissue, or specific traditional Chinese points may be used. The management plan will be tailor made to the individual; as treatments vary depending on the condition being treated, patient response and other modalities being used.
WHAT is IMS?
Intramuscular stimulation (IMS) is an effective treatment for chronic pain of neuropathic origin. IMS was developed by Dr.Chan Gunn while he was a clinic physician at the Workers's Compensation Boards of British Columbia in the 70's. He is the founding member of iSTOP which is the Institute for the study and treatment of pain. IMS is effective and has few side-effects, the technique is also unequaled for finding and diagnosing muscle shortening in deep muscles. Although, IMS uses implements adapted from traditional acupuncture, it is based on scientific, neurophysiological principles. The acupuncture needles used are very thin and you may not even feel it penetrating the skin, and if your muscle is normal, the needle is painless. However, if your muscle is supersensitive and shortened, you will feel a peculiar sensation- like a muscle cramp or 'Charlie Horse'. This is a distinctive type of discomfort caused by muscle grasping the needle. It is 'good' or positive pain because it soon disappears and is followed by a wonderful feeling of relief and relaxation. The needle may still be in you, but because the muscle is no longer tight, you no longer feel it. The needling causes the abnormal muscle shortening to intensify before 'releasing' it. It is important that you experience this sensation in order to gain lasting relief. Treatments are usually once or twice a week to allow time between treatments for the body to heal itself. The number of treatments you require will depend on several factors such as duration and extent of your condition, how much scar tissue there is and how quickly your body can heal.