Acupuncture is one of the many skills employed within physiotherapy as part of an integrated approach to the management of musculo-skeletal pain and inflammation.

Physiotherapists base their treatment on scientific research and clinical evidence that acupuncture can reduce pain by stimulating the brain and spinal cord to produce natural pain relieving chemicals such as endorphins, melatonin (which promotes sleep) and seratonin (to promote wellbeing). These chemicals change the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord to relieve pain and assist the body’s natural healing process to enhance other physiotherapy treatments such as exercise or manual therapy to promote recovery.

Conventional Acupuncture

This involves the use of single use, pre- sterilized disposable needles of varying widths, lengths and materials that pierce the skin at specific acupuncture points that are selected after a thorough assessment. The needles are typically left in position for 20 to 30 minutes before being removed.

 

Trigger Point Acupuncture

This may be used to release tight muscles. The needle is inserted into the affected muscle until the muscle releases which usually only takes a few minutes.

 

Acupuncture and back pain

The National Institute of Health and Clinical excellence (NICE) guidelines suggest acupuncture as a first line treatment for persistent non specific back pain. It is particularly useful as an adjunct to conventional treatment for those wishing to avoid pain relieving drugs (Sherman 2009a 2009b, Lewis 2010). It may help work related back pain with fewer work days lost (Weidenhaammer 2001, Savazak 2008).