Dr. Suchitra Kanagasundaram, a pain management consultant at Avicenna Clinic in Peterborough, explains the role of acupuncture in managing pain. Acupuncture is considered a complementary or alternative form of medicine, separate from mainstream healthcare. Other examples include homeopathy, osteopathy, chiropractic, and herbal medicine.
Acupuncture originated from ancient Chinese medicine. Western medical acupuncture is an adapted form that relies on conventional history taking, examination, and needling of specific points. During acupuncture treatment, fine needles are inserted into the skin and left in place briefly. You may feel a tingling or dull ache, but significant pain is unlikely. Acupuncture is generally safe, and side effects are temporary and rare.
Acupuncture stimulates sensory nerves in the skin and muscles, producing various effects. It increases the production of natural pain relievers called endorphins, which can modify painful signals and lead to beneficial effects.
One valuable aspect of acupuncture is its consideration of all symptoms a patient is experiencing, such as sleep disturbances, pain, anxiety, and nausea. This may relate to the traditional Chinese belief in a life force called Qi, which flows through channels called meridians. Acupuncture is thought to restore the flow of Qi, alleviating unpleasant symptoms.
In chronic pain management, acupuncture’s holistic approach is particularly beneficial, as pain can impact all aspects of life. It’s typically offered after a conventional assessment and involves using a combination of specific points on the body. Treatment is usually provided once a week for six weeks, but the number of sessions may vary based on response.
In addition to acupuncture, rehabilitative exercises and self-management strategies may be prescribed to enhance pain relief, improve function, and promote better sleep.
Acupuncture plays a well-established role in conventional pain management. Clinical trials also provide good evidence for its effectiveness in short-term relief of tension-type headaches and migraines. It’s commonly used to address various musculoskeletal and pain conditions, including chronic back and neck pain, joint pain, and myofascial pain.
Avicenna Clinic advocates incorporating acupuncture into conventional medicine as a therapeutic tool alongside other available treatments. A consultant pain management specialist conducts an initial assessment, which includes history taking, examination, and any necessary investigations. They can offer acupuncture treatment and draw on their broader medical knowledge to suggest alternatives and additional treatments.
Avicenna Clinic boasts a team of specialist consultants, an operating theatre for surgical procedures, and advanced in-house imaging facilities. This includes state-of-the-art MRI, ultrasound, and X-ray scanning equipment. They provide swift assessments and comprehensive, tailored treatment plans for both acute and chronic pain cases.
To schedule a consultation or learn more about pain treatment options and other services available, you can contact Avicenna Clinic at 0330 202 0597.