Acupuncture: Effective Rapid Relief from Acute and Chronic Pain

What is acupuncture & how does it work?

Acupuncture is a 2000-year-old Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment. It is a time-tested, safe, all-natural, drug-free and extremely effective treatment for pain of all types. It involves the insertion of small stainless steel needles in specific areas of the body to relieve pain and promote healing.

Needles are inserted into specific locations based on a combination of the following:

  • According to TCM diagnosis & meridian theory
    • These include adjacent and distal points, away from the injured area to address the underlying cause and release referred pain.
  • Directly into the painful area (Ashi or trigger points)
    • This helps reduce pain by relaxing the tense muscles involved in the pain/injury, bringing it back to its normal state. These points will often generate a strong twitch or muscle release when stimulated with the needle.
      Note: Physiotherapy IMS (intramuscular stimulation) is a derivative of this technique. Its administration is typically more aggressive and does not include traditional meridian theory points.

Mechanism of Acupuncture

Nervous System

Sensory nerves bring information about pain, heat, cold and other senses to the spinal cord. However, there are nerve fibers that send signals faster than others. For example, if you hit your elbow, the sensory nerve fibers will send a pain signal to your peripheral nervous system, but rubbing your elbow will provide relief. That is because the activated nerve fibers from soothing the elbow is “faster” than the former. Acupuncture triggers these signals to override the pain signal.

Releasing endorphins

Acupuncture and electro-acupuncture are used in different frequencies to produce simultaneous release of different opioid peptides, such as endorphins, for analgesic and therapeutic pain-relieving effects.  

Improving blood circulation

Needle insertion creates a minor therapeutic injury to the area which creates improved circulation in the injured area. Inflammatory chemicals are cleaned up by the blood to facilitate reduced swelling.

Acupoint Injection Therapy (AIT)

Acupoint injection therapy, (or trigger point injection therapy), was developed by Dr. Janet Travell, MD, a pioneer in the development of myofascial pain therapies. It utilizes substances such as Procaine, Sodium Chloride, B vitamins, and other compounds to inject into active myofascial trigger points. Research demonstrates that a myofascial trigger point will produce pain and other symptoms of referred pain in other parts of the body. The majority of cases of musculoskeletal pain are due to issues with these myofascial trigger points, and that there is profound pain relief when Acupoint Injection Therapy is used to release these points.

Cupping Therapy

Cupping is an additional treatment that is sometimes added to acupuncture treatment sessions. It involves a suction technique to surface areas of the body to expel stagnant blood of the injured muscle, optimize blood circulation, and stimulate healing.

Common Pain Conditions Treated By Acupuncture

  • Back Pain
    • Sciatica
    • SI Joint Pain
  • Neck / Shoulder Pain 
    • Impingement
    • Frozen Shoulder
    • Tension
    • Whiplash
  • Upper Extremities
    • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
    • Tennis Elbow
    • Golfer’s Elbow
    • Arthritis
    • Tendonitis

ICBC claims

ICBC now covers Acupuncture! If you or someone you know has been injured in a motor vehicle accident (MVA) covered by ICBC on or after April 1, 2019, you are automatically pre-authorized (regardless of fault) for up to 12 acupuncture sessions within 12 weeks of the date of the accident.

  • No doctor referral required
  • No upfront payment required
  • All you need is your ICBC claim number

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