Patient Education - Medical Articles by Dr. Siddiqui
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What is Acupuncture?
Medical acupuncture is the term used to describe acupuncture performed by a doctor trained and licensed in western medicine who has also had training in acupuncture. Such a doctor can use a combination of both western and eastern medicine to treat an illness or pain related symptoms.
Medical acupuncture can be used for:
- Promotion and maintenance of general wellness and health
- Prevention of illness
- Treatment of various medical conditions
- Treatment of pain
- Reduction of stress
- Anesthesia when conventional methods are contraindicated
Acupuncture is a complementary treatment to conventional medical care. The World Health Organization recognizes acupuncture in the treatment of a wide range of medical problems including:
- Digestive Disorders:
Acid reflux, spastic colon, constipation diarrhea
- Respiratory Disorders:
Sinusitis, bronchitis, asthma
- Neurological + Musculoskeletal Disorders:
Headaches, Neck pain, lower back pain, Sciatica, Frozen shoulder, Tendonitis
- Urinary, Menstrual + Reproductive Problems
Acupuncture is particularly helpful in resolving physical problems related to pain, stress and emotional conditions.
How does it work?
The traditional Chinese medicine explanation is that there is a disruption in "Chi" or the "energy of life". Energy runs in very distinct patterns throughout the body in channels called meridians to irrigate and nourish the tissues. Obstruction of the meridians leads to disease and illness.
Unblocking the Chi by using certain needle patterns will encourage the flow of "Chi" and restore the body to balance and ultimately restore health.
In conventional western medicine it has been shown that needing acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release natural opiates (pain killers) in our body called endorphins and enkephalins. This results in relaxation, pain stress reduction stimulation of the body natural healing abilities and improvement in physical + mental health.
Side effects and risks are minimal and may include:
- Light headaches
- Small bruises
- Minor bleeding
- Contact dermatitis to stainless steel needle
- Retained needle
Infection is prevented by the use of sterile, disposable needles. Alcohol is used to clean the area prior to insertion.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments varies according to the condition, whether it is acute/ chronic and the response of the individual. For acute problems fewer visits are required. Generally 2-3 visits per week are recommended. For chronic problems and pain, the duration could be several months.
Does it hurt?
Acupuncture needles are fine, "hair like" needles. The point is smooth, sharpened by lasers. The insertion through the skin is not as painful as intramuscular or blood drawing (phlebotomy). Most patients feel only the initial insertion which resembles a small ant bite. But, the majority feel no pain at all. Once the needles are inserted no pain is felt.
Do's and Don'ts of the Treatment
- Do not eat a large meal immediately before or after treatment
- Do not engage in sexual activity or consume alcohol 6 hours before or after treatment
- Continue taking prescription medications as recommended by your phsyician
- Substance abuse (drugs+alcohol) especially in the week prior to treatment will seriously interfere with the effectiveness of acupuncture treatments.