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What is Acupuncture & What Can it Treat?

What is Acupuncture & What Can it Treat?

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Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice involving the strategic insertion of thin needles into the skin to balance chi (qi), or the flow of energy in the body. According to one of the practice’s major principles, inserting needles into certain points along energy pathways (meridians) can rebalance energy flow. Rebalancing energy effectively treats pain, stress, depression, and other physical, mental, or emotional issues. Find out more about this powerful practice as well as the conditions it can address below.

What Should You Expect from Acupuncture?

Although acupuncture is an ancient Eastern practice, many practitioners have their own unique treatment style and specialties. The best fit will depend on your treatment needs, lifestyle, and personal preferences. A bit of research, interviews with potential practitioners, and personal and professional evaluations will help you find the right approach. Once you’ve chosen an approach and practitioner, a brief evaluation will be performed to determine an appropriate treatment plan. Treatments typically last at least 30 minutes and must be administered once or twice per week for four to six weeks, depending on your condition.

What Conditions Does Acupuncture Benefit?

Acupuncture is most often used as an alternative therapy for pain management. However, it can address many other conditions, including:

  • Chronic headaches (particularly migraines)
  • Chemotherapy-induced nausea or other issues
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Toothaches
  • Respiratory conditions, such as asthma and allergies
  • Frequent, extreme menstrual cramps
  • Lower back and neck pain

What Happens During the Procedure?

Since needles must be inserted through the skin, the treatment typically requires patients to be at least partially undressed. During the procedure, five to 20 needles are inserted at different depths at certain points on the body. Due to their thinness and the skills of the practitioner, this insertion and removal are virtually painless. However, you may experience a mild tingling or aching when a needle reaches its designated depth.

After all the needles have been inserted, the practitioner may twirl them or supplement the treatment with heat or electrical pulses. Needles remain in place for 10 to 20 minutes, and you must relax and lie still for the duration. A successful treatment can provide almost immediate relief, especially if it’s the best acupuncture Sherwood Park has to offer.

For more information on acupuncture and how it may be of benefit to you, please contact us.

Common Types of Osteoarthritis Treatment

Common Types of Osteoarthritis Treatment

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Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic, often painful joint condition for which there is currently no cure. Yet, people with this condition can still find relief through personalized symptom management. By addressing issues like stiffness, swelling, and discomfort, practitioners can help patients improve their quality of life. Discover some of the most common treatment options and how they could help you below.

Ant-Inflammatory Medications

Anti-inflammatory and pain medications are well-known treatments for osteoarthritis. They’re usually prescribed or recommended by a doctor for managing joint pain and swelling caused by inflammation. In addition to pills, anti-inflammatories are available as injections and creams. Depending on your condition’s progression and pain levels, you may also be prescribed nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), hyaluronic acid, corticosteroids, or analgesics.

  • NSAIDs: Celecoxib, ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen are NSAIDs commonly prescribed to treat OA pain and inflammation. However, long term use of anti-inflammatory medication can contribute to joint arthritis.
  • Hyaluronic Acid: This is a naturally occurring acid found in the joints that acts as a lubricant and shock absorber. Unfortunately, osteoarthritis breaks this acid down, leaving the joints without any cushion or lubrication. To remedy this, the joints can be injected with hyaluronic acid. It is also available as an over the counter supplement in capsule form.
  • Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids are perhaps the most powerful osteoarthritis treatment and may be injected by your physician or taken orally.
  • Analgesics: Opioids (narcotics), atypical opioids, and acetaminophen are pain relievers which may be prescribed or recommended instead of NSAIDs.

Regular Exercise and Weight Management

Exercise and weight management are natural osteoarthritis treatments and are vital components of managing pain associated with the disease. Although it seems counterintuitive to exercise when you’re in pain, physical activity can reduce discomfort. Moreover, simply walking can help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, another major component of managing osteoarthritis. Excess weight puts stress on the knees, back, feet and hips, thereby worsening the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Walking also keeps the joints moving and lubricated, reducing inflammation and stiffness.

Additionally, range-of-motion exercises guided by a physical therapist can be used to reduce stiffness. Improving the range of motion in your weight bearing joints helps stimulate the synovial fluid to lubricate the cartilage, improve its ability to protect the underlying bone and reduce pain.

Strength exercises may also be used to build muscles that are more resistant to pain. Finally, tai chi and yoga gently stretch joints, making them more flexible, which reduces pain and stiffness.

Alternative/Physical Therapies

Alternative treatments and physical therapy are often used to improve joint flexibility and reduce swelling and pain. For instance, acupuncture, acupressure, intramuscular stimulation, and massage can alleviate discomfort levels. Hydrotherapy, massage, and physical and occupational therapy are often used to improve joint flexibility and reduce pain as well. These treatments may also include the use of assistive devices and hot/cold therapies. Finally, physiotherapy and regenerative photonic therapy are used to heal joint cells and tissues and reduce pain and inflammation.

If you have questions about osteoarthritis and would like to discover the many ways that physical therapy can benefit you, please contact us.