Kate Mosedale (Chiropractor), Ivor Field (Physiotherapist) and Michael Copland-Griffiths (Chiropractor) use medical acupuncture or "dry needling" primarily for pain relief in conjunction with their usual manual treatment approaches.
There is strong research evidence to show that dry needling is valuable in the treatment of neck, low back, shoulder and knee pain. Kate also uses acupuncture for a number of stress related conditions, including migraines, and she has a special interest in women's health (see below for more about Kate's approach).
What is Acupuncture or "Dry Needling"?
Acupuncture has been used by the Chinese for thousands of years. From the earliest days they carefully observed and recorded the effects of needles placed in specific "acupuncture points" and developed a "meridian" system to explain their results in treating disease and in maintaining the health of the community. In China today acupuncture is used not only to restore a patients health and wellbeing but also to provide pain relief. It has even been used instead of western anaesthetics during surgery in some Chinese hospitals.
In China and the West detailed research has been done to determine why acupuncture needles have been found to have such an analgesic or "pain killing" effect. It has been discovered that the needle stimulates the body to provide its own "endorphins", chemical mediators produced by the body that block pain signals to the brain, not unlike morphine and other pain killing medication.
The needles will also promote increased metabolic activity to promote healing. Practitioners use "Western medical acupuncture", which has evolved from Chinese acupuncture and uses current knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology and the principles of evidence based medicine. It is mainly used to treat musculoskeletal pain, including myofascial trigger point pain, and is also effective for postoperative pain and nausea. The illustration on the right shows Michael using needles for low back pain.
Many Western medical acupuncturists prefer the term "dry needling" to emphasis the fact that their approach is based on medical research evidence.
Kate is a member of the British Medical Acupuncture Society (BMAS)
As a medical acupuncturist Kate uses those traditional Chinese acupuncture points that have undergone evidence based research trials, thus enabling her to use acupuncture within her scope of practice as a Chiropractor.
A large percentage of Kate's work relates to pain generated from joints and muscles and the illustration on the left shows her using needles for a shoulder problem.
However, throughout the body there are acupuncture points that can help with other symptoms related or non-related to the presenting problem, giving a more holistic approach.
An example of how Kate integrates this is in patients presenting with migraines. Stress is a common trigger for migraines. So as well as dealing with joint and muscle dysfunction the acupuncture can go into points used for ‘sedation’ or ‘anxiety’ to address any underlying stress.
Kate has an interest in women’s health and uses medical acupuncture to help women tackle symptoms relating to menopause, polycystic ovary syndrome and period problems.
Acupuncture can help treat sports injuries
Many sports injuries, especially knee and shoulder pain arising from injury, respond well to "dry needling".
The illustration to the right shows Ivor using needles to treat a knee problem following a football injury.
Can I give blood after Acupuncture?
If acupuncture is performed by an accredited healthcare professional it is still possible to carry on donating blood. Kate and Michael are registered by the General Chiropractic Council and Ivor by the Health Professions Council. They are therefore fully accredited healthcare professionals.
Is Acupuncture painful?
Lots of people are nervous or concerned about having ‘needles stuck in them’. Acupuncture shouldn’t be painful. The needles are very fine, all you may feel is a tiny scratch (much less than giving blood). You may experience a twitch in the muscle or a low-grade ache or heavy feeling at the site of the needle, but this is all bearable.
How will I feel afterwards?
After treatment you may feel sleepy for a few hours, you may on occasions have a small bruise, mostly you will feel relaxed. One course of treatment is said to be like the equivalent of running 5-10 miles.
Many patients report feeling relaxed and experiencing improved sleep after acupuncture.
Acupuncture doesn’t work for everybody, but most have some therapeutic effect. Acupuncture is just another tool, so if it doesn’t work for you we have other methods and techniques that may help.