What is Medical Acupuncture?
Medical acupuncture is a therapeutic method that usually involves the insertion of fine, sterile needles into target areas of the body. Modern medical practitioners developed medical acupuncture as an adaptation of Chinese acupuncture. Instead of relying on inexact metaphors to describe the body’s responses to treatment, we employ current knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology, all in keeping with evidence-based medicine.
What Can Medical Acupuncture Do?
Treatment with medical acupuncture and its related techniques of laser therapy and certain forms of massage help by promoting health and well- being, by preventing illness, and by addressing a variety of medical conditions and pain problems.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
The main therapeutic effects of needling begin with activation of nerve fibers near a point. These stimuli then bring about changes that help to balance nerve signaling and neurotransmitter activity from the “periphery” (i.e., the acupuncture point) to the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and autonomic nervous system centers (that govern processes like glandular activity, immune status, digestion, mood, and more). Acupuncture also releases tension from the muscles and enveloping fibrous network called “fascia”.
What Side Effects Might There Be?
Uncommonly, an acupuncture patient could experience a temporary worsening of the condition. Usually, however, most side effects are mild and even pleasant–a sense of relaxation, an improvement in sleep,or improvement in digestive tract transit. If something concerns you, contact the patient’s doctor or the practice right away.
What Are Some Specific Benefits?
Research on acupuncture is continually building and strengthening the scientific and evidence-informed basis of medical acupuncture. In addition to its well-known effects on acute and chronic pain, medical acupuncture addresses a wide range of medical issues, including:
- Digestive ailments, including inflammation and motility problems
- Respiratory issues, such as sinusitis and recurrent infections
- Neurologic problems such as peripheral neuropathy, sciatica, spinal cord injury, disk disease, and nerve based pain problems
- Musculoskeletal complaints, including knee pain, osteoarthritis, tendinitis, back pain, neck pain, and much more
How Many Treatments Will Be Needed?
The number of treatments needed differs from patient to patient. For difficult or long-standing conditions, he or she may need one or two treatments weekly for several weeks. Usually, however, one sees a change in the patient within the first few treatments if the acupuncture is going to make a meaningful difference.
What Should I Expect At My First Visit?
For your pet’s first acupuncture appointment,the veterinarian will perform a neurologic, orthopedic, myofascial exam,and gait analysis. You should expect that this appointment will take one to one and a half hours to complete. Our goal is for acupuncture appointments to be relaxing and pleasant for your pet. It is a good idea to bring your pet’s favorite foods or treats, particularly for pets with known food allergies. While some pets require sedation, most pets quickly learn to enjoy their acupuncture sessions and tolerate the treatments very well. Treatments may include low level laser therapy and electro acupuncture.
Dr.Ford, originally from Scottsdale, AZ, is an alumnus of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He began working at Needham Animal Hospital in 1995 while completing his undergraduate studies at UNCW. Dr.Ford graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine in 2001. After receiving his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine,he completed a two year residency at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, and is a graduate of the Medical Acupuncture for Veterinarians program. He has been a veterinarian at Needham since 2003. His primary interests include preventative medicine, acupuncture,and dermatology. Dr.Ford resides in Wilmington with his wife Laura and sons Brooks and Wells. They have two rescue lab mixes, Onyx and Luke, and Hiccup, their Whippet.