Can Medical Acupuncture Help Back Pain? | Ben Cohen Osteopathy

Medical Acupuncture in Loughton and Chigwell. Medical Acupuncture is an effective treatment technique which focuses on reducing tension in muscles through the stimulation of trigger points. Medical Acupuncture is commonly used for the treatment of sports injuries and for lower back pain. 

What is Medical Acupuncture?


Medical Acupuncture treatment involves fine needles being inserted through the skin and muscle with the aim of targeting what are known as 'myofascial trigger points'. You may have heard these trigger points referred to as 'knots'. Dry needling and medical acupuncture are umbrella terms for this method of acupuncture. Traditional Chinese Acupuncture is an entirely different practice which is based on Eastern philosophies. Instead of the acupuncture being aimed at these trigger points or 'knots', the practitioner is focussed on influencing what is known as Qi via channels throughout the body. 

What are 'Knots'?

Myofascial trigger points, commonly referred to as 'knots', are often formed from the change in communication between the nerves and muscle system thereby causing an imbalance. Breakdown in this pathway is thought to be the primary contributing factor to these 'knots developing. People will often confuse the feeling of 'knots' as tightness. Despite the small number of contraction knots, these invariably occur in weaker muscles that often need strengthening! It will be the job of your Osteopath to determine which muscles are tight and which are 'knotted'.  

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Through research, it has been found that inserting a needle into a painful area of a muscle, causes a bio-chemical change which result in the reduction of pain. When the needle is inserted the practitioner is looking for what is called a ‘Local Twitch Response or LTR’.


What Can Medical Acupuncture Help With?

Medical Acupuncture is commonly used for a wide variety of musculoskeletal problems.

Such of these include:

  • Neck, back and shoulder pain, arm pain such as tennis elbow, carpal tunnel and golfer’s elbow.

  • Headaches, including migraines and tension-type headaches.

  • Jaw pain.

  • Buttock pain and leg pain including sciatica, hamstrings strains, calf tightness/spasms.

Does Medical Acupuncture Hurt?

People often associate the thought of a needle being inserted as being a painful experience. In actual fact, an acupuncture needle is very different to the type used with injections and because the needle is so thin, more often than not you will feel very little pain, if any at all. 

The local twitch response elicits a very brief (less than a second) painful response. Some patients describe this as a little electrical shock; others feel it more like a cramping sensation.