Acupuncture as a muscular treatment


Sore arm, new country, which medical professional do you use?

I’ve never been a fan of doctors, specially when you get charged to see them anyway, (just to be referred to someone else no doubt!) so who do you see about it?

Had I been in England, I would go see Debbie, my sports masseuse, who undoubtedly would sort it out. I haven’t found a replacement for her yet, so that’s out.

My next port of call would have been Witty Pask and Buckingham, physiotherapists. I have been seeing them for 20 years or more, and one trip ALWAYS sorts out my ailment. Rarely do I select a GP, as I deem them to be Jack of all trades and usually just charge you to then send you elsewhere!

So I opted for the physio route, Windsor St Physio, a highly renowned practice with a great reputation with sports people.

The niggle started a few weeks back, in my forearm. To begin with I ignored it. Actually, I am good at ignoring pain, but I knew, when a sports massage had only temporarily sorted it out and lifting my suitcase was problematic, that I needed to see someone.

Tennis elbow has been suggested, personally I think its muscular but I wanted it checked.

The physio asked a series of questions and did a series of tests which determined that (unexpectedly) I hadn’t lost any grip strength in that arm, and in fact it was not tennis elbow. The muscle was very tight though, so he suggested acupuncture.

I’m not afraid of needles and I have had success with it before so, why not. It did prompt me to look into why it actually works, though, after we had a discussion about scientific based research being his preference for selecting a treatment.

Acupuncture analgesia is initiated by the stimulation of small afferent sensory nerve fibers embedded in musculature that send impulses to the spinal cord to affect three centers: the spinal cord, midbrain, and hypothalamic-pituitary. When these centers are activated, neurotransmitters release endorphins, enkephalins, monoamines, and cortisol to block pain messages. Needles placed near the pain site, either on an acupoint or at a tender spot, activate segmental circuits to the spinal cord in addition to all three centers. In practice, both local and distal needling enhances the overall analgesic effect.

He left the needles in a while twisted them every now again then removed them.

He asked me to perform a simple exercise and wow did it hurt! My arm throbbed for quite a while afterwards. I’m hoping that is a good sign and this is the first step towards less pain! I’ll keep you posted.

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