In many cases, the combination of acupuncture with chiropractic treatments and other types of manual therapy helps to get patients better faster. The big question is why? We know that more treatment isn’t necessarily better.
So why do I recommend combining acupuncture with hands-on treatment? This combination is effective is at least in part, because it allows us to address two systems at once. Chiropractic adjustments and/or manual therapy work mainly at the local (nearby) level of the tissue, while acupuncture achieves its benefits on a more systemic/whole system level.
Effects of Chiropractic Treatment: LOCAL
- Reduces pain and restores proper motion within affected areas.
- Nerves and nerve bundles are soft tissue and can become irritated under physical pressure, such as inflammation, a bulging disc, “stuck” joint, etc. Adjustments can help to relieve this.
- Capsules of facet joints (the joints between two vertebrae) are very sensitive to pain and can become sore if they have become entrapped or “stuck.” Hands-on treatment helps to fix this problem.
- Facilitates muscle strength and helps to correct dysfunctional movement patterns.
- Triggers the release of endorphins, which act like natural painkillers, which results in relaxation of nearby tissues and trigger points.
- Cartilage and other structures inside of a joint receive their blood supply and nutrients through motion (since the blood supply goes to the outside of the joint). If a joint becomes “locked up” by muscle spasm, scar tissue or by other means for a prolonged time, it begins to feel stiff. Manipulation and/or mobilization of the joint helps to move the synovial fluid around, thus providing fresh nutrients to all parts of the joint, as well as removing waste and easing the feeling of stiffness.
Effects of Acupuncture: WHOLE BODY
There is a relationship between acupuncture points and known neural structures in the body, i.e. specific points where nerves interact with the spinal cord and/or meet muscles and tendons and other structures. This interaction is what allows acupuncture to work so effectively.
- Scientific evidence supports the idea that acupuncture needling induces a chain of events that results in the release of neurotransmitters and neuro-hormones into various parts of the nervous system.
- This results in widespread and measurable effects on pain relief.
- Stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s self-made natural painkillers.
- Affects the hormonal system by promoting a decrease in inflammation, which helps to promote healing and facilitates pain relief.
Whether you view acupuncture from a traditional understanding or from a more modern medical perspective, it creates balance in the body (also known as homeostasis) while encouraging healing and pain relief.
So the next time you have a sports injury, headache, another type of pain-related complaint, or want to ease the stress of our repetitive daily activities, give the combo a try!