What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a technique that involves the placement of very thin metal needles at precise points on the body to clear energy channels, with the aim of decreasing pain and restoring health to the body and mind.

What conditions can acupuncture be used for?

Acupuncture is recognized by the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization as effective treatment for a wide variety of medical problems.   At the Back & Neck Pain Center, acupuncture can help with neck pain, back pain, headaches, sciatica, spinal stenosis, herniated discs, spinal arthritis, post-surgical spine pain, numbness of the extremities, shoulder/arm pain and hip/leg pain.  Acupuncture may be used as a stand-alone treatment, or in combination with more conventional spine care treatments.

A February 2013 study conducted by the Clinical Journal of Pain concluded that low back pain, the most common musculoskeletal problem, can be relieved by acupuncture with little to no adverse side effects.

What can I expect during an acupuncture treatment session?

During your first appointment, your practitioner will ask you detailed questions about your health, lifestyle, and behaviors.  Your initial evaluation and treatment may take up to 45 minutes.

Your acupuncture practitioner will tell you the general site of the planned treatment and whether you need to remove any clothing. A gown, towel or sheet will be provided. You lie on a padded table for the treatment, which involves:

–  Needle placement

Acupuncture needles are placed at various depths in strategic points on your body. The needles are metallic, solid and hair thin, so placement usually causes little discomfort. People often don’t feel them being placed at all.   Some may experience tingling, warmth or heaviness where the needles are placed.  Between five and 20 needles are used in a typical treatment.

– Needle manipulation

Your practitioner may gently manipulate the needles after placement or apply heat or mild electrical pulses to the needles.

– Needle removal

In most cases, the needles remain in place for 20 minutes while you lie still and relax. There is usually no discomfort when the needles are removed. Most people find acupuncture extremely relaxing and many sleep during treatments.

How will I feel after treatment?

After the procedure some people feel relaxed and others feel energized.  Some patients experience an immediate total relief of their pain.  Some experience partial relief, which may last or return.  In a few cases, there may be no immediate relief only to notice the pain diminish over the next couple of days.  However, not everyone responds to acupuncture. If your symptoms don’t begin to improve within a few weeks, acupuncture may not be right for you.

How many treatments will I need?

A common treatment plan for a single complaint would typically involve one treatment per week, depending on the condition being treated and its severity and may require a series of five to10 treatments.  Some may need only a single treatment for an acute condition.

Is acupuncture safe?

When performed by a competently trained, licensed professional, acupuncture is extremely safe.  A licensed acupuncturist uses individually packaged, sterile, disposable needles.  The acupuncturist will follow all sterilization and infection control standards set forth by Mather Hospital.

Who administers acupuncture at Mather Hospital?

Acupuncture at Mather Hospital is provided by Patricia Dodd, MS, LAc, MSN, AGNP-C, RN-BC

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