Integrating Medical Acupuncture in Low Back Pain - Course Reflection

Last Saturday the 6th of February, Lorraine and I presented Integrating Medical Acupuncture in the treatment of Low Back Pain, a one day masterclass at Mount Merrion Chartered Physiotherapy.

We ran the course last November and due to the good feedback and the fact that we could not accommodate all booking enquiries, we decided to repeat the course sooner rather than later.

Once again we were pleased to welcome physiotherapists who had taken time out of there weekends and travelled many hours in some cases to join us. A real commitment to further education, this is what makes us strong as a profession.

Again we covered some theory to start off the day, discussing clinical aspects in low back pain management and the role of medical acupuncture. A review of acupuncture mechanisms, point selection and safety set the scene for some great practical sessions where all attendees got to grips with some more advanced needling along with use of electro-acupuncture techniques including the Pointer Excell 11 for dry needling of myofascial trigger points.

Those who had a good grasp of their anatomy where the better needlers, more confident and willing to have a go irrespective of previous needling experience. I am still of the opinion that anatomy is not covered sufficiently well at undergraduate level. It’s the basis of what we do? How can you properly service a car if you don’t know what's going on under the bonnet? I fully appreciate the importance of the CNS and role of the brain in pain perception and function, but I fear we may be moving too far in this direction and losing track of the basics of physiotherapy. We can’t be effective with needles, nor our hands for that matter if we don’t know our anatomy. Or am I becoming old fashioned in my preference for a more hands on approach to physiotherapy?

By the end of the day, everyone reported feeling more confident in needling muscles such as the quadratus lumborum, erector spinae, gluteals, hamstrings, piriformis as well as the abdominals. I was a bit surprised that nobody wanted to practice needling the distal psoas major from an anterior approach after having been shown how to do this safely and effectively.

As well as myofascial trigger points, we covered important segmental, extra segmental and central regulatory points which may be helpful in treating low back pain.

Next up is an advanced dry needling course with my colleague Dr. Hugo Pinto in Birmingham on the 2/3rd April.

In the meantime my clinic is as busy as ever as more people discover the benefits of an integrated approach to physiotherapy where medical acupuncture and dry needling play a central role.


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