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.

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Course Review: Integrating Medical Acupuncture in the Treatment of Low Back Pain

course1Last weekend on Saturday the 7th of November 2015 I had the pleasure of delivering the third in a regional series focussing on the integration of medical acupuncture in the treatment of low back pain. I suppose I should not have been surprised how quickly the course filled given how challenging low back pain can be to treat. We are all looking for those added skills which might make the difference between a successful or unsuccessful course of treatment.

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Kinesio Taping in the treatment of Myofascial Pain Syndrome

tapeMyofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is clinically defined as a regional pain syndrome characterised by muscle pain caused by myofascial trigger points (MTrPs). Often overlooked or misdiagnosed, pain due to MPS is common and may range from an annoying dull ache to debilitating pain capable of mimicking nerve root irritation, osteoarthritic type pain and even visceral pain.

Peripheral intramuscular nociceptors can become sensitised by mechanical ischaemic and/or peripheral inflammatory factors resulting in a physiological cascade involving the the release of excess acetylcholine by the motor end plate. This in turn leads to the development of a contraction ‘knot’ within the muscle, commonly referred to as a MTrP. This localised contracture has been proposed to further impair local circulation resulting in an energy crisis which in turn results in further nociceptive sensitisation and so the cycle continues.

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Electro - Acupuncture Device In Clinical Practice - Overview

electro deviceA hand held point stimulator device is a very useful tool which may be used when needling in the treatment of musculoskeletal pain syndromes - mainly for the deactivation of trigger points (TrP). It may be tolerated better with less treatment soreness as opposed to a more conventional dry needling technique, this is certainly the case from my own clinical experience with the device. The lack of evidence for efficacy is due to the fact that to my knowledge no trials have been performed to date, however we may be guided by the current evidence we have supporting the use of needling for myofascial pain syndrome for example. Clinically we have very good evidence to suggest a handheld point stimulator is an extremely effective way of comfortably augmenting the needle effect.

Is a versatile hand held electro-stimulatory device and can also be used to locate areas of decreased skin resistance thought to correspond with traditional acupuncture points.

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Trigger Point Needling - An integrated Mechanisms Based Approach

What follows is an attempt to further rationalise the use of an integrated mechanisms based needling approach in the treatment of myofascial pain related to the presence of trigger points.

I have provided a list of references which have influenced my understanding of the proposed neurophysiological mechanisms which may occur at the various levels. However some of the effects listed are based on clinical observation and discussion with colleagues.

The following mechanisms may apply when a myofascial trigger point is accurately located using the diagnostic criteria and then needled using:

  1. A local needling approach using electrostimulation
  2. A segmental approach in addition to or as an alternative to a local approach
  3. Enhanced central regulatory effects
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