orthopedic acupuncture

What is Orthopedic Acupuncture?

Orthopedic Acupuncture is a specialized form of acupuncture that excels at treating musculoskeletal issues.

It differs from traditional acupuncture in several ways:

  1. A more complete assessment is done before treatment.

Our assessment utilizes western concepts like range of movement (ROM), manual muscle testing, and orthopedic evaluative testing. It tells us what specific tissue needs to be treated and how it needs to be treated.

For example, if a patient is experiencing neck and upper back pain, it is common for some muscles to be too tight or short, while others muscles may be too lax or long.  Our assessment will tell us which muscles to treat, and whether to relax or strengthen each particular muscle.  This will not only get the patient out of their current pain, but it will also help to improve their posture so that they are less likely to suffer from this condition in the future.

  1. It is focused more upon anatomical structures and muscles than traditional acupuncture.

While some of the locations that get needled may overlap with traditional acupuncture points, that’s not the focus. instead, the focus is primarily on muscles, nerves, and other related structures.

  1. Advanced Treatment Protocols

Orthopedic Acupuncture treatments utilize advanced acupuncture techniques such as trigger-point/dry-needling, motor points, and electro-acupuncture, along with unique approaches to peripheral nerve entrapment and cutaneous nerve issues.  Most treatments also include myofascial therapies & soft-tissue work to address ALL levels of musculoskeletal injury and dysfunction.

Case Example

To illustrate this approach, let’s use the example of treating your knee. Say you go hiking, and you stumble and end up hurting your knee. Your pain is in your right knee and you also have a feeling of instability within the knee joint itself.

These are the three essential parts of an Orthopedic Acupuncture visit: intake, assessment, and treatment.

First, an intake will be conducted where the Acupuncturist will ask what happened to your knee, when did it happen, and where is the pain.

Next is Assessment. The Orthopedic Acupuncturist might ask you to walk, watch how you move, and do a brief gait analysis to infer what muscles and structures might be involved with your knee pain. They are looking for foot, ankle, leg, and hip dysfunction. Then the practitioner will often palpate (explorative medical touch) the muscles surrounding the knee looking for any abnormal changes in tissues.

Next, a series of manual muscle tests are performed on the patients’ lower extremities (legs and feet) to determine if all muscles are working optimally. The Orthopedic Acupunctures will then check the range of movement of all related muscles to determine if certain muscles are too tight or too lax.  Then if indicated, a series of orthopedic evaluative tests are conducted to determine if structures within the knee such as ligaments or meniscus are damaged.

Moving on to Treatment – the Orthopedic Acupuncturist will use what was gained during the assessment to determine what structures should be treated and why.  Maybe your vastus medialis and popliteus muscles (these muscles help open & close the knee joint) are inhibited, and not firing as they should, in that case, they will be treated using specific techniques so that they are restored to their full capacity.  Additionally, if during assessment it became clear that your knee was not stable during part of your stride, you may need to have some of the cutaneous nerves that surround your knee treated as well to restore proprioception (knowing where you are in space) to your injured knee.  In order to address all the issues discovered during the assessment the following will need to be performed:

  1. Remove muscle motor inhibition, so that your muscles fire fully again.
  2. Restore proprioception of the leg, specifically as it relates to your knee during walking.
  3. Clear inflammation from the knee joint as well as the surrounding tissues that resulted from the injury so that your knee is not predisposed toward degenerative changes, such as arthritis prematurely as a result of this injury.

In order to accomplish all of these goals specialized advanced acupuncture techniques will be utilized, as well as specific myofascial therapies & soft-tissue work, and if necessary individualized corrective exercise will be given.

How is Orthopedic Acupuncture different than conventional or Traditional Acupuncture?

Compared to the example given above, only 2 or 3 things will be the same; 1) you will be asked about your knee, 2) the acupuncturist may touch your knee and the surrounding area, 3) Needles will be inserted using standard acupuncture techniques

What are the benefits of Orthopedic Acupuncture?

  • More Comprehensive Assessment, which leads to a better understanding of the problem and how to treat it.
  • More Complete Treatment that utilizes Advanced Acupuncture techniques such as dry needling/trigger point, motor points, electro-acupuncture, myofascial therapies & soft-tissue work to address ALL levels of musculoskeletal injury and dysfunction, as well as individualized corrective exercises to support full recovery.
  • Superior Outcomes. In many cases, compared to conventional acupuncture, patients recover faster and more completely.

How do you know if Orthopedic Acupuncture is right for you?

  • You enjoy being active and pain-free. We have never run across a better tool for getting you moving and feeling good.
  • You are in Post-surgical recovery. Have you technically have finished healing, but still have pain or a feeling like things just aren’t working quite right? Orthopedic Acupuncture is amazing for recovery after an operation to a shoulder, hip, knee, or ankle. Check out our reviews for success stories.
  • You are a Top Performer or an aspirational athlete– Orthopedic Acupuncture can discover and correct muscular imbalances, postural issues, and muscle motor inhibitions before they can cause major issues or reduce full physical potential. It’s a great tune-up before or after a competition.

Are there any Drawbacks to Orthopedic Acupuncture?

  • Individual treatments may cost more, yet overall treatment costs may be less due to the need for a smaller number of treatments to get resolution.
  • Initial Appointments may take longer because of the more comprehensive assessment and more complete treatment, however, future appointments go much faster after there is a clear plan for treatment.
  • Requires your engagement – you will be talked to, listened to, touched, tested, and looked at in order to determine how best to solve your problem(s), and your feedback about how your body feels before and after treatment is important information.

Find out if Orthopedic Acupuncture can help you by calling Spring Acupuncture at  208-616-1040.