Acupuncture and electrostimulation (electro-acupuncture) are effective therapies for chronic pain management and with very few side-effects. Very thin acupuncture needles are inserted into a combination of traditional acupuncture points and local points of injured muscle tissue. If your muscle is normal, the needle is painless. However, if your muscle is shortened and tight, you’ll feel a different sensation – either a brief twitch and cramping feeling, or a dull ache like a charley horse. This sensation is soon replaced with relief from muscle tightness as the muscle relaxes. The needles are then attached to a device that delivers electrical pulses to the muscle, which helps modify the body’s neurological activity and relieve muscle spasm, produce natural pain killers like endorphins, and activate weakened areas.
electroacupuncture on back

 

Common Conditions Treated

  • Migraine
  • Bell’s palsy & trigeminal neuralgia
  • Frozen Shoulder
  • Tennis elbow
  • Golfer’s elbow
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Low back pain
  • Sciatica
  • Patellofemoral pain syndrome
  • Knee sprain
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Ankle sprain

Does electro-acupuncture hurt?

Patients may experience a tingling or pulsing sensation during their treatment, which is likely due to the electric current. In other cases, the tingling sensation will not be felt. Some minor bruising or bleeding may occur, which is the result of a needle hitting small blood vessels.

Are there any risks involved?

Electro-acupuncture should not be used on patients who have a history of seizures, epilepsy, heart disease or strokes, or on patients with pacemakers. It should also not be performed on a patient’s head or throat, or directly over the heart. Another recommendation is that when needles are being connected to an electric current, the current should not travel across the midline of the body (an imaginary line running from the bridge of the nose to the bellybutton).

Before trying electro-acupuncture, patients should make sure to discuss the potential risks and benefits with their practitioner.

 

References:

  1. Scheffold, B. E., Hsieh, C.-L., & Litscher, G. (2015). Neuroimaging and Neuromonitoring Effects of Electro and Manual Acupuncture on the Central Nervous System: A Literature Review and Analysis. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, 2015, 641742. http://doi.org/10.1155/2015/641742
  2. Carlsson CP, Sjolund BH. Acupuncture for chronic low back pain: a randomized placebo-controlled study with long-term follow-up. Clin J Pain Dec 2001;17(4):296-305.
  3. Casimiro L, Brosseau L, Milne S, Robinson V, Wells G, Tugwell P. Acupuncture and electroacupuncture for the treatment of RA (Cochrane Review). Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2002;(3):CD003788.
  4. Ewies AA, Olah KS. The sharp end of medical practice: the use of acupuncture in obstetrics and gynaecology. BJOG Jan 2002;109(1):1-4.
  5. Irnich D, Winklmeier S, Beyer A, Peter K. Electric stimulation acupuncture in peripheral neuropathic pain syndromes. Clinical pilot study on analgesic effectiveness. Schmerz Apr 2002;16(2):114-20.
  6. Kim MH. A brief commentary: electroacupuncture may relax the contraction of sphincter of Oddi. J Altern Complement Med 2001;7 Suppl 1:S119-20.