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Rehabilitation acupuncture specialists bring pain relief to patients

Rehabilitation specialists at Children’s Mercy are certified to administer acupuncture therapy as part of patients’ personal treatment plans. The providers have undergone an intensive acupuncture training program that is specifically designed just for medical providers. 

Conditions treated with acupuncture: 
•    Acute and chronic pain. 
•    Joint pain. 
•    Muscle pain. 
•    Abdominal pain. 
•    Muscle spasms. 
•    Anxiety.

How Does Acupuncture Help?

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese technique that stimulates points in the body through a series of tiny needles. Modern studies have demonstrated that acupuncture is safe and effective in pain management. 
Although we don’t entirely understand how acupuncture works, it does activate and strengthen the body's ability to stop pain. Many traditional acupuncture points correlate closely with important nerve sites or common locations for muscle spasms. The small acupuncture needles stimulate these important areas to trigger the body to release beneficial chemicals that aid in stress and pain relief. Sometimes the acupuncture needles can be used to help directly address painful trigger points (muscle knots) through a technique referred to as “dry needling.” The placement of the needles will depend on the patient’s symptoms and, preferences, and the provider’s assessment–no treatment plans are identical. 

How we administer acupuncture for patients

Most patients will receive acupuncture treatments over the course of four to six visits, with each visit lasting roughly an hour. The first visit will be spent mainly talking and educating about acupuncture and developing a treatment plan. Then an introduction to acupuncture will be provided to see how the patient responds. The first treatment will generally consist of a few small needles along the outer ear and in the arms or legs. The provider will assess the patient’s response and comfort at each visit to determine the next steps for treatment. At later treatments, the provider may add gentle electrical stimulation to boost the response. Most patients, even children, find acupuncture to be a relaxing experience. If the patient is afraid of needles, sometimes the acupuncture areas can be stimulated without needles, such as through acupressure.

The effectiveness of acupuncture treatment

The therapy can have results that are as effective as medication but with fewer side effects. It’s challenging to predict exactly how a person will respond to acupuncture. The majority of patients will have some benefit from acupuncture, ranging in response from mild relief to extraordinary results. About 10% of patients will have no response to acupuncture. It’s vitally important to have a healthy lifestyle, good sleep habits, and stress management in order to get the most benefit from
acupuncture visits. 

If the patient does not have enough pain relief after six treatments, then acupuncture treatments are ended. For
patients who respond well, future acupuncture appointments will vary from monthly to, quarterly, to only as needed. 

Does acupuncture feel like you are getting a shot? 

No. The needles for acupuncture are very different than the typical needle used for vaccines. Acupuncture needles are thinner and less painful. Sometimes, the patient can’t even feel the needle being inserted. 

What does acupuncture feel like? 

Acupuncture feels different for a lot of people. Often patients will feel the “Qi,” which is a tightening, pressure-like sensation at the needle site. This is a good sign, demonstrating activation of the nervous system and connective tissue. Tingling and itching are often reported as well. 

What is it like after an acupuncture treatment? 

Most people will feel more relaxed after an acupuncture treatment. For some, this is a deep relaxation 
that may make them sleepy. 

Are there any restrictions after receiving acupuncture? 

Acupuncture is like a reboot for the nervous system. For the day after receiving acupuncture, avoid intense physical activities but continue with your regular day, including school, light exercise, etc. Traditional acupuncture also recommends avoiding big meals and cold foods. 

Does my insurance plan cover acupuncture?

We suggest that you check with your insurance plan prior to scheduling acupuncture appointments. Some insurance plans cover acupuncture, while others do not.

Please call The Rehabilitation Acupuncture Clinic at  816-234-3970 to schedule an appointment.