Interested in Acupuncture Point Injection Therapy? Call and book with Rebecca Stephens, Registered Acupuncturist & Doctor of Chinese Medicine at Healing Cedar Wellness: 604-469-1616
ACUPUNCTURE INJECTION THERAPIES EXPLAINED:
Perineural Injection Therapy
Perineural injections, also known as neural prolotherapy, involve a series of small injections of a buffered sugar and vitamin B12 solution just under the skin into areas of pain. These areas are identified as where superficial nerves could be trapped and either causing local pain or pain further along the line to an area these nerves should be supplying.
The solution injected can effectively free nerve entrapment within the fascia, and provide nutrients to facilitate healing and the return to normal functioning. Patients have found this to be an effective way to reduce and even eliminate chronic neuropathic pain.
Perineural injection therapy is extremely safe and well tolerated by the body. A very fine half inch hypodermic needle is used to administer the therapy, minimizing patient discomfort and providing a low risk of injury. The weak sugar and vitamin B12 solution is a natural substance and is readily broken down for immediate use by the body.
Treatment goal is to reduce or eliminate pain and dysfunction, and usually a course of 6-8 weekly treatments are recommended. Patients can expect a mild stinging sensation as the substance is injected. Often the injection sites remain puffy or raised for a period of time, and there may be slight bruising at some sites. To date there is no known reports of allergic reaction to the substance injected.
Scar Treatment Therapy
Injection treatment for scars involves the superficial injection of 1% procaine into and around the scarred area of skin. Results of this therapy can include: a visible softening and shrinking of the scar, a detachment of the scar from structures it is adhered to underneath, a normalizing of the nervous activity within the scar area, and sometimes pain reduction to areas on the body the scar may be interfering with.
Besides being undesirable by some patients due to their visual appearance, scars also represent areas of disrupted functioning. As scar tissue is quite different than normal skin (being more dense and less elastic), the normal activity in this area is impaired. Injured neurons can improperly heal and fuse, which can cause reduced nerve signal transduction, resultant decrease in normal nervous system function, and even a pooling of waste materials that would normally be carried away and broken down. Scar tissue can also cause injured nerves to continuously fire pain signals both to the local area and to areas that nerve should supply. The collagen in a scar can anchor it to muscles and tendons underneath, limiting and interfering with their normal range of motion.
Treatment goals are to reduce the appearance of the scar, reduce or eliminate pain, and remove any interference it is providing to proper movement or function. Treatment course is usually once per week until improvement, which can be within 2-6 treatments. Patients can expect a mild stinging sensation as the substance is injected. Often the injection sites remain puffy or raised for a period of time, and there may be slight bruising at some sites. To date there have been no cases of allergic reaction to procaine, but there can be a histamine response (redness and itching) for up to a day after treatment as the tissue effectively detoxifies and releases its “waste cache” for the system to break down.
Trigger Point Injection Therapy
Trigger point injections involve the intramuscular injection of a procaine, nutrient, and saline solution into an identified muscle trigger point in an area of myofascial pain. The injection will cause the trigger point to first contract and then return to its normal default resting state. As pain can also be the result of poor nutrition to the muscle, the injection also provides an instant source of usable nutrients to the muscle.
A muscle trigger point (MTP) is a palpable tight band or “knot” in the muscle. These points are notably tender on palpation, and can be a major cause of chronic-type pain and dysfunction. An MTP represents an area where the muscle spindle fibers are in a state of constant contraction and therefore dysfunction. The normal resting chemical balance of the muscle fiber is disrupted, and the nerves are often irritated to fire constant pain signals. The sub-functioning muscle also suffers disruption to its normal supply, which can lead the malnourished muscle to fire even more pain signals in response.
Treatment goals are to reduce or eliminate chronic pain (this treatment is not usually used for acute pain), and restore proper functioning and range of motion. Recommended treatment course is one session every 3 weeks until improvement, which averages 4-8 treatments. Patients can expect a quick pinching sensation upon needle insertion, and then either a muscle twitch response or an aching sensation as the substance is injected. There can be some bruising to injection sites, and areas treated can remain sore or tender for up to 3 days after treatment. As the needle used is larger than that used for a perineural or scar treatment, the risk of injury is greater but still considered minimal. To date there have been no known allergic reactions to the substance used for injection.
Acupuncture injection therapies are not considered suitable for pregnancy or for persons with diabetes, immune system disorders, active infections, or who are on blood thinning medications.
Rebecca Stephens, Dr.TCM, R.Ac. B.Sc.
Registered Doctor of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncturist