What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine, single use needles into specific locations (acupuncture points) on the body. The acupuncture points used in a treatment will vary from patient to patient but points on the arms and legs are commonly used.
From a traditional Chinese medicine perspective, points are selected based on their ability to regulate the flow of energy and blood, and the functions of the organs.
In Western terms, acupuncture points stimulation has an affect on the body’s nerves, hormone release, and can influence the muscles and connective tissues.
The end goal is the same: to help the body regulate itself and return to a state of balance, so you can experience an improvement to your health and wellbeing.
How does acupuncture work?
Unfortunately, a modern understanding of the exact mechanism through which acupuncture works still eludes us. There are theories, some researchers believe that acupuncture stimulates electromagnetic signals in the body which either triggers an increase in the body’s natural ability to reduce pain, or kick starts the body’s innate healing function. It also appears that acupuncture affects many systems in the body, including parts of the brain that are involved with processing emotion and pain.
Researchers are learning more all the time. A 2014 study using CT scans showed a “clear distinction” between the way structures of the body look at acupuncture points compared to non-acupuncture point areas of the body. Hopefully we will eventually be able to understand from a scientific point of view, exactly how acupuncture works.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
Acupuncture is a relatively safe treatment if performed by an experienced practitioner who has received appropriate training. Registered practitioners (like Joanna) have up to 1000 hours of training in safe needling technique, including at least one full year of formal clinical supervision under the guidance of experienced teachers. However, there is a small risk of bleeding, bruising, or feeling light headed after needling. All of these are easily managed in clinic and resolve immediately, or in the days following treatment.
If needling safety techniques are not followed, acupuncture and dry needling also carries the risk of causing pneumothorax. This occurs when the lung tissue is injured, causing collapse of the lung. The main symptoms of a pneumothorax are sudden chest pain and shortness of breath. If you experience these symptoms following dry needling or acupuncture on the torso, you should seek medical attention. We also recommend you only seek treatment from a registered practitioner, who has received the proper training.
If you’re feeling unsure or have any further questions or concerns about the safety of acupuncture, please contact us for more information.
Does Acupuncture hurt?
Acupuncture does not typically hurt, although you may briefly experience sensations that range from a tingle, to a dull spreading sensation, sometimes a twinge. The exact sensation varies from person to person. Once the sensation has been achieved Joanna will stop stimulation of the needle, at which point the sensation should also stop. If not, the needle will be removed. Your comfort during treatment is paramount. Acupuncture is something to be enjoyed!
And remember, acupuncture needles are nothing like the hypodermic needles most people have experience with. Joanna uses needles that vary in width from 0.25mm for larger muscles to 0.18mm for more sensitive areas.
I’m scared of needles! Can I still benefit from Chinese medicine?
Absolutely. Acupuncture is one of the pillars of Chinese medicine, but not the only one. Joanna can prescribe herbs, diet and lifestyle advice, and massage therapy.
If you’d like to try acupuncture or Chinese medicine but are feeling nervous, please contact us so we can answer any questions you may have.
How quickly does Acupuncture work?
In many cases acupuncture can work immediately to help alleviate symptoms.
Treatment courses will vary depending on the individual case and whether the condition is acute (new) or chronic (has been around for a long time). Some conditions are quick to respond and may require only 1 or 2 treatments, others can be more stubborn and require more. In the early stages it is common for treatment to be more frequent, with a goal to begin spacing treatments further apart once some momentum has been built.
To discuss your particular situation, please feel free to contact us.
What’s the difference between Acupuncture and Dry Needling?
Dry needling is predominantly used to release tight muscles. It is effective in releasing the muscles and tendons by inserting a needle into a trigger point. It is often performed with thicker needles, and stimulation can be quite strong to encourage the muscle to respond and relax.
This type of trigger point needling is called “ashi” needling in Chinese medicine, and would be used if the acupuncturist was treating a muscular condition. However ashi needling is just just one component of acupuncture. Because acupuncture can affect the hormonal and nervous system, it works more broadly than dry needling and can be used to assist in the management of a range of issues including gastrointestinal problems, skin issues, sleep problems, anxiety and depression, PMS, menopause, constipation, endometriosis, cardiovascular health, and hypertension to name a few.
Unsure if you would like acupuncture or dry needling? Please contact us for more information.
What is Chiropractic
Chiropractic is a drug and surgery free, hands-on based treatment focused on the diagnosis and management of neuromuscular disorders (injury to the joints, muscles or nerves), with an emphasis on treatment through manual adjustment or manipulation of the spine. However, Chiropractors often use other treatment methods in their management of these types of disorders, and treat other areas of the body.
What is an adjustment
A chiropractic adjustment, also known as chiropractic manipulation, manual manipulation, or spinal manipulation, is a common therapeutic treatment for lower back pain. A chiropractic adjustment refers to a chiropractor applying a fast movement to a joint that has abnormal movement patterns or pain.
The objective of this chiropractic treatment is to increase range of motion and muscle control, improving function and decreasing pain.
Is Chiropractic treatment safe
Chiropractic treatment can involve many different methods or modalities and therefore this question is not simple to answer accurately. Different methods and modalities can be combined in a number of different ways.
In a similar way each individual patient is different, with a whole set of physical factors associated with their age, gender, body type and their medical history that need to be accounted for to make any treatment provided as safe as possible.
When this question of treatment safety is asked, most people are referring to spinal manipulation or spinal adjustment. These terms (adjustment and manipulation) refer to treatment methods involving some high velocity and low amplitude thrust directed to joints of the spine. These procedures often (but not necessarily) result in a crack or pop sound emanating from the spine. These adjustments or manipulations are often delivered by hand but may be delivered using an adjusting instrument.
Essentially, adjustments or spinal manipulation are relatively very safe treatment methods. They are safe as long as they are delivered by an appropriately trained and qualified individual, who has completed:
- An appropriate history and examination
- An appropriate diagnosis is formulated
- An appropriate and safe selection of treatment method.
There are many forms of Chiropractic adjustment that incorporate what is described as high force technique and low force technique and it the responsibility of the practitioner to make the right choice in the patients’ circumstances.
Manipulation does not have a high rate of complications or side effects associated with it. In comparison to the risks involved with taking common medications (such as NSAIDs or Paracetamol), spinal adjustments or manipulation have lower risks of adverse reactions or side effects.
In conclusion, when you see your chiropractor, they will establish the most safe and effective methods of treatment in your situation.
Can you be too old or young to see a Chiropractor?
A registered Chiropractor is qualified to examine and assess and potentially treat individuals of all ages.
At different ages, our health care needs can vary dramatically and the types of treatment that are necessary and safe to deliver also vary. This is as true in the safe delivery of Medicine as it is in Podiatry, Physiotherapy and Chiropractic etc.
No individual is too young or too old to be consulted by a Chiropractor, in terms of a history of main health concern being taken and relevant examination being made.
Regarding Newborns and Infants
Once again, it is critical that an appropriate history, examination and diagnosis process precede any therapy being provided to paediatrics.
Chiropractic manipulation involving any thrust based procedures directed towards the spine or the extremities require joints that are ‘adequately mature’ to receive such treatment force. Paediatrics less than 2 years of age possess an immature spine and essentially at this stage the facet joints, posterior arches and motion segments are dominantly cartilaginous (made of cartilage). This means manual high force adjustments are usually not appropriate.
Low force adjustments and manipulative techniques are available for paediatrics if deemed a necessary therapeutic intervention. These low force techniques include:
- The Activator Instrument
- Anatomic reflex point stimulation
- Gentle mobilisation and repeat oscillation movements
At Putting Patients First, thrust based adjustments delivered to the neck of an infant of less than 2 years of age and also of young children are not considered appropriate.
It is important to understand that you, as a parent or guardian will be fully informed about the type of treatment that may be offered to your child and that a treatment trial that is reasonable will be offered and discussed. There is no obligation to continue care if you decide the care is not suitable.
Another important fact is that with the physical health care of infants, once they are assessed, the chiropractor may provide you with effective home care advice and some simple physical treatment and stimulation methods to forward their recovery.
Regarding the Elderly
You are never too old to see a Chiropractor. In fact, as we age, our need for musculoskeletal health care increases.
The most important considerations for the Chiropractor to recognise as individuals are ageing are the effects of age related musculoskeletal decline and other underlying pathology. As we age, there are more problems medically that we develop and more wear and tear and weakening that develops involving the musculoskeletal system.
It is one of the professional responsibilities of a chiropractor to determine if a patient has any contraindications to Chiropractic adjustments, manipulation or other therapeutic methods. A contraindication is a finding that makes the risk of complication during treatment delivery greater than the potential benefit.
It is critical that you assist the Chiropractor in making the right choices by being as complete with your health history as possible. Very important information that you should inform the Chiropractor about includes but is not limited to:
- All surgical intervention(s)
- All previous and current cancers
- All known medical conditions
- Known metabolic disease like Osteoporosis, Diabetes, Thyroid Disease
- Bone degenerative disease
- All medications taken (especially anti-coagulants, analgesics & psychotropic medication)
The very elderly patient is at some increased risks of arm with physical treatment, which includes but is not limited to:
- Rib fracture
- Skin tears.
Every effort is made to reduce these risks by selecting appropriate treatment force and technique.
How long are appointment times
Appointment times can vary depending on many factors. These may be: Complexity of condition being treated Number of conditions being treated New condition requiring assessment Typically we allow 40 minutes for a new patient consult, and 15 to 20 minutes for a return consult. Traditional Chinese Medicine:
Initial TCM consults are between 60 and 75 minutes depending on the case history complexity. Return appointments are 50 minutes.
How long will I need Chiropractic care?
Every person sees a Chiropractor for a different reason. Different presentations will have different healing times. Some may require intensive treatment, and others may respond more quickly. Your Chiropractor will discuss all of these factors with you before you choose to commence treatment. Some people choose to maintain regular appointments to keep pain or stiffness at bay before it develops, and that’s entirely their choice.
Neck adjustments and risk of stroke
A stroke is a cerebrovascular accident or CVA and refers to an interruption to normal blood flow to the brain or spinal cord either by bleeding or by ischemia.
Neck adjustment or manipulation is the headline safety concern that individuals & authorities raise about receiving chiropractic care. This is because, in the event that a stroke occurs during or after treatment, the consequences can be very serious and in extremely rare circumstances potentially fatal.
There is a lot of misinformation about neck adjustment and manipulation and how dangerous it is, and all of the complications and strokes neck manipulation causes. There are many different types of stroke, and strokes can have many underlying causes and mechanisms that have nothing to do with neck adjustment or manipulation. Misreporting in the media and by health professionals has at times had strokes that are not related to manipulation of the neck, blame neck manipulation for causing them. Thankfully, the type of stroke that is associated rarely with neck adjustment or manipulation is a type of stroke that individuals usually make a complete recovery from.
The only type of stroke which can be caused by neck adjustment or manipulation is called a Brainstem Stroke or Wallenberg Syndrome and is usually a result of one of two mechanisms involving either the Common Carotid Artery/Internal Carotid Artery or the Vertebral Artery.
Approximately 95% of individuals that suffer a Wallenberg type brainstem Stroke make a full recovery.
In rare circumstances these blood vessels can develop a pathology due to vascular trauma leading to arterial dissection.
An arterial dissection is a splitting of the layers of tissue that make up the wall of the artery. This can be caused by weakening of the blood vessel wall over time by pathologies such as hardening of the arteries, advanced bone spur formation compromising blood vessels, connective tissue disease, structural malformations of the artery and other disease affecting blood flow.
So, the risk factors for stroke in general are considered risk factors for the Wallenberg Syndrome Stroke described above. These are smoking, known arterial disease (advanced atherosclerosis), high blood pressure, unmanaged diabetes, etc.
You must tell your chiropractor if you do not want neck adjustment or manipulation
There are symptoms and signs that chiropractors want to know about before manipulating or adjusting the neck of an individual. Please tell the Chiropractor if you are experiencing:
- Double vision
- Projectile vomiting
- Problems swallowing (dysphagia)
- Ataxia (loss of balance)
- Peculiar numbness in the face or body
- Loss of coordination
What do our Chiropractors do?
For every new complaint our Chiropractors will take a history and perform an examination to form a diagnosis or ascertain the need for referral to a specialist or for imaging (x-ray, ultrasound, CT, MRI etc). Your condition, healing time and treatment options will be discussed, and with all the information presented to you, you can choose to proceed with care. Depending on your condition you may need one or more of the following treatment interventions that we offer:
- Joint manipulation or adjustment
- Joint mobilisation or stretching
- Soft tissue therapy
- Flexion-Distraction Manipulation (FDM)
- Instrument assisted soft tissue therapy
- Shockwave Therapy (ECSW)
- Taping (Rigid and Kinesio)
- Education on lifestyle modification/home management strategies
- Drop Piece/Terminal Point Table Manipulation
What is Shockwave Therapy?
Shockwave Therapy or ECSW (Extra Corporeal Shockwave) is a treatment method that uses a machine that produces acoustic waves to stimulate connective tissue to produce chemicals that are part of the healing phase of inflammation. It is used for the treatment of:
- Acute and chronic tendon disorders (tendonitis/tendonopathy)
- Chronic muscle tightness
- Scar tissue
- Overuse syndromes (like tennis elbow, ITB syndrome, patellar tendonitis)
- Muscle strain (tear)
Is my personal and medical information safe?
Yes your personal information is safe.
The information collected about you at Putting Patients First is kept with your confidentiality in mind. The better quality information we keep on you as a patient, the better care we can provide and the safer treatment options we can take.
The information we collect about you is only collected for the reason of providing you with the most safe and effective health possible and to meet our own legal health care record keeping requirements. These legal requirements are spelt out in:
- The Health Professions Registration Act 2005 (Federal Law)
- The Privacy Act 1988 (Federal Law)- amendments 2014
- The Health Records Act Vic 2001 (State law)
The information we collect about you is NOT shared with any third party without your express consent for us to do so.
Your information is securely stored on the clinic’s computer database, which has very limited access. Only persons directly involved with Putting Patients First such as the health practitioners have access to your complete file.
Reception staff at Putting Patients First are instructed not to access the clinical part of your patient file without express instruction from the health care practitioner responsible for the file and for express purpose.
Whenever a software upgrade is managed and a computer technician is required, we use the same responsible company and have one of our staff in attendance during the upgrade.
Other paperwork regarding you is kept completely secure and away from public access.
What accreditation standards to Chiropractors have to meet?
An individual who uses the title Chiropractor in Australia has stringent standards that need to be met and then maintained.
- They need to have graduated from an internationally approved and accredited program of chiropractic education. These programs take a number of formats but are between 4 & 6 years in duration and include single Bachelor, Double Bachelor and Bachelor Master education models.
- They need to be registered with AHPRA, the Australian Government regulatory authority who exists to set standards and maintain a register of all qualified health professionals to protect the public.
- They need to be insured with minimum Professional Indemnity & Public Liability insurance standards set by AHPRA and the Registration Board for Chiropractors.
- They need to be conducting and participating in further education annually in approved courses and seminars to standards set by AHPRA and the Registration Board for Chiropractors.
- They need to be practicing in a professional scope and to standards set by AHPRA and the Registration Board for Chiropractors.
- They need to maintain current first aid and CPR proficiency standards set by AHPRA and the Registration Board for Chiropractors.
Is it covered by Medicare?
Chiropractic care is not covered by Medicare in usual circumstances. Patients usually have Chiropractic included in the extras of their private health insurance which covers a portion of their consult fee.
However, you may be eligible for an Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) Plan. This provides up to five Allied Health consults per year which are Medicare Funded. A GP referral is required so please discuss with with your doctor.
Do I need a referral?
No you don’t need a referral to attend as a private patient. As stated previously, a referral from your GP is required if you are attending under the Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) Program.
Can I claim using my private health insurance?
Yes, if you have Chiropractic included in the extras of your private health insurance a portion of your consult fee is covered. Our clinic has HICAPS facilities for on the spot claiming, however it is recommended you check with your individual health insurance provider to see exactly what and how much is covered.
Do you treat WorkSafe and TAC patients?
Yes, WorkSafe and TAC patients are welcome. It is necessary to be approved for Chiropractic or Acupuncture treatment by WorkSafe or TAC prior to attending the clinic. Our Chiropractors also treat individuals covered by Comcare, DVA and other state-based motor vehicle accident insurance schemes.
Can I walk-in or do I need an appointment?
Our consults are by appointment only. You can book in via phone or our website.
Do I need to pay at the time of my consult?
Yes. All consults must be paid for at the time of the consult. If there is an established third party involved (TAC, WorkSafe etc), direct billing may occur.
Can I make, change or cancel an appointment?
Of course. Please call our clinic if you need to reschedule or cancel an appointment. If you can’t make an appointment, we require at least four hours notice prior to the appointment time, otherwise 50% of your consult fee is charged.
What do I need to bring/wear?
It is best to wear comfortable and flexible clothing to allow movement of your body as treatment requires.
Please bring any imaging, reports, test results that pertain to your reason for attending the clinic. If you are unsure, it is best to bring what you have.
Do I have to be an athlete to see the Chiropractors?
Definitely not. Our chiropractors have lots of experience managing athletes, but do not exclusively treat sports people. As their bio’s read, they enjoy treating patients from all walks of life.