The Art of Misdirection – How Acupuncture Helps with Sneaky Pain Referral Patterns

Ah yes, the Art of Misdirection.

The human body seems to be a master at this… But enter a worthy challenger – The Acupuncturist!

Countless times throughout my career treating patients have I heard the “why are you needling there?” or “But it doesn’t hurt there…” – or some variation/combination of both.

You can thank your wonderfully complex and sometimes kooky wiring of the human body for that. 

Much of the musculature isn’t very straight forward when in need of some attention. When they are injured/tight/sad/etc. sometimes you start feeling weird symptoms such as tingling, aches, and/or pains in (seemingly) unrelated spots on the body.

I give you a common example – “The front of my arm hurts”.

More often than not (after some further examination of course) I won’t even touch the area where it hurts in this case and go straight for the back of the shoulder.

This is naturally followed by a quizzical look “But that’s not where it hurts”

You can thank the mischievous muscular duo: Supraspinatus and Infraspinatus.

As shown in the image above, these two muscles lie on the back of your shoulder blade.

And yet the pictures below show in red where pain can often present when they are unhappy:

Very tricky of you Supraspinatus and Infraspinatus.

But not tricky enough!

With a combination of both Local and Distal Acupuncture Points we can very effectively soothe those angry muscles.

Local points are right in the muscles and areas of pain in order to break up adhesions and knots that have formed, as well as stimulating Qi and Blood flow to enhance healing.

Meanwhile Distal points allow the stagnation of Qi and Blood to flow properly to and from those tissues and also treat any underlying imbalances that could be contributing/prolonging the injury. 

So next time your practitioner is placing needles into seemingly random areas, just remember, we acupuncturists can be just as sneaky (if not more so) as those trickster aches and pains of yours! 

Have questions about acupuncture and if it’s a good choice for the treatment of your aches and pains? Contact Us!

Ho Ho Hohhhh-Nooooooo – Acupuncture for Holiday Hip Pain

It’s that time of year again, magic is in the air…. and butts are meeting the pavement.

Statistics Canada documents that as many as 1.7 million falls occur for people age 12 and older every year, accounting for about 40 percent of all injuries.

That’s a lot of sore bottoms (amongst other things).

Dealing with pain in the hips, low back, and/or glutes? Acupuncture could be your answer to a speedy recovery and get you back in the holiday spirit!

Often when someone has had a fall, the muscles, tissues, and acupuncture channels have been disturbed and compromised. This causes the body’s energy and blood to become stagnant or deficient in the injured areas. 

With time, our body’s natural healing process will often get energy and blood flow moving again as it should. However, due to other body imbalances, sometimes there may not be enough energy to get the healing movement going again. This stagnation can cause problem areas to persist, resulting in lingering pain and slower healing.


Getting acupuncture treatments after a trauma will support the movement of energy and blood flow in the injured area and will channel the body’s need to support the healing. The practitioner can often determine if there are other underlying problems that may contribute to slower healing such as “blood deficiency” or “qi stagnation” or “qi deficiency.”  For underlying problems, the practitioner can make diet and lifestyle recommendations to help the patient tune in to their body and support optimal healing.

So instead of trying to “walk it off” and allowing the pain to linger and make the condition more difficult to correct, consider trying acupuncture! We want you to be able to fully enjoy the holiday festivities. 

Have more questions about acupuncture and how it can help you? Contact Us!

Tension Headaches, Acupuncture, and You

Suffering from tension headaches? Congrats! You are part of a massive club – up to 70% of some populations in fact!

Tension headaches are a result of muscle contractions in the head and neck. Patients at our acupuncture clinic generally experience it as mild to moderate pain, describing it as a tight vice-like band around the head, sometimes spreading into the shoulders.

Sound familiar? 

Other symptoms of tension headaches may include:

  • Dull, achy pain in the head
  • Pressure and tightness across the forehead, on the sides, back of the head, and/or behind the eyes
  • Tension and tenderness in the neck and shoulders

This type of headache can vary greatly in duration, frequency, and intensity. Many individuals report that they have been dealing with headaches for months, years, or the famous “For as long as I can remember, I thought this was just my normal”.

Why does this happen in the first place?

The most common cause and trigger is, drumroll please…..

Stress

The classic culprit, and there tends to be a lot of it these days in this crazy world we live in.

Along with stress, tension headaches are usually precipitated by one or more of the following triggers:

  • Working at a desk – a.k.a “Desk Neck or Tech Neck”
  • Eye Strain (e.g. staring at a computer screen for long periods, see above)
  • Colder temperatures
  • Fatigue
  • Poor posture
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking

“I’ll just pop back an aspirin and I’ll be good”

Sure, over-the-counter pain medications such as Aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen can work well in a pinch, but they are by no means a long term solution.

In fact, if you take them too often, they may no longer help as much or even at all. You may even get headaches more often because of overuse!

Can Acupuncture help with Tension Headaches?

Absolutely!

Acupuncture is very effective at treating tension headaches, and while they have a number of causes (as mentioned above), the most frequent causes are:

  • Stress
  • Muscle Tension

 Acupuncture provides an approach that addresses these primary causes in three ways:

  1. Providing natural pain relief by stimulating the nervous system to release a cascade of natural painkillers such as endorphins and enkephalins
  2. Reducing and eliminating muscular tension by increasing blood flow to the affected areas, helping relax muscles in the neck, shoulders, and head.
  3. Reduce stress by regulating the Central and Autonomic Nervous System

By approaching the problem via this three-pronged strategy, not only does it address simply the symptoms, but also the root underlying cause in order to help manage and reduce the frequency and severity of tension headaches (possibly even eliminating them completely!).

Not a tension headache? No problem!

Acupuncture is not only great for tension headaches, but it can also treat migraines, hormonal headaches, and more! Acupuncturists also have an arsenal of other modalities and tools to help keep your headaches away; including moxa, nutrition and lifestyle changes, and herbal therapy!

What to learn more about how we can help you with your headaches? Contact us!

Electro-Acupuncture and You

 The human body is essentially one big ol’ battery. Energy is constantly flowing back and forth, upwards and downwards throughout the different circuitry such as muscle tissue, fascia, and meridians.

Like with the flow of electricity, if these pathways end up being interrupted or impeded in some way, efficiency becomes subpar. This can result in difficulty with simple tasks, increased fatigue, and can even lead to injury!

While Acupuncture is amazing on it’s own at rectifying the flow of energy and Qi throughout the body, modalities such as electro stimulation and moxibustion can help provide a bit of a boost to the overall output.

For example, let’s take one of the body’s primary functions: Healing.

While the human body is VERY good at healing all that daily wear and tear, sometimes a little help speeds things along.

Now, with a combination of Electro and Acupuncture, we Acupuncturists can help provide a jump start to the natural energy flow and cause the body to focus on a target area to enhance the healing process. This leads to more rapid results!

But HOW does it work, you ask?

As mentioned earlier, Acupuncture itself helps to streamline the flow of Qi and Energy. This is done by removing underlying conditions and stagnations that impede said flow. Once the needles have been inserted, teeny tiny clips and a few wires are connected to the needles creating a circuit for the electricity to flow between them. Once turned on and electricity is flowing, you may feel a bit of buzzing, tingling, or even tapping. 

Nothing too crazy, and definitely not painful.

During this process, electrons flow into your body, providing a bit more “juice” to flow through the acupuncture points and injury sites.

More Qi and Electrons = happier cells and faster recovery!

Any other questions about Electro-Acupuncture or Acupuncture in general? Don’t hesitate to ask, we are here to help!