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- Provokes strong pain control responses through release of the brain’s own opioid neurotransmitters (such as endorphins, dynorphins, enkephalins), as well as up-regulation of serotonin, a critical mood stabilizing biomolecule.
- Interrupts pain/spasm cycles, and can facilitate the gains in joint range-of-motion crucial to physical rehabilitation.
- Stimulates proprioceptive nerve fibers, resulting in muscle re-balancing and re-education of hypo-functioning or injured muscles.
- Normalizes local blood flow and lymphatic drainage.
- Speeds up cell metabolism, thus stimulating tissue repair and regeneration.
Electroacupuncture is safe for long-term use and without known side-effects. Properly-applied, electroacupuncture is no more uncomfortable, and is better tolerated by some patients, than manual stimulation of needles to bring about pain relief.
- Cautions and contraindications
- Patient education and informed consent
- Safety protocols and management of adverse events
Electroacupuncture parameters and settings:
- Amplitude: milli- and micro-
- Polarity and lead placement
Electroacupuncture protocols for common orthopedic and neurologic conditions of the spine and extremities:
- Neck and back pain, including radiculitis and stenosis
- Shoulder girdle injuries, including rotator cuff tendinitis and bursitis
- Elbow, forearm, wrist and hand pain, including carpal tunnel syndrome
- Hip and buttock pain, including sciatica
- Knee and thigh pain, including patellar tendinitis
- Calf, ankle and foot pain, including plantar fasciitis
- Complex regional pain (reflex sympathetic dystrophy, causalgia) and phantom limb pain syndromes
- AOM patterns: qi and blood stagnation; bi syndromes; yin xu with heat or fire; dampness and fluid accumulation; phlegm, wind-phlegm, turbid phlegm, and wei and zhong feng syndromes; and systemic cold and deficiency of yang, jing, qi or blood.
Integrating electroacupuncture into acupuncture clinic flow:
- Combining electroacupuncture with other therapies
- Documentation for malpractice defense and to support insurance billing