Clinicians in the West have used acupuncture since the 1970s. They believe that acupuncture helps reduce pain by stimulating the brain to release the body’s natural pain killers called endorphins and encephalins, which can reduce pain and inflammation.
Inflammation of the facet joints may cause pain in the neck, back and/or the arms and legs. There is usually muscle spasm in the area of the joint close to the centre of the spine (the facet joint).
Facet joints are found between each of the spinal bones and allow the spine to move. The medial branches are nerves that carry information, including pain, from the facet joints to the brain.
Nerve roots exit the spinal cord and divide into nerves that travel to your arms and legs. Inflammation of nerve roots may cause pain in the back, neck/arms and/or the legs.
Qutenza is a patch for use on your skin that contains a synthetic form of capsaicin, which is the compound that gives chilli peppers their heat sensation. The capsaicin acts on pain sensing nerves in the skin, making them less sensitive to pain.
Spinal cord stimulation works by sending small electrical impulses to your spinal cord. Stimulation helps to block the pain signals travelling to the brain.
TENS is short for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. TENS is not a cure, but may reduce your pain whilst you wear the machine, helping you to increase your activity levels and your ability to relax.