A thorough understanding of clinical anatomy is an essential piece of the puzzle to properly diagnose, treat, and manage neuro-musculoskeletal ailments. Acupuncturists often find themselves on the front lines battling acute and chronic pain. In an attempt to provide the quality care that patients deserve, it is necessary to not only treat but to prevent reoccurrence of pain and dysfunction. This becomes readily possible by understanding what lies beneath the skin.
Diagnosis precedes treatment. As primary healthcare providers, we cannot rely solely on the diagnosis of others. While diagnostic imaging is fundamental in ruling out sinister pathology, the everyday neuro-musculoskeletal complaints often go undetected beneath the technological radar. Blindly following the diagnosis of other healthcare providers will inevitably cause us to repeat the mistakes of others. As such, we must hold ourselves accountable to know the clinical anatomy well enough to examine each patient thoroughly and formulate an informed assessment with compatible treatment plan.
The potential results from needling are astounding when witnessed both subjectively and objectively. It is common to see reductions in pain alongside enhanced range of motion, reflexes, strength, endurance, alignment, sensation, etc. This is regularly witnessed regardless as to which acupuncture style you practice. Simply speaking, we only need to know how to look. Through this lens we will begin to see clearly which treatment approaches are preferable based on consistent and reproducible outcomes. When these results are witnessed, by both the patient and the practitioner, it is empowering. The patient’s case can then be managed properly, with realistic expectations, and referrals can be made when appropriate. A dialogue can be established between the patient and among other health care providers that builds bridges of trust which will continue to ensure the growth of our profession for generations to come.