by Larry Simms
QUESTION: Will acupuncture relieve the tightness in my psoas muscles? My left and right psoas muscles alternately tighten and loosen causing pain in the tightened hip. How will acupuncture loosen the muscles? How many treatments should I take before getting some relief?
ANSWER: Acupuncture effectively treats muscular spasms and pain–but as with any therapy, your practitioner can’t guarantee the outcome. There is no treatment that works 100% of the time with everyone. In my experience, both as a practitioner and a patient, there is no more effective therapy for muscular pain and tightness than acupuncture treatment and its related modalities (e.g. cupping, moxabustion). Chinese herbs also work great to treat the underlying imbalances that cause muscular tightness and spasm.
A typical initial course of acupuncture treatment is 8-12 treatments. Your practitioner may ask you to come in several times a week to begin with. There is a cumulative effect to acupuncture treatment, and frequent sessions–especially in the beginning–improve outcomes. So, I would not draw any conclusions about whether or not acupuncture will work for you until after you have completed a course of treatment. However, most people (60%+) notice pain relief immediately, though it may be temporary at first.
I always tell my patients that acupuncture trains your body to hold a new pattern. So, initially the spasm and pain will be relieved, but then the symptoms may return within a few hours because your body easily returns to the habituated pattern it’s used to holding. Each treatment is like a reminder to the body–a training session not unlike physical training–that it’s supposed to do something different. With repeated treatment the body holds the new pattern for longer and longer periods until the new pattern is established as the norm.
As for how this is accomplished–well my entire website at acupuncture-answers.com is devoted to explaining that! So feel free to read my other articles. And please ask more questions if you’re confused about a specific point or want me to write a new article that is not covered.
Lisa Marie Price, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac.