Contemporary Medical Acupuncture Program

Neurofunctional Treatment of Pain with Movement Disorders

Advanced Neurofunctional Acupuncture Strategies for the Treatment of “Non-Traumatic” Musculoskeletal Pain Syndromes

By Dr. Alejandro Elorriaga Claraco
November 14, 2018

Naturopathic Conference, Michener Institute in Toronto

Date: May 30, 2015

Session Outline

a. Background

Responsible treatment of “non-traumatic” or “functional” musculoskeletal pain syndromes with contemporary acupuncture requires a thorough understanding of the functional neuroanatomy and normal biomechanics of the musculoskeletal system. In these syndromes, conventional medical diagnosis (label diagnosis) is of little assistance in the selection of the best acupuncture inputs for the restoration of function. Instead, the use of an integrated functional approach provides the key to select the best therapeutic options, specifically the design of neurofunctional acupuncture inputs.

b. Relevance to Naturopathic Practice

Conventional acupuncture interventions in the treatment of “non-traumatic” or “functional” musculoskeletal pain syndromes are often focused on the treatment of local tissues for the purposes of restoring structural integrity and modulating nociception. Also, movement-based routines (rehabilitation exercises) appropriate to the dysfunction is often integrated in the treatment approach.

However, very often the lack of full neuromotor function of the relevant muscles involved in the dysfunction prevents these interventions from fully achieving the intended goal, as non-specific acupuncture inputs and/or rehabilitation exercises “per se” are often not enough to restore full motor activation of the relevant muscles, particularly in the presence of persistent segmental nociception.

Evaluation of “functional” musculoskeletal pain syndromes using a
Neurofunctional approach, allows the practitioner to identify the presence, nature and magnitude of the neuromotor dysfunctions associated with the problem, as well, as to better identify any other contributing factors involved in the dysfunction.

A functional clinical approach to accomplish these goals will be presented to the participants in this session, specifically a discussion of the use of advanced neurofunctional acupuncture strategies for the optimal treatment of these conditions, including the use of direct electrical stimulation of motor nerves (and/or their receptor sites within the muscle) using fine solid needles and an electrical monopolar stimulation device.

c. Outcome Learning Objectives:

1. Understand the need to characterize “non-traumatic” musculoskeletal
problems functionally using an integrated neuro-mechanical-metabolic model.

2. Learn to identify reservoirs of adaptability in every patient by combining
functionally information from patient’s symptoms with information retrieved during a manual and visual examination.

3. Learn the value of manual motor testing to identify functional neuromotor inhibition.

4. Improve ability to design effective neurofunctional acupuncture interventions by using precise anatomical location of insertion sites selected according to the analysis described above.