Explained: Acupuncture for Pain Management
Do you suffer from chronic pain?
Are you not able to do your favorite activities due to pain getting in the way?
We can help!
We specialize in difficult to treat chronic pain cases and often hear we “are the last resort with the best results.”
Pain. Who hasn’t dealt with it? It is so common in the United States that it affects more people than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined. Pain is the most common reason people go to see their doctor and also why we are currently experiencing an unprecedented opioid epidemic.
What is chronic pain?
Chronic pain is the most common cause of long-term disability according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Approximately one in every four Americans have suffered from pain that exceeds 24 hours. The type of pain and location of the pain will determine how it is treated when you go to see your doctor. And typically, the doctor will prescribe over-the-counter or prescription pain medications and they may also order more tests to determine if there is something more serious going on.
One of the main questions we get is “exactly how does acupuncture help with pain?” Here is what the studies show.
Acupuncture for pain management: Research on chronic shoulder pain
Multiple studies have shown acupuncture can be very effective at managing pain. But a study performed by Albrecht et al, is probably one of the most frequently referenced studies. The researchers studied the effects of acupuncture on 424 patients who suffered with chronic shoulder pain. The analysis of the results showed acupuncture as an effective treatment, the participants reported decreased pain and increased range of motion and that it was even superior to the results achieved using conservative orthopedic treatments. This, as well as many other studies, show hope for the future of acupuncture becoming mainstream medicine in the battle against pain.
Acupuncture for acute and chronic pain
This is where acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can work in conjunction with your primary care physician. Multiple studies have shown acupuncture can be quite effective at treating pain, both acute and chronic. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration is now urging doctors to obtain information about alternative treatment methods like acupuncture and chiropractic care. This came about in response to the opioid crisis occurring in the U.S. and killing thousands of people, including the rich and famous.
Since acupuncture has no real adverse side effects when performed by a qualified and professionally licensed practitioner, pain relief can begin the very first time a patient is treated. There are studies now showing that acupuncture can also help with neck pain as a “safe and effective” treatment.
Acupuncture treatments are very customizable because as a medicine, it’s not a “one size fits all” type of solution. This means that as the pain shifts and changes, the patient will receive customized treatments that not only address the pain and inflammation, but also work on resolving the root of the problem. Most patients who are dealing with pain also have added stress, insomnia and depression or anxiety. Acupuncture is great at treating all of these conditions. So the patient gets more than just pain relief.
The effectiveness of acupuncture for pain management
How exactly does it work?
The stimulation of acupuncture points triggers the brain to release endorphins, which are painkilling chemicals that saturate the brain and decrease pain signals, both short-term and long-term. Acupuncture is so effective at treating and relieving pain it is now showing up in hospitals and emergency rooms. In fact, Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota is now successfully using acupuncture in its emergency room to treat conditions ranging from car accident injuries to kidney stones. Their initial results show that pain scores are just as low with acupuncture as they are with those given analgesic painkillers.
With these kinds of recommendations, it is hard to believe only about 10 percent of Americans have ever tried acupuncture. But that statistic is slowly changing as more and more people are seeking natural and alternative methods of dealing with pain and disease.