Pain is no fun for anybody and we usually don’t pay any attention to our body until it screams out to us in pain. Thankfully there’s acupuncture to help come to the rescue.
Acupuncture is the most well known branch of Traditional Chinese medicine made famous in the west for its really effective pain management results.
As an alternative to the toxicity and side effects of standard medical care using pharmaceutical drugs such as Opioids, NSAIDS, or Steroids and cortisone and epidural injections, Acupuncture is a very non-invasive, cost effective way to relieve pain. Many patients cannot tolerate drugs due to GI complications, other refuse drugs because they understand their harm to the Kidneys, the Liver and the joints themselves, especially when taken long term.
Whether your pain is acute or chronic, whether it is in your muscles, tendons or nerves, whether it is in your lower back or shoulder or head, acupuncture can help. While a Westerner has a difficult time understanding how placing a few hair-thin stainless steel needles in various points of the body can magically cure pain, the proof is in the results. In simplest terms, from a Chinese medicine perspective, pain is the result of lack of movement or flow.
Where there is stagnation, there is pain.
Unblocking those places of stagnation through acupuncture can result in free flowing energy, blood, lymph, neurotransmitters, hormones, etc., to affect pain relief and bring balance back to the body. As an example, think about how an aspirin thins the blood in order to prevent a blood clot which can be helpful in preventing a heart attack or stroke. From a Western scientific perspective, acupuncture helps to decrease inflammation, increase blood circulation both systemically as well as locally where acupuncture needles are inserted. Acupuncture is also able to help bring balance to the hormones and releases neurotransmitters such as serotonin and enkephalins to fight pain where it begins. Studies have shown that Acupuncture can decrease certain inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-a, IL-6, CRP, NOS and like a Christmas tree all lit up with lights can start to bring the inflammation down. At Integrated Acupuncture & Herbs, pain management is a holistic approach. Besides Acupuncture, we utilize electro-stim acupuncture, cupping therapy, gua sha therapy, as well as key nutritional support both with dietary modifications as well as vitamins and minerals so that the body has all the raw material building blocks it needs to heal from the pain. Chinese herbal formulas, custom made for your condition are also very helpful and recommended when appropriate.
ACUPUNCTURE HAS A FLEXIBLE APPROACH
Acupuncture has a flexible approach and shoulder pain for example can be treated in a variety of different methods and locations. If the shoulder injury is acute, swollen, red and sensitive to the touch then one need not wait to get treatment. There are acu-points in distal parts of the body (on the lower leg for example) that can treat the affected shoulder without touching the shoulder injury directly.
Acupuncture treatment in Chinese hospitals is prescribed in 6-10 daily treatments which make up a course of treatment. After 6 or 10 treatments, the patient is reevaluated and follow up courses of acupuncture therapy are prescribed and administered. In the West, treatments are typically spaced out more and patients usually come in for treatment once a week for 6-10 weeks for chronic pain conditions. For acute injuries and/or pain, treatments are administered twice or three times a week depending on the severity of the pain and inflammation.
As a general rule of thumb, figure that it will take one month of treatment for every year you have had a chronic pain condition. So if the lower back pain has been with you for 20 years, you cannot expect a one treatment magic result. However, with acute injuries, the prognosis is usually much faster, especially if treatment is sought out as soon as possible.