Acupuncture and Chronic Pain

Chronic pain conditions have become more and more prevalent and millions of Americans suffer from these conditions every day. Chronic pain can affect all aspects of daily living and while conventional treatments may offer some relief they are typically not 100% effective and may cause unwanted side effects. Acupuncture is an alternative treatment that can offer great results in helping to alleviate chronic pain. It has been used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine as treatment for all kinds of conditions. There has always been anecdotal evidence suggesting the benefits of acupuncture treatments but until more recently there wasn’t a lot of research confirming its success. There have now been quite a few studies showing just how effective acupuncture is in treating pain conditions and in some acupuncture has been shown to provide even more relief than standard treatment options for pain. Let’s look at what acupuncture is and specifically how it is used to treat chronic pain. 

What Is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture uses small needles to stimulate certain points along meridians in the body. The meridians are channels in the body that the energy or qi, blood and other body fluids flows through. Imbalances and blockages in these channels can cause illness and other ailments. Acupuncture  works to correct the imbalances and stimulate proper flow of energy throughout the body. Acupuncture treatments also stimulate the body’s self-healing nature to restore the body to health. Acupuncturists will diagnose and treat imbalances and blockages in the body based on an individuals symptoms, pulse and tongue appearance. Fine needles are inserted into various points throughout the body and are usually retained for 5 to 30 minutes depending on treatment goals. The needles used are very fine and there is no pain associated with placing the needles.

How Does It Work?

Modern research has shown that acupuncture stimulates many different physiological systems throughout the body to provide relief from pain. In the peripheral nervous system acupuncture may stimulate the release of certain chemicals that have certain pain-relieving properties. These chemicals helps to reduce the pain signals coming from the peripheral nervous system and in turn there is a decreased perception of pain in the brain. Acupuncture may also help to decrease some of the inflammation associated with chronic pain conditions. 

Overall, acupuncture can be an effective treatment option for chronic pain with minimal side effects.

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