According to a report published in The Lancet, over forty percent of Americans have acute or chronic pain conditions that may require treatment. Acute pain, defined as pain which starts quickly and does not last long, may be caused by an infection, accident or surgery. Chronic pain, on the other hand, is often the result of a specific condition might not diminish with conventional therapies and generally does not go away with the passage of time. Whether acute or chronic, pain is a warning sign telling you something is wrong.
Acupuncture Recognized as Effective for Pain Relief
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has concluded that acupuncture starts the flow of pain-relieving endorphins and immune system cells to specific sites in the body that are injured or vulnerable to disease. Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the NIH acknowledge the benefits of acupuncture for treating and eliminating pain due to a wide range of causes.
Acupuncture has been proven successful in treating such pain conditions as:
- Low back pain
- Muscle pain, swelling, stiffness and weakness
- Localized traumatic injuries, sprains, strains, tendonitis, contractures
- Work and sports related injuries
- “Frozen shoulder”, “tennis elbow”
How Pain Occurs
An understanding of how pain occurs is critical to finding more effective ways to manage it. There are millions of sensory receptors in the body that keep the brain informed about the conditions of the body. These receptors and the brain communicate through a network of nerves located throughout the body. Acupuncture points are believed to stimulate this network of nerves to release chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals either change the experience of pain or release other chemicals, such as hormones, that influence the body’s self-regulating systems.
Acupuncture Complements Other Approaches
Increasingly, acupuncture is complementing conventional therapies. For example, doctors and acupuncturists may work together to control surgery-related pain in their patients. By providing both acupuncture and certain conventional anesthetic drugs, it is possible to achieve a state of complete pain relief for some patients. Using acupuncture lowers the need for conventional pain-killing drugs and thus reduces the risk of side effects for patients who take the drugs. Acupuncture is offered as part of an array of therapies at many well-known hospitals throughout the country, including the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.
To learn more about how acupuncture can improve the quality of your life, please contact us with your questions.