If you are struggling with an injury or any type of pain, whether it’s been long lasting or recent, acupuncture may be the answer to you getting moving again. A recent study showed that at least 3.5 million Americans have tried acupuncture. When traditional western medicine can only provide pain reducing drugs more people are deciding to try acupuncture to relieve their pain instead. It is no longer on the outskirts of medical thinking.
Acupuncture first came to light in this country in 1971 when The New York Times highlighted an article written by a reporter who had visited China and wrote how doctors treated his pain from back surgery using needles.
Acupuncture is a centuries old healing practice of traditional Chinese medicine in which thin needles are placed at specific points in the body. Many people think that acupuncture is used only for pain management but it is also used to treat other conditions.
The goal of acupuncture is to gently activate the body’s own self-healing energy. It’s not magical in of itself, but many patients feel that way after getting treatments. It cannot cure every medical problem, but it certainly can be part of a comprehensive approach especially in challenging medical situations.
With chronic pain conditions, acupuncture has long been recognized as an effective treatment. A study in 2012 found acupuncture was better than no acupuncture or simulated acupuncture for the treatment of back and neck pain, osteoarthritis or generative joint disease, chronic headaches and shoulder pain. The National Institutes of Health calls the study “the most rigorous evidence to date that acupuncture may be helpful for chronic pain.”
However, acupuncture is not limited to only those of type pain issues. Treatment for almost all types of pain can often be alleviated with acupuncture. Especially with the opioid epidemic, acupuncture should and could be the natural next step for pain management. It is a great way to help relieve the dependence on prescription drugs and pain reliever medications.
Whether your pain comes from muscle or joint injuries, headaches, side effects of cancer treatment, menstrual cramps, post-surgery pain or pain of unknown cause, acupuncture may be the best option to drugs or invasive procedures. Stress and anxiety can also add to muscle tension and increase body pain.
Acupuncture is an effective way to alleviate stress and bring the body back in balance. With the upending of our lives due to Covid, many of our patients have come in with the usual pain issues, but also with depression and anxiety. Placing a few needles in specific places can bring significant improvement to emotional health. One of my favorite sayings to new patients is “worst case scenario, you’ll leave with a feeling of calm and well-being and have a good night’s sleep.”
With those side effects, what have you got to lose?