Acupuncture and Treatment of Pain

Acupuncture has its roots in the vast, rich and exotic ancient China.  It is part of an entire medical system of care called traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM.  Although acupuncture has been in use for thousands of years in the far East, it is relatively unknown in the United States.

Acupuncture consists of tiny needles being placed in the skin to enhance the body’s own healing response.  The theory is that there are pathways, or meridians, that contain points, or nodes to stimulate the human healing process.  For instance, a certain acupuncture point may treat nausea, another point may treat hemorrhoids, and a third may treat low back pain.  The World Health Organization states that acupuncture is effective in treating musculoskeletal, dermatological, neurological, and reproductive conditions.

When it comes to pain, typical Western care can consist of physical therapy, surgery, injections, and oral medications.  These techniques can be invasive as well as interfere with the individual’s current lifestyle or beliefs.  The techniques may also produce side effects that can be as troublesome as the chief complaint.  Acupuncture, on the other hand, is a natural therapy that causes the body to release pain-killing endorphins.  It has even been proven to be as effective as certain pain relieving drugs.  A powerful pain management modality by itself, acupuncture can be used in conjunction with Western therapies or enhance other Eastern forms of medicine.  The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine supports acupuncture for treating conditions such as: carpal tunnel, fibromyalgia, migraines, lumbago, menstrual cramps, and osteoarthritis.

Clinical studies continue to show correlation between acupuncture treatment and decreased pain levels.  The empirical evidence for acupuncture benefit is overwhelmingly in favor as a valuable, natural alternative to medications and sometimes surgery.  Please consult your doctor or acupuncturist to see if acupuncture can help you better manage your pain.

http://www.who.int/topics/traditional_medicine/en/

http://nccam.nih.gov/health/acupuncture/