Chronic Pain Relief
If you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, it might be time to give acupuncture a try. Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in easing chronic and acute pain and can also help reduce the frequency, intensity and duration of tension headaches and migraine headaches.
The World Health Organization has identified 31 conditions that have been shown to be effectively treated by acupuncture including: low back pain, neck pain, knee pain, sciatica, TMJ, tennis elbow, rheumatoid arthritis, postoperative pain, stroke sequelae, allergic rhinitis, ulcers and gastritis. Acupuncture can be used effectively as a complementary therapy to conventional therapies such as physical therapy, chiropractic, massage and drug therapy, and to expedite healing post-surgery.
So how does it work? Research has uncovered several different mechanisms of action for how acupuncture may work. In some studies, stimulating specific points on the body’s surface had an inhibitory influence on pain receptors. Acupuncture has been shown to modulate endorphins, which work as the body’s own opioids in providing pain relief. Acupuncture also effectuates changes to the cells in connective tissue which may reduce pain. There is also evidence that stimulating the vagus nerve, which runs from the brain stem to the colon, may lower inflammation throughout the body and inflammation is often the cause of chronic pain.1 A 2018 meta-analysis in the Journal of Pain found that acupuncture has a clinically relevant effect on chronic pain that persists over time and that the effect of acupuncture cannot be explained only by placebo effects.2
Research by the National Institute of Health (NIH) suggests that acupuncture works particularly well on chronic pain with a lower risk of adverse side effects than those associated with drugs or other medical interventions. When administered by a trained, licensed professional, relatively few complications from using acupuncture have been reported. Acupuncture is often sought as the treatment of choice when the risks associated with conventional treatments are great or the outcomes uncertain.