Acupuncture is a Chinese traditional medicine procedure that has been used over the centuries for everything from stomach upset to chronic pain. Although the traditional explanation for why acupuncture works may sound ridiculous to some people, research is proving that it has some benefits for those who suffer from chronic pain. It has been researched extensively in this area, and the results of the testing are positive, on the whole.
At SoCal Pain Center, we can help you ease your chronic pain with this centuries old method of treating the condition. We believe in using all of the treatments available to us, and that is why we recommend acupuncture for the treatment of chronic pain. As research continues to delve into the benefits of acupuncture, we are confident that they will indicate what our patients have indicated to us: acupuncture works.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture theorizes that the body is comprised of a life force known as chi. Chi flows through your body in streams called meridians, and when these meridians are unblocked, you have perfect health. However, when the chi is blocked for some reason, pain and disease are often not far behind. The science of acupuncture is to place needles along these meridians to allow the chi to flow again. Different meridians control the pain for different areas, so placement of acupuncture needles is of the utmost importance. This is why it is vital to visit a certified acupuncturist.
Some patients are nervous about acupuncture because they have a fear of needles. In fact, acupuncture is not as painful as having a blood draw performed. The needles are thin, and
they are usually only inserted into the uppermost layers of skin. Even those who have a fear of needles can benefit from an acupuncture session. The needles do not usually penetrate far enough to cause bleeding, and the area quickly becomes accustomed to the feelings of the thin needles entering the skin.
Scientific Research into Acupuncture
Scientific research has shown that acupuncture can be effective in helping patients overcome chronic pain. It is theorized that the introduction of the needles stimulates blood flow to the site. With the influx of blood comes chemical mediators that can help to repair tissue and ease pain. In addition, the increase in blood can lead to evacuation of waste products that sometimes contribute to chronic pain.
Most of the research has been conducted in countries that support acupuncture, and a few of the research studies leave more questions about acupuncture than answers. For this reason, acupuncture should not be used as the sole method of treating your chronic pain. It is a good adjunct to medication management, chiropractic, and physical therapy. Controversy surrounds acupuncture, but many patients have reported a decrease in their painful symptoms. It is accepted as an alternative medicine practice, and it can help some people control their pain without surgery, injections, or narcotics.
Choosing an Acupuncturist
You should choose an acupuncturist carefully. As with any other medical procedure, acupuncture can be detrimental when it is not performed by a certified and experienced
professional. You should look into your acupuncturist’s background to determine if they have the necessary educational background to help you with chronic pain. Some practitioners can specialize in particular conditions, such as infertility, back pain, or mental health issues, and it is important to find a practitioner that is skilled in the treatment of chronic pain.
You will also want to verify the types of acupuncture performed. For instance, acupuncture with just the needles has been found to be less effective than acupuncture that includes a small electric charge directly into the needle. This practice increases the benefits of acupuncture, and it is worth finding a practitioner who uses this newer procedure. You should also ensure that the practitioner has experience in tradition and that they do not discourage you from taking the advice of your physician.
At the SoCal Pain Center, we are dedicated to helping you control your chronic pain using the least invasive methods first. Before we recommend surgery or injections, we believe in attempting to control the pain with acupuncture, medications, and physical therapy. If you are interested in trying this centuries old method of treating chronic pain, contact us today.