In Pain? – Consider Acupuncture


In the past, I have written about many different conditions that acupuncture treats well – infertility, stress, IBS, headaches, fibromyalgia, low energy, etc.  However, I have not had a chance to write about the single thing that many acupuncturists treat the most, and the thing that acupuncture is probably best at treating – Pain. 


When I say “Pain”, it can be any kind of pain.  From neck and shoulder pain, back pain, pain down the legs, toothaches, jaw pain, foot pain (like Plantar Fascitis), head pain, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, abdominal pain, pain with periods or before periods, pain from old injuries or operations – you get the idea.  Anything that can be called pain has a very good chance of being able to be helped through acupuncture.  In fact, there are over 2400 articles on Medline (an internet tool that catalogues medical journals) relating to acupuncture and pain, and almost all have shown a positive outcome.  One of the most studied areas is acupuncture helping with post-operative pain, however there are studies relating to all of the types of pain I mentioned above.


Even pain that is poorly managed by strong pain medication can respond very well to acupuncture.  The reason lies in the theory behind acupuncture’s approach to pain.  In Chinese medicine, pain (ANY type of pain) is seen as an area of “stagnation”.  The stagnation can be blood stagnation, or energy (Qi) stagnation, or both.  The net result is that there is an area of the body where the free flow of blood and/or energy has been impeded.  Drugs only attempt to suppress the pain (not to mention have terrible side effects and are addictive in many cases).  They do nothing for the reasons behind the pain.  Acupuncture is very good at removing the blockages behind the stagnation.  Once free flow is established and blood and energy can move easily along their rightful paths, pain can be swept away like debris down a river.   


It would be nice if it were just that easy all the time, and sometimes it is.  I have seen cases of decades long back pain disappear after one acupuncture treatment, and I have seen headaches of all types do the same.  However, most of the time, a few to many sessions are required to fully break up stagnation that may have been present for dozens of years.  Sometimes, acupuncture is able to make pain completely disappear.  Other times, the frequency or severity of a pain will diminish significantly.  You should know within four to six acupuncture sessions if it is going to be helpful for you. 


A typical acupuncture treatment will consist of the insertion of very fine needles around your area of pain, and also at other points around your body (usually around the hands or feet) that help to promote free flow throughout the body.  Besides needles, there is a technique called “cupping” where small glass jars are suctioned to the area of pain.  The suction helps to break up the area of stagnation underneath.  Or, a small electric current can be hooked up to the needles and fed directly into the muscles that are causing the problem to break up long standing patterns of spasm.  This is similar to TENS, but much more effective. 


If you are in pain, I would highly recommend that you try acupuncture.  Even if the pain has been present for years, acupuncture can still work, and work well.  The worst that will happen is that it won’t help, but the chances are that it will.  What have you got to loose?

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