How Does Acupuncture Help Chronic Pain?
More and more people are waking up to the amazing healing power of acupuncture and doctors across the globe are prescribing acupuncture sessions for their patients to treat a variety of issues with a more natural approach. Despite the popularity, many people still shy away from electing to undergo acupuncture because the technique is still unfamiliar to many.
Learning more about acupuncture and its benefits could open a new world of health and wellness for you. Acupuncture has been used for centuries, and early signs of the technique can be found as far back to at least 100 B.C. in China. All over the eastern world acupuncture has historically been a staple in medicine and healing. Most commonly used to treat conditions like chronic pain and nausea, acupuncture is based on a traditional belief of energy flowing through the body called ‘chi’ or ‘qi.’ Using a series of small needles acupuncturists work to open the flow of that energy and alleviate blockages that can cause disruptions in our health.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Western medicine and modern scientists have been hard at work to find a more scientific explanation for why acupuncture is so effective. Taking the theory of energy flow and expanding it with knowledge of our biological make-ups a few proposed ideas of how acupuncture works have been recorded. The first idea is based on neurohormonal pathways. Scientists believe that by inserting needles at specific points in the body, the needles will trigger signals to the brain that demand endorphin releases that help to counteract the severity of chronic pain. Another theory is that the needles used for acupuncture work to reduce proteins and inflammatory markers that can cause pain and work to release amino acids like adenosine to ease pain. Other scientists believe that the needles have an affect on nerves in the body that can force the brain to secrete growth factors and stimulate the immune system into action. No matter what scientific hypothesis you choose to believe about acupuncture the effect of the treatment has been validated by countless patients suffering from chronic pain across the globe.
Many of these patients’ pain comes from progressing osteoarthritis disease, so many physical medicine professionals recommend the treatment for arthritic patients. Acupuncture has been used to relieve allergy symptoms and moderate to severe digestive issues like irritable bowel syndrome. Patients with sinusitis and asthma have also found relief with the treatment, and new studies are showing that acupuncture is even making headway with treating symptoms triggered by Parkinson’s disease. With the heavy influx of acupuncture use, the FDA has gotten involved with the alternative treatment making sure the process is safe and have even identified acupuncture needles as approved FDA medical devices.
What Would My Appointment Look Like?
Your first appointment with your acupuncturist will start with a consultation about your health needs and pain points so your practitioner can put together a treatment plan for your condition. Many people shy away from the idea of acupuncture because of a fear of needles and pain but once your acupuncturist gets started you may feel a momentary sharp pain from insertion, and many people find the pain to be minimal to non-existent. Depending on the location of your treatment you may feel a deep ache in some areas while the needles are in place. Your acupuncturist will decide how deep the needles will be inserted based on your needs and the entire process can last anywhere from five to sixty minutes. Acute symptoms take longer, and multiple treatments may be required for optimum results. Some acupuncturist use heat and electricity to boost the effectiveness of the treatment, but the practice varies between practices.
Acupuncture is safe and effective and is a wonderful alternative to many modern treatments that can come with the risk of severe side effects. Complications from the treatment are very rare and certified acupuncturists are trained in safety procedures to make sure they are using clean, sterile needles with every treatment. You should always speak with your doctor before trying any new medical treatments, and if you have been diagnosed with a blood disorder or are take blood thinners, you should definitely speak with your doctor before making your first acupuncture appointment.
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