Lifestyle

Relief from Chronic Pain

Guest Author: Katie Kuhn, Huron Point Acupuncture

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Millions of Americans suffer from chronic pain every year. Chronic pain takes a huge toll in lost work days, disability and healthcare costs, as well as emotional distress. According to a 2006 study by the American Pain Association, 51% of those suffering from chronic pain feel they have little or no control over their pain. Acupuncture can be beneficial to those suffering from pain.

Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years throughout Asia. Acupuncture is the insertion of very thin, single use, sterile needles into points along the body. Many acupuncture points are near trigger points, near vessels and nerves, at insertion and origins of muscles, and along fascial planes.

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Acupuncture works by activating neurotransmitters, promoting circulation and releasing trigger points. Acupuncture has a strong influence on our nervous system and the part of the brain that controls pain signals. It also helps to bring blood flow to injured areas, prompting the body to heal itself. Acupuncturists use pattern differentiation to assess and treat each patient individually. The treatment is addressing both the symptoms and the underlying cause of disease. Whether the pain is acute or chronic, in the back or neck, due to arthritis, accidents, surgery, fibromyalgia or overuse, acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can help. It can also help improve quality of life by promoting sleep, increasing energy, and stabilizing moods.

According to a 2016 study in the Journal of Emergency Medicine, acupuncture was more effective and quicker at treating pain than morphine with no adverse effects. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recognizes acupuncture as safe for treating joint and organ pain when performed by a licensed acupuncturist. The American College of Physicians is now recommending acupuncture and other complimentary medicine over opiates and acetaminophen for low back pain.

Chinese medicine is more than just acupuncture. Tuina bodywork amplifies the effects of acupuncture, relaxing tight muscles and improving range of motion. Cupping can work like a reverse massage, breaking up adhesions in connective tissue and knots in muscles. Both internal and topical Chinese herbs can also help reduce pain and swelling, such as soaks, liniments and poultices.

Acupuncture should be part of an integrative approach to health, including diet, exercise and emotional support. If you are interested in learning more about acupuncture, contact Katie Kuhn at Huron Point Acupuncture or find a Board Certified acupuncturist at NCCAOM.org/find-a-provider-directory.

 

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