Acupuncture-The Great Pain Reliever
Chronic pain in the muscles and joints can make life miserable. Standard treatments like ice and heat, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and appropriate exercises can often ease the pain. But when they don’t, acupuncture is an excellent option for treating pain with a great track record that is worth considering.
Over the years there has been substantial debate about whether acupuncture really works for pain. Research from an international team of experts adds to the evidence that it does provide real relief from common forms of pain. The team pooled the results of 29 studies involving nearly 18,000 participants. Some had acupuncture, some had “sham” acupuncture, and some didn’t have acupuncture at all. Overall, acupuncture relieved pain by about 50%. The results were published in Archives of Internal Medicine.1 The study isn’t the last word on the issue, but it is one of the best quality studies to date and has made an impression on the medical community.
Acupuncture has been a go-to treatment for pain relief around the world for centuries. But how does it work from a western medical perspective? Multiple studies on acupuncture and pain clearly indicate the following physiologic responses:
Release of opioid peptides.Opioids are naturally occurring chemicals in the brain that have an analgesic effect. The release of these opioids plays a significant role in the reduction of pain. There has been considerable evidence to support that acupuncture stimulates the central nervous system, releasing these chemicals.
Alteration in the secretion of neurotransmitters and neurohormones.Acupuncture is said to activate the hypothalamus and pituitary gland and thereby alter secretion of these chemicals. These particular chemicals play a direct role in the sensation of pain as well as the activity of an organ or organs. Evidence has shown that acupuncture alters this secretion in a manner that reduces pain. Documentation has also shown that acupuncture positively affects immune functions in the body.
Stimulation of points on the body.The 2,000+ points of the body that acupuncture focuses on are theorized to be strategic conductors of electromagnetic signals. Stimulation of these areas releases endorphins—the body’s natural painkillers.
Stem cell signaling. Acupuncture stimulates a release of stem cells to the parts of the body crying out for help. In the case of back pain, acupuncture helps release stem cells to attend to areas of pain and atrophy to stimulate regeneration at the damaged site.
As you can see, acupuncture stimulates a complex network of healing responses. Whether for back pain, ankle sprain or migraines , acupuncture treats not only the pain component, it also signals to the body’s reserves to initiate the regenerative healing process. As compared to medications which mask the pain, acupuncture outperforms pharmaceuticals by treating the underlying cause of discomfort in addition to the symptomatic pain.
Pain in all its forms can impact sleep, energy levels, mental health and the ability to recover from illness. By alleviating pain and stimulating the body to heal itself, the rest of your being benefits by having better sleep, more energy and greater mobility. So, come in and see for yourself how we can help you resolve your pain and improve your quality of life!
Call us at 503-287-4970 to make an appointment.