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Acupuncture For Pain Management

Updated on February 27, 2015

What Is Acupuncture Exactly?

Acupuncture is an alternative type of medication which utilizes strategically inserted fine needles into specific areas of the body to promote healing. The treatment method originated in China more than 3000 years ago. Research on acupuncture has revealed it releases endorphins and dynorphins.

It also affects pain perception and also pain generating messengers in the body. It is believed that acupuncture has a direct affect upon the nervous system functions. Besides acupuncture for pain management Chinese doctors also use suction cupping therapy

Finally Endorsed by World Health Organization

Acupuncture has slowly made its way into the western world. Endorsement by the World Health Organization as a treatment modality for 40 different medical problems including chronic pain has given credibility to acupuncture.


Types of Pain That Acupuncture can Help And Is Supported By Research

Years of research and treatment by many Chinese doctors it shows that acupuncture can help manage and sometimes may cure the following conditions:

  • Migraine headaches
  • Tension headaches
  • Chronic neck pain
  • Low back pain
  • Peripheral joint soft tissue injury
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Peripheral nerve neuralgia
  • Pelvic Pain
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Post surgical pain

Remember that acupuncture is not an overnight treatment. You won't get relief immediate after the first treatment. This is not like taking pain killers. Most people will see results after 6 or even more than 9 treatments. In the long term acupuncture is better than taking pain killers. It has no side effects and it helps promote the healing process of your body.

Are There Any Risks Involved with Acupuncture?

Acupuncture performed by a skilled practitioner is tolerated well and in general is very safe. The following precautions should be practiced:

  • Talk to your doctor about acupuncture treatments. They can probably help locate a good acupuncturist.

  • Make sure the acupuncturist uses preferably disposable needles or at minimum sterilized needles.

  • Verify the safety of any herbal supplements offered to you. It is best for you to purchase your own brand name supplements for safety reasons.

  • Before taking any supplements talk with your doctor and pharmacist about interactions with other medications and other medical conditions you may have.

  • Inform the acupuncturist of your medications and medical history.

  • Select a certified and licensed acupuncturist. You can verify these at the following:

    1. National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

    2. American Academy of Medical Acupuncture.

Adverse events of a minor nature are common but more serious types of adverse events rarely occur. Some of the minor effects include needle pain, tiredness, nausea, vomiting, minimal bleeding, and bruising. Fainting feeling and pneumothorax were extremely rarely associated with acupuncture pain management.

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Acupuncture Considerations

Acupuncture pain management is considered a safe medical treatment. A lot of doctors give acupuncture credit for being a beneficial treatment along with other types of treatment for pain. Acupuncture can be used in combination with suction cup therapy.

Frequency of treatments

Repeated treatments are needed for continued pain relief. The typical treatment program usually will consist of three to ten 1 hour sessions.

Cost and insurance coverage

Cost per session ranges from $45 to $100. Acupuncture pain management is not typically covered by insurance but you should check with your insurance plan for your specific situation.

Contraindications for Acupuncture treatment

Some of the contraindications include pacemaker, seizures, bleeding disorders, use of blood thinners, infectious disorders or disease of the skin, and intoxication by drug or alcohol. Caution should be used in pregnancy and some areas should be avoided to prevent stimulation of delivery too early.

Acupuncture pain management has previously been surrounded with skepticism but it has been growing in popularity as an alternative mode of treatment.

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