Considering Acupuncture for Chronic Pain Management
Millions of people who suffer from chronic pain seek out a variety of ways to help them manage that pain. Complementary therapies offer chronic pain sufferers a variety of tools to use. Finding even a few of these activities that can help gives people a way to help ease their pain and enjoy a better quality of life. One complementary therapy that should be added to the list is that of acupuncture.
While it’s been around for thousands of years and is part of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture isn’t quite as well understood here in America. In recent years, it has become more popular and widely used in this country, as more people learn of the potential health benefits that the tradition can offer. The good news is that research is backing up the notion that it is helpful for a variety of health conditions, including for those suffering from chronic pain.
In the August 2015 issue of the Journal of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists, they report that the use of acupuncture and acupressure can help with chronic pain management, among other health conditions, such as anxiety, postoperative pain, and postoperative nausea and vomiting (1). These findings are supported by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, as they report that there have been extensive studies conducted regarding acupuncture, particularly to see if it is helpful for those with back and neck pain, knee pain, and headaches. The research, they report, suggests that indeed acupuncture can help certain pain conditions (2).
Acupuncture involves taking very fine needles and inserting them into specific body locations. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is believed that doing this helps to restore the internal balance and stimulates specific points within the body. By doing this, the balance helps the immune system, levels hormones, and effects the neurotransmitters (3).
For those who may shy away due to the thought of all those needles, acupuncture is virtually painless. If you do decide to give it a try to see if works for you, be sure to seek out an experienced practitioner who is well-trained, and also knows the importance of using sterile needles for the procedure.
While acupuncture may not appeal to everyone, it’s one more option for those who suffer and want to find those complementary therapies that will work for them and be a successful part of their chronic pain management.
1. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. 2015 Aug;83(4):289-95.
2. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Acupuncture: What you need to know. < https://nccih.nih.gov/health/acupuncture/introduction>
3. Harvard Medical School. Acupuncture is worth a try for chronic pain. <http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/acupuncture-is-worth-a-try-for-chronic-pain-201304016042>