Pain Relief

Improve Pain Relief With Acupuncture

acupuncture pain reliefEvery person has felt pain.  In some cases, pain can be so extreme that treatment would be necessary.  Most people rely on over-the-counter and prescription medications to relieve or at least minimize the pain.  However, the problem with drugs is that people who take certain medications often develop a tolerance; this means that the dose has to be increased just to achieve its original effect.  Thankfully, there are alternatives to drugs when it comes to pain relief, and acupuncture is one of them.  There are have been many studies that link acupuncture and pain relief, and now there are countless people who seek treatment from licensed acupuncturists to address their physical pain and improve their pain relief.

Acupuncture is an old healing practice that is considered an important component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).  It originated in 16th century China, but it has been practiced all over Asia for thousands of years.  At present, even Western countries like the United States have acupuncture practitioners.  While the term ‘acupuncture’ is actually described by a set of procedures that involve the stimulation of anatomical points using different techniques, the technique most attributed to the word is the one that involves skin penetration using thin metallic needles.  In this procedure, the acupuncturist will swab each point area with alcohol before tapping the needle into the skin.  The acupuncture needles will stay in place for a few minutes after insertion, but they will be twirled or warmed to enhance the effect.  The number of needles used, as well as the depths of needle placement, can vary.

The goal of acupuncture is to restore and maintain health including pain relief.

The Chinese uphold the belief that the body is a balance between the yin and yang, two contrasting but inseparable forces.  Yin is the cold and passive principle, while the yang is the exact opposite.  It is said that a healthy person has both forces in a balanced state in the body; consequently, diseases are caused by the imbalance.  When there is imbalance, the flow of the qi or vital energy along meridians is blocked.  Acupuncture can unblock the pathways by inserting needles on points that connect with the meridians.

Acupuncture and pain relief are linked.

There are some theories offered as to how acupuncture relieves pain.  The  first one is called the Gate Theory of Pain.  It states that there are nerve endings in the nervous system that transmit and inhibit pain, and these combine in the substancia gelatinosa of the spinal cord.  It is the substancia gelatinosa that sends pain signals to the brain.  Acupuncture stimulates the nerve fibers that inhibit pain, which reduces the pain input, increases pain relief, and relieves pain in the process.

The other theory has something to do with endorphins.  Endorphins are natural painkillers found in the central nervous system.  Research has confirmed that the insertion of needles triggers the production of endorphins, which functions to relieve pain.

This specific TCM treatment is known to work for back, neck or muscle pain; headaches; menstrual cramps; arthritis and the like.  However, acupuncture is most identified as treatment for back pain, particularly chronic back pain.  While there are studies that prove that it is indeed effective at providing temporary pain relief, scientists are still uncertain as to how and why it works in pain relief .

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