Acupuncture for Pain Syndromes

Increasingly, people are looking for more natural approaches to help relieve painful conditions instead of relying on medications. Acupuncture can be helpful for all types of pain, regardless of what is causing the pain or where the pain is located.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain before and after acupuncture treatment for pain shows dramatic decreases in brain activity — up to 70 percent. This decrease in brain activity in certain areas of the brain is thought to be the reason for the reduction of pain caused by the acupuncture treatments. In addition to reducing pain, acupuncture also hastens the healing process by increasing circulation and attracting white blood cells to an injured area.

acupunctureforpainsyndromes

The basis of acupuncture is expressed in this famous Chinese saying: “Bu tong ze tong, tong ze bu tong” which means “free flow: no pain, no free flow: pain.” In other words, any kind of pain or illness represents an obstruction in the normal flow of Qi or life force. Simply put, acupuncture moves Qi, restoring free flow.

Acupuncture has become readily accepted in mainstream modern medicine as a viable option for pain management and studies support its therapeutic effects.

 

Post Operative Pain Relief

Research from Duke University Medical Center has shown that acupuncture can significantly reduce surgical patients’ post-operative pain.

Duke University anesthesiologists combined data from 15 randomized clinical trials to reach their conclusion. Using acupuncture both before and after surgery produced the best results for patients, who reported lower levels of post-operative pain and a significantly reduced need for painkillers. In addition, acupuncture mitigated the negative side effects of opioids when they were used.

Many other studies have shown acupuncture effective in reducing post-operative nausea and vomiting compared with other medications.

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According to a meta-analysis presented at the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ meeting, acupuncture reduced rates of post-operative nausea by 32 percent, pruritus (itchiness at the surgical site) by 25 percent, dizziness by 38 percent, and urinary retention by 71 percent compared with control groups.

Acupuncture is excellent for managing post-surgical side effects such as surgical pain, loss of appetite, and upset stomach or nausea. In addition to strengthening the immune system and increasing energy, acupuncture is also a great way to reduce swelling, decrease stiffness and pain, reduce scarring and scar tissue, and assist with a quick recovery.

If you, or a loved one, will be undergoing surgery, please call us to see if acupuncture can improve your recovery.

Acupuncture for Low Back Pain

Low back pain is an extremely common concern, affecting anywhere from 75 to 90 percent of people at some point in their lives. Low back pain is second only to the common cold as a cause of lost days at work and is one of the most common reasons to seek medical care. In fact, one of the top reasons that people get acupuncture treatments is for low back pain.

In spite of the large number of pathological conditions that can give rise to low back pain, up to 85 percent of the cases are classified by physicians as ‘non-specific’. When low back pain is examined from an Oriental medicine perspective, it is seen as a disruption to the flow of Qi within the area and associated with a specific disharmony and is treated accordingly.

acupunctureforlowbackpain

The disruption of Qi that results in low back pain is usually associated with the following three disharmonies:

Weak Kidney Qi – In Oriental medicine, the lower back is referred to as the “dwelling of the kidneys”. The majority of chronic low back pain conditions are associated with kidney deficiency. Pain related to kidney deficiency is typically dull and erratic. It is usually aggravated by fatigue and improves with rest.

Stagnation of Qi and Blood – When the flow of Qi along the meridians that traverse the lumbar region becomes congested, it is referred to as the stagnation of Qi and blood. This presents with a severe stabbing pain that is worse with rest and better with movement, tender to touch, and can be accompanied by stiffness and tightness.

Invasion of Cold and Dampness – Cold, damp type pain is generally worse in the morning and when the weather is cold and damp. This type of pain improves with movement and the application of heat. Stiffness and contraction of back muscles that is aggravated by immobility indicates cold predominance. Swelling, numbness, and a heavy sensation are indicative of dampness.

Sciatica and Acupuncture

Do You Suffer From Sciatica? Try Acupuncture first before anything else!

We are proud to report that  at Allendale Acupuncture has close to a 100% success rate in relieving sciatica pain. Most patients experience a significant decrease of the amount of pain after the first visit. Typically, it requires 5-7 visits to achieve a long-lasting relief.

If you feel pain in your lower back or hip that radiates to the back of your thigh and into your leg, (and sometimes to your foot,) you may have “sciatica.”

sciatica

Sciatica may feel like a bad leg cramp or sharp knife-like pain at times. Pain gets worse when you move, sneeze, or cough. You may also experience weakness, “pins and needles” numbness, or a burning or tingling sensation down your leg.

The pain can range from slightly annoying to totally unbearable. Some people have pain in one part of the leg and numbness in another part of the same leg. In rare cases, you may have numbness or tingling in your groin or genital area and lose control of your bladder or bowel.

Sciatica is most commonly caused by a herniated disk. The gel-like center (nucleus) of a disk may protrude into or through the disk’s outer lining. This herniated disk may press directly on the nerve roots that become the sciatic nerve. Nerve roots may also get inflamed and irritated by chemicals from the disk’s nucleus.

sciatica

If you are one of those “unlucky” folks with sciatica, what are your options?

You may visit an orthopedist that is likely to prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs or muscle relaxants. If that doesn’t work, your doctor may inject your spinal area with a cortisone-like drug. The next stop is surgery to remove herniated disk to stop it from pressing your sciatic nerve.

It may come as a surprise to some, but try acupuncture first, if you experience sciatica. In fact, lower back pain and sciatica are two most common causes people knock on the door of the acupuncturist!

Acupuncture can help relieve pain, relax tight muscles, and help your body to heal itself without drugs or expensive and potentially risky surgery. In some cases we may recommend an MRI just to rule out anything serious (badly herniated disc, tumors, etc.), but for many patients acupuncture is all they need.

In our clinic, we open up a patient’s entire body first, before we tackle the specific sciatic nerve inflammation. Sometimes, just inserting a needle in the back of the head relieves the sciatica pain totally. Since most patients with sciatica have “imbalance” in their bladder and gallbladder meridians, we focus on treating the bladder and gallbladder pathways.