Increasingly, people are looking for more natural approaches to help relieve painful conditions instead of relying on medications. Acupuncture has no side effects and can be helpful for all types of pain, regardless of what is causing the pain or where the pain is located. Some studies have shown the pain relief it provides can last for months.
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 activity in certain areas of the brain is thought to be the reason why acupuncture treatments reduce pain.
In addition to reducing pain, acupuncture also hastens the healing process by increasing circulation and attracting white blood cells to an injured area.
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.
Studies on Acupuncture and Pain
Acupuncture has become readily accepted as a viable option for pain management and studies support its therapeutic effects.
In a German study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 1,162 adults with chronic, lower back pain were divided into groups treated with either acupuncture or the standard pharmaceutical and exercise therapy commonly used in conventional medicine. Researchers reported that acupuncture provided relief and lasting benefit to nearly twice as many lower back pain patients compared to drugs and exercise. Forty-eight percent of the acupuncture patients reported at least a one-third decrease in pain along with improvement in their ability to function, versus 27 percent of the patients treated with conventional methods reporting such benefits.
In another recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine analyzed 33 studies covering more than 2,100 patients from around the world on acupuncture for lower back pain. They found acupuncture provided definite pain relief in the short-term (defined as relief sustained for three weeks after the end of the acupuncture sessions).
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine is a viable treatment option for chronic pain, lower back pain, musculoskeletal pain, arthritis pain, headaches and post surgical pain. Whether your symptoms are just beginning to crop up, or you are looking for a more natural approach with less side effects, acupuncture and Oriental medicine can bring relief.