Acupuncture and Pain
There are 2 categories of pain that can both be helped by acupuncture.
Acute pain is pain that has just occurred, it is a response from a sudden injury. When an area has suffered a trauma or injury the body responds with local swelling to support it and help healing but this does cause pressure and pain. When the injury is healed the pain then goes away.
Chronic pain can start off like acute pain but for various reasons the pain continues on and on for months or even years. In chronic pain it appears that despite healing having occurred the signals the brain is receiving or sending have become confused and so pain can still be felt. There can also be nerve damage to areas that doesn’t repair. The mechanisms of chronic pain are not fully understood and there continues to be a lot of research in this area.
By stimulating Acupuncture points with a needle, messages are sent to the brain via neural pathways, the brain then releases our bodies own opioid like chemicals such as endorphins that work on lowering pain sensations. The needle also stimulates blood vessels and soft tissue around an acupuncture point creating improved local blood flow and vessel dilation which in turn can help an area to feel less pain.
Treatment options for pain are most common to be both prescription and over the counter drugs.
NSAIDs- Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs are often recommended for acute soft tissue injury or musculo skeletal pain. They can be very effective at reducing inflammation in acute conditions but they are closely associated with gastro intestinal upset and as a result are not appropriate for many people to take.
Opioids- ( Codeine, Endone or Tramadol) are often prescribed for severe acute pain or chronic severe pain and can be very effective in such cases. A common unpleasant side effect of opioids is constipation. The main risk associated with opioid usage is one of dependence. There is much more awareness about this risk now, hence the removal of codeine from our pharmacy and supermarket shelves. It is now a prescription only drug. Many people both in Australia and more markedly the United States have become dependent on opioid drugs, this epidemic being known as :”The Opioid Crisis”. Since awareness of this crisis has developed so has the understanding and better management of pain.
Acupuncture has been found with modern research to be of particular help to the following types of pain;
Of course, many other pain conditions could benefit from Acupuncture and that is why it is becoming so widely used.
Please phone our reception if you would like to book an appointment with our Registered Acupuncturist Geraldine Robinson.
Read more about Acupuncture