Using Acupuncture for Pain Management

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Acupuncture is a type of alternative healing that utilizes thin needles inserted in various parts of the body. It is a major part of Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM. Acupuncture is often used to treat various diseases and to manage pain of all kinds.

The concept of acupuncture is to release the flow of chi – the life force – to eliminate sickness. To restore the flow of chi, thin needles are inserted in acupuncture points of the body. Curious about what types of pain can be treated with acupuncture? Check out our list below:

Neck Pain

There is compelling evidence that acupuncture can alleviate neck pain. Neck pain can be a mild annoyance or a severe condition that can affect the quality of life. It’s caused by many things, including fatigue and joint pain. Sudden force or tumors could also lead to neck pain.

Studies found that acupuncture can treat most types of neck pain, particularly those caused by whiplash. Acupuncture can also minimize the degradation of the neck tissues, preventing pain and inflammation. This treatment works by relaxing tight, swollen muscles. Acupuncture can also boost blood circulation to relieve pain.

Joint Pain

Usually, joint pain is caused by thinning cartilage, ligaments or tendons. When the tissues that cushion connected joints together break down, it leads to inflammation and pain. Joint pain is common among aging patients, patients afflicted with joint disorders and those who went through severe physical trauma. Certain diseases – like Lyme disease – could also lead to joint pain.

Pain in the joints is alleviated by improving mobility and relieving inflammation. An acupuncturist will insert several needles on the affected area to restore the flow of chi.

Muscle Pain

Strenuous activities, trauma, and poor posture could lead to muscle pain. Generally, a good massage helps relax stiff, painful muscles. But combining massage with acupuncture will soothe those muscles more effectively! The treatment triggers the release of various chemicals that dull the pain.

Needles are inserted on the affected area to increase blood circulation and relax tense muscles. One session is enough to soothe muscle pain. But for those who suffer from chronic muscle pain, it’ll take more than one session to achieve the desired results.

Back Pain

Acupuncture relieves back pain by promoting better electromagnetic signals in the spine. This helps release endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. The treatment will also trigger the release of natural opioids. These are compounds that promote better sleep and alleviate pain. Acupuncture also boosts the immune system to relieve back pain. Studies also show that acupuncture has the ability to alter the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones in the brain. These brain chemicals effectively block pain.

Arthritic Pain

Arthritic pain is caused by excessive uric acid in the body. High levels of uric acid cause inflamed joints. This lead to swollen joints, extreme pain, and tenderness. Acupuncture relieves arthritic pain by stimulating the nerves and releasing endorphins.

Endorphins – together with other neurotransmitters – blocks the sensation of pain from reaching the brain.

Acupuncture: What to Expect

Always choose a licensed practitioner. The acupuncturist will sterilize the acupoints with alcohol. Then, he will gently tap the needles on the affected area. Placement of the needles will depend on the pain being treated.


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