The National Institutes of Health estimates that approximately 25.3 million adults suffer from chronic pain (defined as experiencing pain every day for the preceding three months). They also estimate that nearly 40 million adults experience what is considered severe levels of pain.
Chronic pain can be debilitating for those suffering from it and directly impacts quality of life. People often treat chronic pain with anti-inflammatory medications (both prescription and over-the-counter), physical therapy, or with ice and heat, but those options don’t always provide long lasting relief. According to Harvard Medical School, “acupuncture is an option with a good track record that’s worth considering.”
Harvard cites a study originally published in the Archives of Internal Medicine that found acupuncture to be a valid and effective treatment for chronic pain conditions. “Research from an international team of experts adds to the evidence that it does provide real relief from common forms of pain. The team pooled the results of 29 studies involving nearly 18,000 participants. Some had acupuncture, some had ‘scham’ acupuncture, and some didn’t have acupuncture at all. Overall, acupuncture relieved pain by about 50%.”
What acupuncture does best is not to merely address the pain, but to treat the underlying cause of the pain. For example, acupuncture is often indicated to treat chronic pain conditions that radiate pain along a nerve pathway, pain causing muscle spasms, inflammation, scar tissue, and pain that is located in multiple areas of the body.
Many times, acupuncture is used as a supplement to other medical treatments or as an alternative for a standard pain treatment option. Many patients find the pain relief from acupuncture treatments to last from several hours to even weeks after treatment, depending on the severity of their condition. Scientific research has shown acupuncture to be effective—or more effective—than other treatment options for conditions like:
- Migraine and tension headaches
- Nausea (especially post-chemotherapy or following surgery)
- Osteoarthritis (including in the knee)
- Neck Pain
The number of acupuncture treatments required to properly address these health concerns varies according to the severity of the issue. In general terms, a chronic condition might require one to two weekly treatments for several months, while the sudden onset of pain can likely require a fewer number of visits. For others, significant relief is found after just a single treatment.
Just a quick Google search of acupuncture and chronic pain studies provides ample reason to give this therapy serious consideration. One of the greatest benefits to receiving regular acupuncture treatments is that it doesn’t just relieve your current pain. Having regular acupuncture sessions can reduce your overall occurrences of pain.
When your acupuncturist carefully places those needles, it is going far beyond just pain management. Through regular acupuncture treatments, you can strengthen your immune system, decrease stress, lower your blood pressure and even improve your sleep.
If you struggle with chronic pain, acupuncture is a pharmaceutical free, low-risk option that studies prove can offer long-term benefits for your overall health, not just your chronic pain. Let your acupuncturist do a proper health assessment and develop a plan to get you out of pain and back on track to a healthy and active lifestyle. Make your appointment today!