Is acupuncture good for pain?
Patients often ask if acupuncture can address specific conditions. My answer is nearly always yes because Chinese medicine is not limited to only addressing pain or menopausal symptoms or insomnia. Chinese medicine is an elegant system developed through thousands of years of study and observation of nature and the inseparable relationship of the human being to nature. This system offers people the ability to heal without the use of pharmacological medications or surgery in some cases. However, when pain is revealing an underlying condition that needs greater medical attention, it is important to seek the required care.
Where pain exists, there also exists a lack of flow. If you think of Qi and Blood flowing through the body like a river or stream when the body is most healthy then you can imagine that pain might develop if Blood and Qi become stagnant and stop flowing correctly. A 2012 meta-analysis of acupuncture’s effectiveness at addressing pain showed significant improvement of chronic pain.1
Acupuncture, Chinese herbal formulas and movement (such as; Qi Gong, Tai Qi or even regular exercise) work together to help the body return to health and natural state of flow. The placement of needles in specific locations along acupuncture meridians or channels have been observed to change the flow of Blood and Qi thereby reducing pain.
Local needles, those acupuncture needles placed directly at or near the site of the pain, are an important feature of acupuncture’s ability to help the body heal. It is also common to treat pain using acupuncture points at other locations. Aiding the person who is experiencing pain to feel better is the goal but it may take several visits for the effects of treatment to take hold. In general, an evaluation of pain levels is repeated after 6-8 sessions.
1.Vickers, A., Angel, M., Maschino, A., et al. Acupuncture for Chronic Pain Individual Patient Data Meta-analysis. Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(19):1444-1453. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.3654