If you're in chronic pain, then you know how it can seep into nearly everything you do. You're not alone in that knowledge, either. According to the CDC, in 2016, an estimated 50 million US adults (20.4%) suffered from chronic pain.
Many conditions can lead to or are characterized by chronic pain, such as arthritis and fibromyalgia, but sometimes there is no apparent cause. What's more, chronic pain can often lead to other health concerns, such as anxiety, depression, or insomnia. Luckily, acupuncture can be a helpful treatment to try alongside conventional medications and approaches or when other methods have failed to bring lasting relief.*
Acupuncture for Chronic Pain Relief
Acupuncture triggers the body's immune system, stimulating circulation, wound healing, and down-regulating pain. In addition, acupuncture may stimulate endorphins, the body's natural pain-relieving and "feel good" hormone and affect the area of the brain involved in regulating serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects mood.
In 2017, The Journal of Pain published a meta-analysis update on acupuncture's effectiveness for chronic pain. It found that it was effective for osteoarthritis, chronic musculoskeletal, and headache pain, with the benefits unable to be explained only by placebo effects. The authors also found support for the persisting effects of Acupuncture, with only an approximate 15% decrease in effectiveness at the 1-year mark.
A small 2010 study published in Brain Research suggests that acupuncture may help deactivate the brain areas associated with processing pain. In 2018, a Pain Medicine study on women with fibromyalgia concluded that acupuncture might lead to long-term improvements in clinical outcomes. It theorized that this might be due to acupuncture's effects on serum serotonin and substance P levels, a neurotransmitter involved in pain transmission and perception.
Many people are hesitant to try acupuncture because of the needles. After all, needles themselves are usually painful, so how can something that causes pain actually relieve it? Fear not! Unlike the hypodermic needles used in administering medication or drawing blood, acupuncture needs are hair-thin. Most people do not experience any significant discomfort and actually, find the treatment relaxing!
If you're suffering from chronic pain, acupuncture may help to bring you relief. Call our office today to schedule an appointment. We're here to help you on your journey back to health.
*Always consult your doctor or health care provider when managing your condition, and never start or stop any medication or treatment plan without approval.