Acupuncture Treats Pain
Probably the most well known and widely accepted use of acupuncture is for the treatment of pain.
This means all types of pain–without exceptions.
joint pain: knee pain, shoulder pain & frozen shoulder
sports and traumatic injuries
arthritis (including rheumatoid and osteoarthritis)
cancer pain [also for Cancer: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100304165858.htm , http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/acupuncture/Patient/page2 , http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nalini-chilkov/can-acupuncture-treatment_b_577686.html , ],
headaches [also for headache: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1526-4610.2005.00235.x/abstract;jsessionid=0B39121DECF59365B9C15109D0FB02D1.d01t03?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false and: http://www.acupuncture-treatment.com/article_headache_study.html and: https://www.craneherb.com/web/shared/articles/7_Acupuncture_Treats_Headache.aspx], sinus pain, earaches, toothache,
MS, are but a few examples.
Acupuncture Pain Study
Acupuncture’s effectiveness in pain treatment is well documented in studies. In October, 2012 a meta-analysis reviewing 29 high quality studies of acupuncture treatment of pain was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. The study involved 30-40 researchers internationally, studying nearly 18,000 patients and took 6 years to complete.
The data showed that Acupuncture is More Effective for Treating Pain than the standard of care: drugs, surgery and so on. This means acupuncture should be tried first for pain treatment. “The authors found a statistically significant benefit of acupuncture when compared with both sham controls and usual-care controls, with the magnitude of the latter [acupuncture] being substantially greater than the former [sham acupuncture and standard of care].” 1
Results In the primary analysis . . . acupuncture was superior to both sham and no-acupuncture control for each pain condition . . . Patients receiving acupuncture had less pain . . . for back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, and chronic headache, respectively . . . These results were robust to a variety of sensitivity analyses, including those related to publication bias.
Conclusions Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain and is therefore a reasonable referral option.” 2
How Does Acupuncture Treat Pain?
In Chinese medicine, we feel that your bodies energy, Qi (pronounced Chi), flows in a vessel system, referred to as channels or meridians. When the Qi flowing in the channels is blocked, pain results. Acupuncture treats pain by releasing the blocked Qi, according to the saying “where there is pain there is stagnation (blocked qi), where there is stagnation, there is pain”.
Your body’s Qi is electric in nature: the body’s cells have a positive and a negative polarity to them. Metal acupuncture needles conduct the electrical current of your body’s Qi to stimulate and move stagnate Qi, thus increasing circulation of Qi and Blood in the body. When Qi and Blood move and flow freely, there is no stagnation, and hence, no pain.
Balance Method TM Acupuncture for Pain Treatment
In my practice, I use Balance Method TM acupuncture to treat pain. Balance Method TM acupuncture was developed by Dr. Richard Tan, OMD, and is taught internationally. Balance Method TM acupuncture is a sophisticated and elegant style of acupuncture treatment.
There are many acupuncture channels in the body. Of these, acupuncturists primarily work with 12 meridians: 6 on each arm, 6 on each leg. The acupuncture meridians innervate the torso and head, brain and organs, and have relationships with one another. To treat pain, most acupuncture methods involve inserting the acupuncture needles directly at the site of pain.
Balance Method TM is different. With Balance Method TM acupuncture we choose a meridian on a different part of the body that has a relationship with the meridian at the painful area, and needle that meridian which communicates with the painful area, perhaps through biochemical signals. Balance Method TM acupuncture is remarkably effective at treating pain, as this video demonstrates:
How Long Does It Take to Treat Pain With Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a therapy, and therapies (such as physical therapy, chiropractic therapy, chemo or radiation therapies, and drug therapy) require multiple treatments to achieve their desired effect.
Acute pain resolves in a short number of treatments (I’ve seen short-term pain resolve in one treatment). Chronic pain takes longer. It is impossible to say exactly how many treatments a new patient will require.
In Chinese medicine, we refer to courses of treatments. A course of treatment is 10-12 visits (or weeks of herbal therapy). Acute pain can usually be treated in 5-8 visits, depending on the patient. Chronic pain could require multiple courses of treatment, depending how long the pain has endured.
How Often Do I Need to Come for Acupuncture Treatment?
If you can, it is a good idea to come twice a week in the beginning, when the pain level is high. Severe pain will benefit from thrice weekly treatments. I suggest doing this for the first 2-3 weeks, until the pain diminishes to a more manageable and intermittent basis. Then weekly treatments until the pain becomes infrequent. At this point I reduce the frequency of treatments to 10 days for several treatments, then biweekly, tri-weekly and so on until the pain discontinues entirely. The less frequent interval towards the end of the course consolidates and reinforces the accumulated effects.
Do I Need to Keep Coming Once the Pain is Resolved?
No. My patients tell me once they have finished treatment their pain is resolved. I have tracked many patients who consistently tell me they have not had their pain return even after some year’s time
That being said, it is a good idea to come if the pain flares up again, or if the painful area is strained or re-traumatized. In that case, a short number of treatments should take care of it if we catch it early.