Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Effective Pain Relief With Acupuncture

By Wendy Lind, RAc

Acupuncture, a safe alternative to pain relief treatments, clears the blockage of vital energy within pathways in the body. These pathways are called meridians and each is linked to a specific organ or organ system. Acupuncture is more effective than traditional drug therapies because it treats the cause and effect of pain.

Pain caused by muscle or bone weakness, injury, physical trauma, physical strain, poor posture and many other factors can be relieved by acupuncture. Individuals suffering from Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis, Fibromyalgia, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as well as headaches cause by stress, migraines, back pain and even pain from cancer treatments can experience pain relief using acupuncture.

In order to receive the most benefit from acupuncture therapy, it is important to accurately describe your pain to your Acupuncturist as well as when the pain started. If you know the reason or source of the pain that will be information the Acupuncturist can use to determine an effective treatment that will yield pain relief for you in the shortest amount of time. For example, different treatment points may be selected for pain that is sharp, stabbing or burning than for pain that radiates from a particular point throughout a limb or extremity.

There are three primary steps in the acupuncture pain relieving process. The first step involves stimulating organs that correspond to the specific pain. This step produces energy and blood flow which nourish the whole body and specifically the area experiencing pain. The second step is to identify the meridian to tap into. The final step in the process is to determine the points of needle insertion to target the painful area.

The needles the Acupuncturist uses are stainless steel and about the thickness of a human hair. They are inserted into specific treatment points in the human body, which then send a message to the central nervous system. When the central nervous system receives the signal, the brain releases endorphins, a natural brain chemical that helps in pain suppression.

A personalized treatment plan will be developed by your Acupuncturist. The plan will consider the nature and source of the pain, i.e., chronic, radiating, result of injury, etc., as well as your significant medical history. The needles that are inserted during the treatments will be left in place for several minutes. The actual duration will be determined by your response to treatments, which will be scheduled for several weeks out, until you realize long-term pain relief.
Often pain sufferers turn to over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications or powerful prescription drugs from a doctor. Both of these options can be harmful and both anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant mediations can cause adverse side effects. This treatment option only provides temporary pain relief. Acupuncture results in long-term pain relief with no adverse side effects that can limit your activities or potentially harm your body and interact with other medications.

While acupuncture is not an instant cure, some symptoms may be diminished after just the first acupuncture therapy session. It takes time to restore your body's energy systems to their properly balanced state. The number of treatments you will need to achieve complete pain relief will depend upon how long you have been in pain, the cause of the pain and how quickly you respond to the acupuncture therapy.

With no adverse side effects, acupuncture can be considered a completely safe alternative for pain relief. It is truly a holistic approach to pain relief, treating not only the pain but also the cause of the pain.

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