Acupuncture has been an integral part of healthcare in various parts of Asia for centuries. For decades, it was viewed as an unusual but interesting concept in Western countries. However, in recent years, things have changed, with more and more players in the medical community accepting the practice as a viable pain relief treatment. But how does acupuncture help with alleviating pain?
How Acupuncture Works
In this old practice, very fine needles are inserted into a patient’s skin at several acupoints. The subsequent release of endorphins might result in pain relief for the patient. Endorphins are, basically, natural pain-killing chemicals that the body produces. At the same time, acupuncture might also affect that area of the body that governs the happy chemical (serotonin), thereby improving a person’s mood.
How Does Acupuncture Help with Pain Management?
There are several studies that have suggested that acupuncture is quite effective when it comes to the treatment of chronic pain, including neck and back pain, knee pain, and headaches. It has been shown to reduce the frequency and intensity of tension headaches. It may also be used to prevent migraines. A 2012 review article in the Practical Pain Management journal indicated that acupuncture deals with pain by inactivating its source through modulation of endorphin levels. There are also some experts who have explained acupuncture in neuroscience terms. Acupoints are viewed as areas where muscles, connective tissue, and nerves can be stimulated. This stimulation leads to an increase in blood flow and also activates the natural pain killers in the body.
Are There Any Side Effects of Acupuncture?
Many of the common side effects of this treatment are things that most people would desire. They include better sleep, mental clarity, improved digestion, and increased energy levels among others. An acupuncture goer can experience one or more of these side effects. Although there are other side effects that are less pleasant, most of them are quite rare. At the same time, none of them is life-threatening. They include lightheadedness, muscle twitching, soreness, and bruising. There is also a likelihood of an emotional release that can leave one feeling extra sensitive or even make them cry. If you feel like any of the side effects are too severe, it is advisable that you contact your acupuncturist immediately.
How Do I Find a Good Acupuncturist?
The first step is to ensure that you find a licensed and fully certified practitioner. The licensing requirements vary from one state to the next and some states have more stringent rules than others. Of course, you should deal with a practitioner that you are very comfortable with due to the invasive nature of this treatment. Asking as many questions as possible will help you in this regard.
A Note from GR8NESS
There are varying opinions on the effectiveness of acupuncture in pain management. The best way to approach it is to be open to its various benefits while remaining skeptical of any claims that it is the magic wand to all illnesses. If you suffer from chronic pain, acupuncture is definitely something you may want to give some serious consideration to.