Acupuncture for Effective Chronic Pain Relief

Acupuncture for Effective Chronic  Pain Relief Blog  Acupuncture

Chronic pain is a condition that affects more Americans than nearly any other ailment. This includes widespread diseases such as heart disease, cancer and even diabetes. The consumption of pain relievers, both over the counter and by prescription, have skyrocketed in the last decade. These drugs are not without their drawbacks however, as they can cause:

  • Kidney damage
  • Liver damage
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Dependency
  • Allergic reactions

Additionally, while these pills may provide a temporary respite from the chronic pain suffered by millions, they do absolutely nothing to help heal the causes of pain or provide long term relief. Luckily, more people are discovering the field of acupuncture to address their struggles with pain disorders.

Acupuncture for Pain Relief and More

This field of medicine is considered to be an alternative treatment in the U.S., but it has been relied upon for centuries since its origination in China. The World Health Organization, or WHO, recognizes acupuncture as a valid treatment for symptoms relief in regards to the following conditions:

  • Pain – Back pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, injury-related pain, diabetic neuropathy
  • Digestive problems – Constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, chronic heartburn, obesity
  • Urinary or reproductive problems – Kidney stones, infertility, painful or irregular menses
  • Immune system dysfunction – Lupus, Grave’s disease, Hashimoto’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis
  • Cardiovascular problems – High blood pressure, high cholesterol
  • Mental illness – Addiction, depression, anxiety, stress, insomnia
  • Allergies – Asthma, hives

The applications of this field of treatment are far-reaching, and as increasing numbers of pain patients discover relief in their acupuncturist’s office, higher standards of health are being enjoyed all across the country.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture for chronic pain works by stimulating the nervous system. Referred to in the treatment field as qi, energy and electric impulses are released from stimulating certain nerves through the insertion of hair-thin needles at specific points in the human body. Little to no pain or discomfort is caused by these needles, although many first-time patients may initially feel apprehensive about this practice. After the proper nerve pathways are stimulated, neurotransmitters called endorphins are released. These chemicals help to reduce pain and stress. This release of endorphins, along with other neurotransmitters that block the sensations of pain, make acupuncture for pain relief a safe and effective therapy.

Although acupuncture for chronic pain is not an instant cure, it has helped many people to regain their former lives while reducing or stopping medication regimens. You should always consult with your primary care provider before starting or stopping any therapies, but your acupuncturist can help to treat pain symptoms in tandem with your medical doctor. This bridge between old Eastern knowledge and modern Western science can provide a plethora of options for patients who may have otherwise given up hope for living a life free from chronic pain and discomfort.

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In this instance, an athlete was originally diagnosed with minor quadriceps muscle strain and was treated for four weeks, with unsatisfactory results. When he came to our clinic, the muscle was not healing, and the patients’ muscle tissue had already begun to atrophy.

Upon examination using MSUS, we discovered that he had a full muscle thickness tear that had been overlooked by his previous provider. To mitigate damage and promote healing, surgery should have been performed immediately after the injury occurred. Because of misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment, the patient now has permanent damage that cannot be corrected.

The most important advantage of Ultrasound over MRI imaging is its ability to zero in on the symptomatic region and obtain imaging, with active participation and feedback from the patient. Using dynamic MSUS, we can see what happens when patients contract their muscles, something that cannot be done with MRI. From a diagnostic perspective, this interaction is invaluable.

Dynamic ultrasonography examination demonstrating
the full thickness tear and already occurring muscle atrophy
due to misdiagnosis and not referring the patient
to proper diagnostic workup

Demonstration of how very small muscle defect is made and revealed
to be a complete tear with muscle contraction
under diagnostic sonography (not possible with MRI)

image

Complete tear of rectus femoris
with large hematoma (blood)

image

Separation of muscle ends due to tear elicited
on dynamic sonography examination

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