Acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic care, and physiotherapy, are common around the globe. According to the 2012 statistics from the National Health Interview Survey, 21 million (9.5%) adults in the US said they practiced alternative therapies for reducing pain and symptomatic relief, a stark increase from the last couple of years when only 5.1% said they are engaged in some sort of complementary practice.
However, not all alternative therapies work for everybody. Physiotherapy and chiropractic care may help pain from osteoarthritis, and bad backs, but have no significant effect on chronic pain from more debilitating conditions like fibromyalgia or diabetic nerve damage.
Whether it’s because these therapies are ineffective, too expensive, or you don’t want to be dependent on these – a growing number of people are turning to Acupuncture for pain management. Here’s why.
How Can Acupuncture Reduce Pain?
Numerous studies have confirmed the safety and effectiveness of acupuncture sessions in treating pain. Interestingly, the World Health Organization also includes pain (both acute and chronic) on its list of conditions for which acupuncture therapy is beneficial.
Acupuncture is thought to alleviate pain by improving the flow of circulation and increasing the release of natural painkiller chemicals called “endorphins,” which block pain pathways. These are morphine-like neurochemicals produced in the body during times of pain or stress.
Most acupoints are located in the nerve endings but are virtually painless when treated. When stimulated, these nerves discharge chemicals to cause a feeling of fullness or a dull ache in the muscle. The stimulated muscle fiber sends a signal to the central nervous system – causing the release of endorphins.
Together with other neurotransmitters (body chemicals that change nerve impulses), endorphins block the message of pain from being transmitted to the brain.
For many pain-related conditions, Acupuncture may be useful as an alternative therapy, when chiropractic care or other therapies are not working.
Acupuncture can treat:
-low back pain
-carpal tunnel syndrome
In a majority of cases, alternative pain therapies like chiropractic care and physiotherapy are safe and effective for pain management. However, they are not always useful for conditions like fibromyalgia and other causes of chronic pain. On the other hand, numerous studies have shown that regular sessions of acupuncture therapy are proven to be useful for these conditions.