Pain is the most common reason for seeking medical attention. For some people pain may be temporary and easy to tolerate, but for many others it can be severe or unrelenting or both. If you have a body, then you will be familiar with the experience of pain.
The good news is that, although pain is inevitable, suffering is optional! Numerous high-level studies have demonstrated that acupuncture is an effective method for relief of pain associated with a range of disorders.
Chinese Medicine’s View of Pain
Whenever there is tissue injury, the local blood circulation is disrupted. Blood is essential to supply local tissues with anti-inflammatory factors, proteins for rebuilding damaged tissues, oxygen to cleanse and a wide variety of immune cells to fight against invasion of bacteria and other pathogenic factors. In the language of Chinese Medicine, pain is a stagnation of Blood. Pain is a signal sent to the central nervous system that communicates the information about damage to local tissues.
How Acupuncture Helps with Pain Relief
Whenever an acupuncture needle is inserted, a number of different things start to happen. The body interprets the presence of an acupuncture needle as a potential threat to its integrity and an immune response is initiated. The primary function of this immune response is to protect the body from pathogenic invasion. This is achieved by
Common Pain Conditions Seen in Chinese Medicine Practice
- enhancing the local circulation of blood
- producing endorphines, the body’s own pain relieving factors
- stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system to promote relaxation
- softening tension in the muscle structure
The Research on Acupuncture and Pain Relief
- Neck, shoulder, elbow and knee pain
- Low back pain and sciatica
- Joint and arthritic pain
- Headaches & migraine
- Menstrual pain
- Digestive pain
- Plantar fasciitis
- Carpal tunnel and RSI
Many high-level studies have demonstrated that acupuncture is an effective method for relief of pain associated with various disorders.
A narrative review of high quality randomised controlled trials and two systematic reviews including a Cochrane systematic review update, have confirmed that acupuncture is superior to sham acupuncture and seems to be at least as effective as conventional preventative medication in reducing migraine frequency
The most recent Cochrane systematic review update confirmed that acupuncture is effective for frequent episodic and chronic tension-type headaches with moderate to low quality evidence. A brief review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses described acupuncture as having a ‘potentially important role as part of a treatment plan for migraine, tension-type headache, and several different types of chronic headache disorders’
Low back pain
A review of 32 randomised control trials has shown acupuncture has a positive effect in the treatment of chronic non-specific low back pain in comparison to placebo and improved function. Another review showed acupuncture was found to be superior to NSAIDS in effect when treating acute low back pain.
A review found acupuncture to be 2nd in effectiveness out of 21 interventions for pain intensity related to sciatica. The review showed acupuncture may be superior in effect to drugs and may also increase the effectiveness of drugs when used in conjunction.
A systematic review relating to osteoarthritis of the knee showed acupuncture to provide significant pain relief, improved mobility and quality of life (12). Acupuncture was also shown to have a stronger effect than standard care suggesting an effective alternative to pain relief medication for people with knee osteoarthritis. The reviewers concluded that ‘current evidence supports the use of acupuncture as an alternative for traditional analgesics in patients with osteoarthritis’.
A systematic review and meta-analysis of 13 RCTs in 2016, found that acupuncture, electroacupuncture (EA) and transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation (TEAS) improved pain on day one after surgery and reduced opioid use
Acupuncture was found to be superior to controlled intervention or inactive treatment neck pain relief.
At early stage of Shoulder Impingement Syndrome (SIS), exercise combined with therapies such as kinesio taping, specific exercises, and acupuncture can be considered a first choice of intervention
About Shen Adelaide
Shen Adelaide are professional health care consultants with multiple skills which they blend to tailor unique treatments for every individual. They offer Acupuncture, Acupressure, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Psychotherapy, Remedial Massage, Shiatsu and much more. They are committed to helping you to move forward and make the most of your life.
Deborah and Damian have been dedicated, independent health care practitioners since the late 1980’s. We care about our work. Deborah practices Integrative Mind-Body Therapy. Her clinical focus is on Emotional Integration, seeking to resolve underlying emotional patterns. Damian is a Doctor of Chinese Medicine, registered by AHPRA as an Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbal Medicine practitionerhttps://www.shenadelaide.com/