Acupuncture seems to be a mystery to many. Rooted in ancient Chinese medicine, acupuncture is the process of applying needles to specific pressure points in the body. These points are said to release and redirect the body’s energy that is blocked or imbalanced. While it may seem strange to some, there is science supporting acupuncture. It is found to be especially beneficial for individuals with chronic knee pain, chronic back pain, and conditions such as Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Your local pain doctor will be able to support you in understanding if acupuncture should be a treatment used for any chronic pain you may experience.
The science of acupuncture
Research from the National Institute of Health shows that individuals with chronic pain in their back, neck, knees, and chronic headaches react well to acupuncture. Acupuncture is found to be especially helpful for individuals with tension headaches before them rise to the level of a migraine.
Acupuncture is found to inactive sources of pain also through modulating endorphin levels that are not at their baseline level. The goal of acupuncture is to active that body’s ability to heal itself because the body can often heal itself with the right supports.
What are the benefits for acupuncture?
The benefits reported from acupuncture include better sleep, increased energy, increased mental clarity, reduction in pain, better digestion, and an overall reduction in stress. All of which can help reduce chronic pain. Individuals who are not sleeping well, digesting good well, and feel a high amount of stress will experience higher levels of chronic pain than those who are at a better baseline health level.
How do I find an acupuncturist?
If you experience any of the common conditions that acupuncture is used to treat such as chronic knee pain, chronic shoulder pain, chronic back pain, and arthritis, you likely have a pain doctor that you are working with. You should inquire with your pain doctor about the possibility of including acupuncture in your treatment plan. Your chronic pain doctor will be able to assist you in finding a skilled acupuncturist that is in-network to your insurance. You can also call your insurance provider directly to inquire about an acupuncturist near you, however you may require a referral letter from your pain doctor as related to your chronic pain.
Because acupuncture is an alternative treatment method, there may be different training programs to become an acupuncturist. If you are seeking an acupuncturist, you should find a certified provider who completed an ACAOM-accredited program. This would ensure they have completed clean needle courses and completed their certification exams in Oriental medicine, Acupuncture, and Biomedicine.
Acupuncture, like many other holistic treatments, should not be the only service that you access. It should be one of many interventions on your chronic pain treatment plan. You should access other services to ensure you are able to heal and reduce your pain as soon as possible. These include physical or occupational therapy, cryotherapy, aqua therapy, trigger point therapy, and any other services that your pain doctor recommends.
Regardless of the services that you access, it is important to work closely with your chronic pain doctor as you navigate health systems to reduce your acute, severe, or chronic pain.