Relieving Pain with Acupuncture

Author: Betty Shuford, LAc

No one wants to live with pain. It is usually uncomfortable, decreases our productivity, and inhibits our ability to enjoy the pleasures of life. Most people experience pain at some point in their life. It may be due to an injury, new or old, an illness or possibly an unknown cause. Whatever the reason, I am sure no one enjoys being in pain. How one chooses to treat the pain can set you up for a successful recovery or send you into a spiraling downhill cycle.

In my experience there are a few common options. For pain that is minor or soreness from overuse, one might choose to let it rest and hope it passes. If the pain repeatedly returns or becomes persistent, you may choose to take medications, either over the counter or prescribed, in hopes that a “magic pill” will solve the problem. This will usually relieve or dull the pain for a short amount of time but does not address the root of the problem. Another disadvantage to medications is they may have unwanted side-effects. Pain medications can be useful, especially if you are in constant and severe pain, but if you have to continually take them the “magic” is not working. Pain is sometimes so severe or specific that surgery may seem the only option available. While often a last result, surgery comes with the disadvantage of being expensive, loss of time from work or school, and no guarantee that it will be effective.

One alternative to the options above is the use of acupuncture. Acupuncture is a natural, safe, and proven way to eliminate pain. The World Health Organization (WHO) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) both recognize the benefits of acupuncture in the treatment and elimination of pain due to a wide range of causes.

Acupuncture describes pain as a manifestation of blocked Qi in the meridians. Qi is vital energy that circulates freely within our body though pathways called meridians nourishing the cells, muscles, and organs along the way. When a meridian becomes blocked, the flow of Qi is restricted. The cells, muscles, and organs on the opposite side of the blockage will not receive full access of Qi and pain may occur. Acupuncture uses needles inserted at specific points, called acupuncture points to break the blockage of the qi. Once proper qi flow is restored the body will receive nourishment to all of its cells, muscles, and organs. With attention to the root cause of the blockage, acupuncture discourages further blockage thus eliminating the return of pain. Once the root of the problem is addressed then the body is able to heal on a deeper level.

The result of acupuncture is different for everyone.  You may have immediate results and the pain is completely gone after one treatment.  Other times it may take a few treatments for the blockage to be removed.  Each situation is different depending on several factors; if the pain is acute or chronic, the severity, its location, and overall health of the body.