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Acupuncture Treatment for Pain

Acupuncture is a safe, natural, and clinically proven method for managing both acute and chronic pain. Modern scientific studies have shown how positively neck and back pain respond to this form of treatment. Of course, several thousand years of history shows that acupuncture is able to control pain and promote healing in all areas of the body. The majority of strained muscles, sprained ligaments and aching joints will experience the same excellent results under acupuncture care that necks and backs do.

How acupuncture stops pain and heals injuries is still not fully understood in biomedical terms. However, current science does show that acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins (natural painkillers), interacts with the pain signals travelling to the brain, reduces inflammation by promoting micro-circulation, and triggers a healing response in the body. In Traditional Chinese Medical terms, acupuncture removes blockages in the body's energy channels and promotes the smooth flow of Qi and Blood. In fact, one of the earliest and simplest lessons taught in acupuncture school is "Where there is pain, there is blockage. Where there is no pain, there is no blockage."

Pain medication not really worth it


It is important to be mindful of the various consequences when choosing to use drugs to manage pain. Painkillers will often leave people feeling quite drowsy and in a "brain fog;" not a great way to function in everyday life. Worse, these drugs can lead to mild or severe addiction and over time can seriously damage the liver and other organs of the body. With regular use, even mild pain relievers like aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) can cause liver damage, gastrointestinal bleeding, and increase one's risk for heart attack. One should always pay close attention to the type, amount, and duration of use of painkillers if going this route. Other pain management solutions such as steroid or cortisone injections also deserve a second look. These procedures reduce inflammation, but they are known to weaken the ligaments, bones, and cartilage of the local area; the same tissues that need healing and strengthening.

Understandably, people are starting to turn to more natural methods for pain management and whole-body healing. Acupuncture is a safe and effective option that helps people in exactly this way. Whether facing a chronic issue or recent injury, or simply trying to decrease medication intake, acupuncture can guide one's body to a more functional and healthy state.

The course of treatment will vary depending on the specific issue and length of its history. With acute pain, acupuncture will work fastest and most effectively if treatment is received as soon as possible after the injury or onset of pain. Usually, one to three treatments in a short amount of time can handle the problem. Sometimes, if the issue has settled in a bit longer, a few extra treatments may be required. Chronic pain problems tend to take a bit more time to reach a place of stability. Generally, a course of six to ten treatments are recommended for long-term pain issues, followed by a reassessment and discussion on future care options. Fortunately, if one makes a commitment to regular acupuncture care and lifestyle modifications, it is fully possible to get the body back on track, painless and moving free.

Articles and Research


Meta-analysis: Acupuncture for Low Back Pain: Annals of Internal Medicine

Acupuncture for Pain: NIH

If you would like to learn more about acupuncture and discuss your specific health situation, please phone 403.455.0880. Dr. Wegmann will be happy to answer your questions.

Mitch Wegmann is a registered acupuncturist and doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine. He owns and operates Calgary Acupuncture Centre in the city's southwest quadrant, near the Marda Loop district.

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