Can Acupuncture Provide Pain Relief?
Those who deal with pain on a day to day basis will usually be willing to try anything that might help. Although the initial treatment always tends to be medication, the pain management physicians that work at pain clinics like KindlyMD often have an arsenal of treatments at their disposal, and acupuncture is just one of them. But how does it work, and can it actually provide the pain relief that many patients crave?
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a treatment that comes from traditional Chinese medicine and involves very thin needles being inserted into the skin at specific points of the body. It is used as pain treatment in hospitals and clinics, particularly when providing relief for patients with chronic pain, migraines, and tension headaches. However, it can also be used for the treatment of other types of pain, such as:
- dental pain
- labor pain
- chemotherapy pain
- menstrual cramps
- arthritis pain
- tennis elbow
- back pain
- neck pain.
What Happens When You Get Acupuncture?
If you have been referred for acupuncture, you might be feeling a bit apprehensive about it and are wondering what to expect. After all, the idea of having long thin needles inserted into your body might not fill you will joy. But you should know that the procedure is rarely painful.
Depending on where the pain is and what part of the body the needles will be inserted into, you may be asked to lie or sit down and you might need to remove some clothing, particularly if you are having needles inserted into your legs or back.
The needles used during acupuncture are usually single-use and have already been sterilized. They will be disposed of after they have been utilized. The practitioner will insert the needles just under your skin in most instances, but sometimes they will be inserted a bit deeper so that they can reach the muscle. Once in place, the needles will be left in their position for up to 30 minutes, during which time the nerves under the skin will be stimulated with mild electrical pulses. This then encourages the body to produce pain-relieving endorphins.
It is common to feel a dull ache or a tingling sensation, but you should not feel any major pain and you should not feel any discomfort during removal of the needles.
Is it Safe?
Those who have never had acupuncture before might be wondering whether it is safe and if there are any risks associated with the procedure. Acupuncture is considered to be safe when carried out by a qualified practitioner, but some people do experience mild side effects, including:
- minor bruising at the insertion points
- pain or soreness at the insertion points
- minor bleeding at the insertion points
- worsening of the original symptoms.
It is important to speak to the practitioner before the procedure begins if you have any concerns or if you have a condition such as a bleeding disorder that might increase the risk of bleeding during needle insertion. People with a pacemaker should also have a discussion with their doctor before having acupuncture in case the electrical pulses affect how it operates.
Acupuncture is commonly prescribed as a treatment for chronic pain. It works by stimulating the nerves under the skin through the insertion of long thin needles. The process is seldom painful, but it is not uncommon to feel a tingling sensation or a dull ache. Rarely, minor side effects such as bruising, bleeding, or soreness can occur after the procedure, but it is generally considered to be safe when conducted by a qualified practitioner.