Tags: acupuncture | pain | sciatica | relief

Does Acupuncture Work for Pain Relief?

Wednesday, 09 April 2014 12:58 AM

Bodily pain is common and affects everyone. It may be in diverse body parts such as the neck, hands, legs, back, or spine or it may be caused by conditions such as sciatica. However, pain necessitates finding ways to obtain relief. Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese practice, with its own unique philosophy.

Scientific research on acupuncture is also under way. Dr. Lucy Chen, a specialist in pain medicine and a practicing acupuncturist, believes the potential benefits of acupuncture for getting relief from pain, especially chronic pain, are very high and that it does not cause any complications.

The Philosophies Behind Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient therapy used for treating pain in the human body. The technique can be based on two distinct views – the traditional holistic belief and the modern view based on the concept of pain relief.
The traditional belief is that our bodily energy (Qi), blood, and body fluids are the three most important substances constituting the body and regulating all its functions. Any interruption in the flow of Qi through its meridian (channel for Qi flow) causes interruptions in the circulation of blood and body fluids. This leads to pain and other problems. Acupuncture stimulates specific points in the meridian to counter pain and obtain relief.
The modern view holds that needles inserted in certain points can stimulate the CNS to release specific hormones, with neurotransmitters easing pain and providing relief. The body has approximately 2,000 acupuncture points located along meridians that can be stimulated for facilitating the flow of energy.

Which Conditions Can Find Relief Using Acupuncture?

Many psychological and medical conditions can be treated via acupuncture. Apart from medication and other therapies, it is a known means of finding relief from pain. This technique can reduce constipation, menstrual cramps, shoulder ache, osteoarthritis, tennis elbow, postsurgical tenderness, pain due to cancer, headaches, and migraines.
In 2004, a study reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed acupuncture could treat patients with knee osteoarthritis to a greater extent than medicine. There are also studies reporting that it can effectively treat lower back pain.

Is This Therapy Effective in Getting Relief From Sciatica?

Patients of sciatica frequently use acupuncture. The longest nerve in the body, the sciatic nerve runs along the spinal cord to the lower body and down to both the legs. This can cause neurological symptoms including pain and numbness. Sciatica involves inflammation of the sciatic nerve.
An acupuncturist first diagnoses the cause of sciatica and then begins the therapy by inserting a needle into specific points that would help in getting relief from pain caused by sciatica by treating the underlying obstruction causing sciatica. Some studies claim that though there may be some analgesic effect of acupuncture, it is effective in getting relief from sciatica. However, to date, no scientific research has been able to establish that acupuncture can cure sciatica.

Is Acupuncture Safe?

Acupuncture is regarded as a safe technique with minimal side effects. Some side effects include slight bleeding, soreness, and irritation. Rarely, complications arise if the needle punctures the kidneys or lungs. The process is not recommended for people with bleeding disorders or for people with pacemakers or implanted electrical devices.
To be safe, it is advisable to consult an expert before using this technique for any relief.

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Acupuncture is an ancient technique used for treating physical pain in the body, especially popular in the Far East. This philosophy-based therapy is useful for relief in sciatica or pain of the sciatic nerve. The current article discusses if acupuncture for pain really works for patients.
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 12:58 AM
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