Patients frequently turn to acupuncture for relief of chronic pain.
Research has been conducted to determine the efficacy of acupuncture for managing pain conditions, and there is evidence that it is a helpful technique, according to the National Institutes of Health. At Montvale Health & Wellness, our trained doctors are experienced in this ancient technique, in which thin needles or other methods stimulate specific points on the body.
What is Acupuncture?
The goal of acupuncture, a medical technique developed in China thousands of years ago, is to stimulate designated points on the body in order to relieve pain, enhance recuperative powers, and strengthen the immune system. This is done through the insertion of small needles, finger pressure, application of heat, or a combination of all three.
According to ancient Chinese belief, there is a network of energy called “qi” (pronounced ‘chee’) that flows through the body and connects these points through different channels or “meridians.” These pathways are related to the organs, the muscular and nervous systems and their specific internal functions.
If there is an imbalance in the flow of the body’s energy, then pain or illness can result. Acupuncture aims to correct this energetic imbalance.
Scientists have shown that acupuncture treatments can stimulate the release of endorphins, natural pain relieving substances found in the brain and spinal cord. This may explain one of the ways acupuncture is helpful in relieving pain.
Conditions We Can Treat Using Acupuncture
Our Medical Director, Dr. Rick Lambert, is experienced in, and familiar with, using acupuncture for treatment of the following conditions:
- Neck and back pain
- Shoulder pain
- Myofascial pain syndrome
- Desired weight loss
- Smoking cessation
- Anxiety/panic disorders
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
How Acupuncture Is Performed
When performing acupuncture, doctors use extremely fine, hair-thin, flexible needles made of silver and steel alloy. The needle itself is merely a tool to correct the energy imbalance in the body.
As acupuncture is performed, there is often a brief “needle prick” sensation as the needle passes through the skin. Then, as the needle begins to work and the energy effect occurs, the patient may feel numbness, heat, dull aching, or tingling where the needle is located. Some people are surprised to find treatments are actually quite relaxing—the result of the natural pain-relieving endorphins. The treatment is completely safe and the needles are only used once and then properly disposed.
Acupuncture needles are usually left in place for about 15 to 20 minutes. They may be rotated by the doctor or sometimes stimulated electrically. It is rarely painful as the needles used are much finer than those used for injections. Side effects are rare and minor such as possible dizziness after the first session or minimal blood when the needles are removed. Additionally, the treatment does not interfere with any medication.