Living with chronic pain is difficult. Some patients manage their chronic pain with anti-inflammatory medications, hot and cold treatments, exercises or physical therapy.
If you are not getting results with these treatments, then acupuncture could be a good option for you to try.
Many people come to acupuncture as a last resort, mainly because little is known about it by the public. However, more and more people are turning to this effective treatment method year after year.
Some medical professionals are still not in agreement on the benefits of acupuncture and whether or not this is a good option for chronic pain. However, there are many Doctors who do now condone this treatment method for pain relief and not only refer their patients to an acupuncturist, many of them are also now doing courses in acupuncture so they can administer the treatment themselves to their patients in need.
Furthermore, an international team of experts has conducted research on acupuncture and found that it is an efficient treatment for common forms of pain. A total of 29 studies have been carried out with 18,000 participants. Some patients received acupuncture while other received a placebo treatment made to look like acupuncture and others didn’t receive any treatments. The studies found that acupuncture helped with the pain in 50% of cases. The Archives Of Internal Medicine published the results of these studies.
This study is not a definitive proof of the benefits of acupuncture, but this is one of the best and most comprehensive studies that has ever been conducted, which is a great step forward for the acupuncture profession.
Some medical professionals think that there are many benefits associated with acupuncture and that the potential side effects outweigh the benefits, especially compared to other forms of treatments like medication.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Acupuncture consists in inserting extremely thin needles into specific points on the body. This treatment is mostly painless. However, a patient may sometimes feel a momentary dull ache at the site of needle insertion or a slight electrical sensation traverse the areas along the channel pertaining to the acupoint.
The needles are meant to help energy flow freely in the body and relieve some pressure points. The energy is called ‘qi’, pronounced ‘Chee’. The April issue of the Harvard Men’s Health Watch had a piece on acupuncture and Western scientists. These scientists believe that acupuncture helps by affecting neurotransmitters, boosting the immune system and balancing hormone levels.
You shouldn’t go to the acupuncturist right away if you are experiencing a new pain. Dr Chen says that patients need to get a proper diagnosis first to make sure that the pain is not caused by something structural or severe, such as a slipped disc or fracture. Other treatments might be more relevant than acupuncture for those kinds of conditions.
Acupuncture can be a good way to treat chronic pain if you receive treatments on a regular basis. Weekly treatments are a good approach, but you can start waiting longer between treatments once you start getting results.
An acupuncture session usually costs between £40 and £90 here in the UK. In most cases, private insurers will not cover the cost of these treatments unless the practitioner is a member of one of the recognised governing bodies, such as the British Acupuncture Council or the Acupuncture Society.
If you’re unsure if your medical insurance will cover you for the treatment, firstly contact the acupuncturist you are planning to see to find out what qualifications they hold and if they are a member of one of the major governing bodies. Then, give your insurance company a call and explain to them that you want to have acupuncture treatment for your condition. They will ask you about the practitioner you are intending to see. Once they verify the practitioner, you are good to go