We hear a lot about how acupuncture can be helpful in treating all types of pain – back pain, knee pain, headaches, menstrual cramps – but how does it work?
Acupuncturists use many tools, but the most common are acupuncture needles. Acupuncture needles are small, thin hair-like sterile single use needles inserted into specific areas on the body.
Acupuncture points are believed to stimulate the central nervous system. This, in turn, releases chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These biochemical changes may stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being.
Whether we’re treating the acute pain of a sprained ankle or the chronic pain of a bulging disc, we know that acupuncture treats pain in three ways:
1. Neurologic Disruption
Your body processes the stimulation from acupuncture using the same part of the nervous system that transmits pain. By sending different signals – such as the message your body receives from the insertion of an acupuncture needle – your acupuncturist can “disrupt” the pain messages transmitted from body to brain and help decrease your sensation of pain
2. Local Tissue Relaxation
When a part of your body is in pain, the muscles surrounding the painful area often tense to protect and compensate. This can cause additional soreness and decrease the body’s ability to move and heal naturally. These same muscles and tissues will respond to acupuncture stimulation by relaxing, causing decreased pain and easier movement.
3. Decreasing Inflammation
Injury to any tissue causes an increase in inflammation, which in turn, causes increased pain, and can cause swelling and reduced range of motion. Acupuncture activates your innate immunity, which will work to decrease inflammation throughout your body and decrease local and systemic pain.
Currently, the World Health Organization (WHO) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) have found acupuncture to be effective for over thirty conditions and the list is continuing to grow.
If you have any questions, please call our office, email, or visit our website.