Pain Management

 

There are many causes of pain.  A person feels pain as a result of tissue damage from an injury.  This kind of pain usually involves inflammation and swelling (i.e., sprain, bruise, herniated disc, etc.).  Some people experience pain as a result of a disease in which the nervous system is affected (i.e., fibromyalgia, peripheral neuropathy, tension headache, etc.).  Other form of pain can be a result of simply being in contact with a noxious stimuli (i.e., prick from a thorn or acupuncture needle).  Regardless of the type of pain, a person’s quality of life is affected.  Most of the time, pain is our body’s way of communicating to us that we need to change course to avoid further damage.  In conventional western medicine, pain medication is prescribed along with antibiotic if an infection is involved.  If the pain does not go away, physical therapy and, ultimately, surgery may be recommended. 

 

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) theory, pain is due to an obstruction of qi and blood in the acupuncture channel system.  When there is a lack of circulation of qi and blood to the affected area, there will be pain.  Obstruction can be caused by excess dampness accumulation, blood deficiency, constrained heat, or excess cold accumulation.  Based on the theory of TCM, a practitioner uses needles to help move qi and blood in the affected channel(s) and at the same time resolve the imbalances (i.e. expel dampness, nourish blood, expel excess cold, etc.).  For instance, for a sprain and strain type injury, needles can be used to move qi and blood in the affected area.  By moving qi and blood, inflammation and swelling can also be reduced.  After a certain number of treatments, pain will slowly be less and less over time.  After the imbalances are corrected, pain will be resolved.  For herniated disc in lumbar spine, needles can be used to free course the affected channel(s) to allow free flow of qi and blood.  Free flow of qi and blood can help reduce swelling and inflammation over time and vice versa.  The practitioner may also try to strengthen the spine to help speed up recovery using acupuncture and/or herbal medicine.  Certain pain is due to excess cold accumulation, such as an intense pain in the lower abdomen.  The best way to expel cold is using a heating therapy called moxibustion; herbal formula can also be used to expel the cold to promote free flow of qi and blood.    

 

The effect of acupuncture on pain can be almost instantaneous; just 5 seconds after insertion of needles, patients can experience a great reduction in pain level if not completely gone.  Because the effect of one acupuncture session only lasts up to 4 days, the patients may experience a return of the pain, but should be less intense then original.  Because the effect of acupuncture therapy is cumulative, it is important for patients to return for regular treatments until the problem is completely resolved.  For severe pain conditions, at least 2 treatment sessions the first couple weeks is recommended.  As the condition improves to a more tolerable level, treatment frequency can be reduced to once a week.    Acute problems can be resolved quicker than chronic problems.

 

 

Commonly Treated Conditions:

  • Low back pain

  • Neck pain

  • Shoulder pain

  • Foot pain

  • Knee / ankle pain

  • Abdominal pain

  • Elbow pain

  • Facial pain

  • Fingers / toes pain

  • Rib pain

  • Groin pain

  • Headache

  • Toothache

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