Pain is incredibly common, and is a leading cause for missed work and diminished quality of life. Some pain is acute, directly linked to a specific injury and of a limited duration. Other pain is chronic, severely limiting life activities for months or even years. Western medicine has long struggled to treat pain with a combination of harsh drugs and physical therapy, but has achieved only mixed results. In addition, some of the medications that showed the most promise in relieving pain have been pulled from the market due to their dangerous side effects. Fortunately, there is another solution.
Acupuncture has been a key component in Eastern medicine for thousands of years, and is gaining acceptance among Western physicians as well. Safe, effective, and painless, acupuncture is approved by both the NIH (National Institute of Health) and the WHO (World Health Organization) for many applications. Along with fertility enhancement, pain management is arguably one of its biggest success stories.
How Does Acupuncture Help Pain?
According to traditional Eastern thought, the life force energy, or Qi, can become blocked for many reasons, including stress, poor nutrition, and maladaptive lifestyle choices. The body has a tremendous ability to restore and heal itself, but blocked Qi makes this difficult or impossible. Acupuncture opens channels, allowing Qi to flow freely and support the body’s restoration process.
Western studies have shown that acupuncture has a powerful effect on the nervous system, including the chemical producers and receptors in the brain. Endorphins, the feel-good chemicals that are released by physical activity and emotional excitement, may be at the heart of acupuncture’s pain relieving abilities. More research is needed to pin down the precise impacts of acupuncture, but there is little doubt that its effects are powerful.
What Types of Pain Does Acupuncture Treat?
Acupuncture can be used as a supportive therapy, in tandem with Western treatments, for virtually any imaginable medical condition. Chronic pain, such as arthritis and sciatica, is particularly manageable with acupuncture. In some cases, it can even work when traditional Western pain relief methods have failed.
- Arthritis: Recent studies have shown that acupuncture has a tremendous effect on the pain associated with osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and fibromyalgia. It appears that there are a few things at work—the rush of endorphins, the healing process triggered by the microtrauma of needle insertion, and even relaxation of the muscles surrounding the painful area.
- Back Pain and Sciatica: Lower back pain is one of the most common complaints for which people seek acupuncture relief. Sciatica, in which the pain radiates down the leg, further compounds the misery. Acupuncture can have a dramatic effect on alleviating the pain and helping your body heal the inflammation that is often present.
- Neck and Shoulder Pain: Many people experience stress-related muscle tension in their neck and shoulder regions, while others have chronic pain rooted in an old injury. Poor posture, extended sitting, and other lifestyle factors can also cause neck and shoulder pain. If you experience new pain, check with a Western doctor first to rule out meningitis and other serious conditions. For chronic neck and shoulder pain, however, research has shown that acupuncture is at least as effective as massage and other traditional remedies.
- Nerve Pain: Also known as neuropathy, nerve pain has many causes, from diabetes to traumatic injury. Often described as a sharp burning or stabbing pain, often with associated tingling, nerve pain can dramatically limit your quality of life. Acupuncture helps to reduce inflammation, calm the nerves, and restore normal functioning.
Why Choose Us?
We are dedicated to an integrative approach to healthcare that incorporates the best methods from both the East and the West. We will work with your Western physician to develop a holistic treatment plan that focuses on not only relieving your pain, but helping your body to restore its optimum wellness. We understand that each person is different, and your treatment plan will reflect your individual needs.
Located in Pacific Palisades, with satellite clinics in Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, and Beverly Hills, Thumos Health Center offers patients exceptional personalized care. If you are ready to take the first steps toward a more integrative approach to your health care, we invite you to phone (323) 372-5150 to schedule an appointment at any of our Los Angeles locations. Our highly knowledgeable and friendly staff will be happy to answer any questions or concerns you might have.