Managing pain is a major concern for emergency rooms across the country. With the growing opioid epidemic, there is a need for non-narcotic pain relief options. Acupuncture for pain relief could be an important part of every emergency room’s pain management strategies in the future. In fact, a few emergency rooms already have a licensed acupuncturist on staff. Here are some things to know about using acupuncture for emergency pain relief.
Relieving Pain With Acupuncture Is Not a New Concept
Although hiring staff acupuncturists for emergency departments in hospitals in the United States is a relatively new practice, acupuncturists have been relieving pain with acupuncture for centuries. Acupuncture originated in ancient China and tools possibly used for acupuncture have been dated to be from around 6000 BCE. In the United States, many people use acupuncture to manage chronic pain, migraines, or arthritis. Utilizing the practice for pain management inside of the emergency room is a natural extension of its current usage.
First Emergency Room Licensed Acupuncturist
The first emergency room licensed acupuncturist was Adam Reinstein, who started at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2013. What started as a pilot project through the PGI Research Department, the success of the project has enabled it to be covered by the Abbott Northwestern Foundation. Since many people come through the emergency room for pain, it has been a widely used therapy in this hospital.
Benefits Of Emergency Room Acupuncture
Research shows that most people who enter the emergency room hadn’t tried acupuncture before outside of the emergency room setting. A vast majority of the emergency room patients offered acupuncture decided to try it. For those with chronic pain, access to acupuncture could help to reduce the use of opioids and other pain management strategies.
Acupuncture Decreases Anxiety
Those patients who participated in emergency room acupuncture had less anxiety and felt more relaxed. Going to the emergency room is a situation full of anxiety. Any procedure that can help to reduce feelings of anxiety is important for patients.
Can Be Used with Traditional Analgesics
Deciding to use emergency room acupuncture isn’t an all or nothing proposition. It can be used in tandem with traditional analgesics. In addition to pain relief, acupuncture can provide nausea relief and reduce anxiety. These benefits can complement other pain relief measures.
Acupuncture sessions in the emergency room setting tend to be shorter than regular acupuncture appointments. In the ER, it takes around 15 to 20 minutes. It uses shorter needles than in community based acupuncture. There are also limitations on where acupuncture can be performed on the body so that it doesn’t impact emergency care.
Over the next few years, acupuncture will likely be available at an increasing number of emergency rooms around the country. If you or someone that you know wants to know more about pain management through acupuncture, contact Thumos Health Center. Through acupuncture, we can help resolve chronic and acute pain.
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 310-428-1215 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.
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