Acupuncture & Pain Essay

Submitted By lslominski
Words: 860
Pages: 4

Table of Contents
• Abstract…………………………………………………………………p.2
• About Pain………………………………………………………………p.3
• Use of Acupuncture for Pain……………………………………………p.3
• Types of pain……………………………………………………………p.4
• What Are the Advantages of Acupuncture?...............................................p.4
• How Often Should I Be Treated With Acupuncture?.................................p.5
• References………………………………………………………………..p.6

Abstract
Pain and chronic pain is experienced by many people and we’ve all tried different remedies to ease our pain. Acupuncture is commonly used for the treatment of pain. In traditional Chinese medicine the concepts of “meridian” and the vital energy “Qi” form part of the theoretical basis for needling at specific acupuncture points. Studies indicate that penetration of a needle through the skin; whether at an acupuncture point or not, has physiological effects. The release of endorphins has been suggested as explanations for the apparent pain-relieving effect of acupuncture. About Pain
Pain is a feeling triggered in the nervous system. It may be sharp or dull, off and on or steady, localized (such as back pain) or all over (such as muscle aches). Sometimes, pain alerts us to injuries and illnesses that need attention. Although pain usually goes away once the underlying problem is addressed, it can last for weeks, months, or even years. Chronic pain may be due to an ongoing condition (such as arthritis) or to abnormal activity in pain sensing regions of the brain or the cause may not be known.
“To relieve their pain, many people take over the counter medications – either acetaminophen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, including aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen). Stronger medications, including NSAIDs in higher dosages and narcotics, are available by prescription only.” (3) Many of these medications can have negative side effects if used over long periods of time. To avoid this issue, many people look for alternative therapies, including acupuncture.
Use of Acupuncture for Pain
Traditional Chinese practitioners believed that illness is due to an imbalance of energy in the body, acupuncture can help restore the balance. Acupuncture is among the oldest healing practices in the world and is part of traditional Chinese medicine. “Acupuncture practitioners stimulate specific points on the body by inserting thin disposable, stainless steel needles through the skin. In traditional Chinese medicine theory, this helps regulate and restore the flow of Qi (vital energy) along pathways known as meridians.” (1) In acupuncture, there are 12 main meridians and 8 extra meridians or energy carrying channels throughout the body. These meridians are what need to be balanced to achieve a harmonious state.
Acupuncture is also thought to decrease pain by increasing the release of chemicals that block pain, called endorphins. Many acupuncture points are near nerves. When stimulated, these nerves cause a dull ache or feeling of fullness in the muscle. The stimulated muscle sends a message to the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), causing the release of endorphins (morphine-like chemicals produced in our own bodies during times of pain or stress). Endorphins, along with other neurotransmitters (body chemicals that modify nerve impulses), block the message of pain from being delivered up to the brain.
According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, which included a comprehensive survey of CAM use by Americans, 1.4 percent of respondents (an estimated 3.1 million Americans) said they had used acupuncture in the past year. A special analysis of acupuncture data from an earlier NHIS found that pain or musculoskeletal complaints accounted for 7 of the…