Acupuncture for Pain Relief

Acupuncture for Pain Relief

Acupuncture is an ancient method that has been used for relieving pain. It is commonly used today to treat back and neck pain, arthritis, and inflammatory pain, as well as headaches and migraines. There has been a lot of research studies conducted on how acupuncture works for pain. The mechanism of the analgesic or pain-relieving effect of acupuncture has been studied widely over the past 40-50 years.

Through such research, it has been found that acupuncture activates the endogenous opioid systems which include endorphins, serotonin and noradrenalin, which act as neurotransmitters in the brain and Central Nervous System giving it an analgesic or pain-relieving effect.[2]

Fine needles are inserted into points stimulating the release of endorphins which are our own naturally produced painkillers. When an acupuncture needle is inserted into a muscle, the muscle and nearby nerves are stimulated and send a message to the brain causing these pain-blocking endorphins to be released.

 

Acupuncture and Chronic Pain

Evidence suggests that acupuncture can help with chronic pain. A systematic review and meta-analysis by Vickers et al (2013) concluded “acupuncture to be superior to both no acupuncture control and sham acupuncture for the treatment of chronic pain” and found that “acupuncture is a reasonable referral option for patients with chronic pain.” [1]

This review that was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine covered 29 high quality randomised trials with 17,922 participants. 4 chronic pain conditions back and neck, osteoarthritis, headaches and shoulder pain.

 

Lower Back Pain

Acupuncture can be beneficial in the reduction of sub acute or chronic low back pain.[3]

 

Knee Osteoarthritis

If you are suffering from knee aches or knee pain, then you might have Osteoarthritis. It is referred to be one of the most common causes of chronic knee pain. If you have Osteoarthritis then you will have pain, inflammation, and stiffness making it hard to extend and flex your knee.

A systematic review of acupuncture for pain relief of osteoarthritis concludes that acupuncture reduces pain intensity and improves functional mobility in people with osteoarthritis.[6]