Everyone’s got pain at some point, and some people have a lot of pain. Pain has been around since the beginning of time. Acupuncture has been treating pain for the last 3000 years. Today we might take an aspirin, an Advil, or something stronger. These may work to temporarily relieve the pain, but they don’t fix it, and these drugs may come with harmful side effects. Acupuncture safely treats the underlying causes providing long-term relief.
What types of pain can acupuncture treat?
Pain comes in endless varieties – headaches, back pain, neck pain, joint pain, muscle pain, abdominal pain, painful periods, injuries, surgeries, the list goes on and on. Acupuncture is able to treat any type of pain, because of the way acupuncture works.
How does acupuncture treat pain?
In Chinese medicine the body is supplied with blood and qi (vital life force) through a network of channels called meridians, and is very similar to the western circulatory system. Anytime there is a blockage in circulation, you get pain. Acupuncture breaks up these blockages by placing small needles at specific points along the meridians. These needles are generally placed along the arms and legs, and one treatment may have a few needles on each limb. The needles are retained for 20 -30 minutes, and the treatment can be so relaxing that many patients take a nap!
Does acupuncture hurt?
Not much, especially compared to the pain that is being treated. There may be a small sensation when the needle is first inserted, and this will go away after a few moments. Breathing techniques during the insertion can help minimize any discomfort. For patients who are nervous about needles, a treatment plan can include only a few needles.
How many acupuncture sessions does it take?
It depends. How long have you had the pain? The longer the history of pain, the longer it will take to respond to treatment. How severe is the pain? The more it hurts, the more treatments it will take to reduce the pain. What’s causing it? A recent injury will respond more easily than a chronic pain condition. What other factors are contributing to the pain? Identifying other ways of reducing pain can make the acupuncture work faster.
What other natural approaches for treating pain will help make the acupuncture more effective?
Pain is a form of inflammation, and reducing inflammation reduces the pain. That is why anti-inflammatory support such as aspirin and Advil can work to relieve pain, at least temporarily. There are safe alternatives to these drugs. Nutritional anti-inflammatory support includes the omega 3 essential fatty acids found in fish oil, and the herb turmeric.
We recommend high quality, safe products and help you determine what dose works best for you. For chronic pain, making dietary changes that avoid inflammatory foods can make a huge difference. We can guide you through the process of identifying which foods may be triggering your pain. These natural approaches will make the acupuncture more effective, so you get better, faster results.
Will my insurance cover acupuncture?
Many insurance plans do have coverage for acupuncture and the treatment of pain. Coverage can vary between plans and providers, so you want to get your benefits verified before starting care. You can check your benefits with our clinic here.
If you are ready to explore how acupuncture can reduce your pain, schedule your initial visit here. We serve the east bay including Piedmont, Oakland, and Berkeley.