Pain or musculoskeletal complaints have become leading conditions for which people opt for acupuncture. About seven of the top ten conditions for which people seek acupuncture is chronic pain.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine acupuncture appears to be safe and effective procedure for relieving some types of chronic pain when performed by a properly trained and licensed practitioner. However more evidence is needed on effectiveness of acupuncture in painful conditions before it can be recommended as a formal treatment option for any type of chronic pain.
Some chronic pain conditions that have appear to be benefitted with use of acupuncture include:
Migraines and Headaches
Low Back Pain
According to some emerging evidence other painful conditions that may also benefit from the use of acupuncture include:
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (also known as "TMJ")
How does acupuncture work?
According to acupuncture any illness is caused due to disruption of Qi, or the flow of energy in the body. This leads to an imbalance of energy. Acupuncture by stimulation of the energy that flows along the meridians, or energy-carrying channels can correct this energy disruption and help the body to heal.
According to one theory stimulation of acupuncture points transmits messages to the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). This stimulates the brain and the spinal cord to release endorphins (naturally produced pain killers) and other neurotransmitters (body chemicals that modify nerve impulses). These chemicals block the pain signals from being delivered to the brain and decrease or eliminate painful sensations.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
Acupuncture is a low-risk, safe and effective procedure when performed by a properly trained and licensed practitioner. Serious adverse events are rare.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine fewer adverse effects are associated with acupuncture as compared to many of the standard drug treatments (such as anti-inflammatory medication and steroid injections) that are given for chronic painful musculoskeletal conditions.
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