Used by medical practitioners for more than 2,500 years to treat a range of medical conditions, acupuncture pulls from the theory of qi, which maps the flow of energy through the body. Good health depends on proper energy flow, which sometimes becomes impeded or otherwise thrown off balance. Acupuncture, the application of needles at certain points on the body, helps to correct energy flow and achieve or maintain total health. Many patients have found acupuncture a vital part of their individual pain management plans. While those suffering with chronic pain should not necessarily rely on acupuncture as a primary part of their care, the practice offers a great supplement to other pain relief methods. Acupuncture has proven helpful in the management of several different types of chronic pain, including back and neck discomfort. The process of applying needles to the skin stimulates the central nervous system, altering the ways in which the body interprets pain.
Last year, the journal Anesthesia & Analgesia actually featured a study conducted by the University of Munich that examined the potential therapeutic benefits of acupuncture. The study found that the practice likely affects the “A delta” and “C” pain fibers to produce analgesic benefits for patients. In the study, 24 volunteers received various types of acupuncture, including the regular needle process, high frequency electrical stimulation, or a combination of both. After receiving the therapy, the study showed that pain thresholds increased by up to 50 percent in the patients, as demonstrated by thermal and mechanical testing administered before and after acupuncture treatment. Although subjects received acupuncture in only one leg, the pain threshold for both legs increased.
Scientists still have not uncovered the exact mechanism by which acupuncture benefits the patients. At present, many believe that the process releases opioid peptides in the brain, a naturally occurring pain reliever. Acupuncture may also alter the release of neurotransmitters involved in pain sensation. The team plans to conduct further studies that look more directly into the mechanisms involved.
About the Author
Dr. Daniel Batlan serves as the Medical Director of Specialized Pain Management (SPM), an practice located in Las Vegas, Nevada, that specializes in the relief of chronic and acute pain. After graduating from The Loyola University of Chicago School of Medicine, he completed a residency in Anesthesiology at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, followed by a fellowship in Pain Management at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Dr. Daniel Batlan employs cutting edge technologies to manage pain, complementing traditional “western” medical treatments [e.g., Epidurals, Trigger Point Injections, Discography, Spinal Column Stimulation, Physical Therapy] with alternative approaches, such as acupuncture. You can learn more about Dr. Batlan & Specialized Pain Management at their website: http://www.treatpainlv.com