Those who have never done acupuncture for pain relief might feel a little intimidated by the thought of letting someone stick a bunch of needles into you as you sit quietly. While that is the very basic definition of acupuncture, the more you know about it, the more comfortable you’re likely to feel giving it a try.
This is especially true if you have chronic or ongoing pain from which you are unable to get relief. Acupuncture is also a viable alternative to opioids for pain management.
But first, let’s go through the ins and outs of acupuncture to get a clearer idea of what this procedure for pain relief entails.
What An Acupuncture Appointment Is Like At Hoboken Integrated Healthcare
When you go to see an accredited acupuncturist, they will ask you questions about your pain, as well as about your overall health and wellness to get a full picture of where your pain is coming from and what else might be going on in your body.
They will also give you an examination that will involve taking a careful look at your tongue. An acupuncturist can tell a great deal about your health by the color and coating of your tongue. The tip, back, sides, center, and back of your tongue all correlate to different aspects of your health, according to Chinese medicine. A thorough examination will help your acupuncturist determine how to help your overall health and pain.
Acupuncture needles are not like needles that you get a shot with or like ones that are used for blood draw. These are actually very fine needles; some are no larger than a strand of hair in width. Most people say they cannot feel them go in. The overwhelming majority of people feel a sense of calm come over them and some people even report falling asleep on the table!
Acupuncture needles are placed in specific places on the body that will, according to Chinese tradition, unblock your “qi” (pronounced, “chi,” it is your energy source in your body) and will alleviate pain once flowing again.
How Acupuncture Can Relieve Your Pain
Knowing a little more about what to expect and how thin and painless the needles are can help relieve the anxiety some people have about trying acupuncture. Those same people may be skeptical about the ability of Chinese medicine to relieve pain, especially when their pain is being managed by opioids.
In Traditional Chinese medicine there are points on the body that are along meridians, the lanes in which your qi flows through your body. Inserting the needles at certain points will unblock your qi, and alleviate the pain caused by the blockage. Western medicine explains this by saying that the needles are inserted at points that release endorphins, lowers inflammation, or changes the connective tissue in the body. All these things can lead to less pain in the body and lessen the need for opiods.
Should You Try Acupuncture For Pain Relief?
If you have chronic pain for which you are taking opioids, acupuncture may help decrease your dependence on pain medication; in fact, it could even eventually allow you to stop taking it completely over time.
For non-chronic pain, it might take between 6-10 appointments for acupuncture to treat an issue. Many people choose to go on a regular basis for overall health management. There are very few side effects related to acupuncture— as long as you see a reputable acupuncturist. As licensing differs from state to state, be sure to research what your state requires for an acupuncturist to practice in addition to searching for reviews of the practitioner you plan to visit.
For those who have been suffering from pain over a long period of time, there is no harm in going to see a safe, licensed acupuncturist to try to better your quality of life. The team of healthcare professionals at Hoboken Integrated Healthcare are ready to answer your questions about acupuncture and how we can help improve your overall health and wellness. Call our team today to schedule your appointment and be on your way to less pain and a better quality of life.