Acupuncture Brings Relief

Acupuncture is now widely accepted as one of the safest, most effective treatments for acute and chronic pain.  Acupuncture works for pain anywhere in the body, and for the 3 main types of pain: pain caused by damage to tissue, pain caused by damage to nerves, and pain made worse by psychological or emotional factors.

How does acupuncture relieve pain ?

Acupuncture relieves pain via certain effects it has on the body both locally and systemically. Locally, acupuncture releases tense or spasming muscles, and increases blood flow to the affected tissues, thus speeding repair and regeneration of tissues.  Systemically it causes changes in nerve signalling in the brain and spinal cord, and can alter levels of certain hormones (chemical messengers) in your body that play a role in pain perception.  There are various biomedical theories about how acupuncture works.  There are also different styles of acupuncture.  Some styles, like dry needling are very mechanical, others are more subtle and gentle and rely more on distal needling (needling away from the painful site) to achieve results.  I primarily use a system of distal needling called Balance Method Acupuncture, and add other techniques like local needling, moxibustion, and cupping on an a case by case basis. 

How long does it take to see results?

Most patients get relief instantly.  I have found clinically that 80% of my patients will get at least 50% reduction in pain sensation following the first treatment.  Usually 5 sessions are needed to maintain this relief.  For very long-standing chronic pain or if your overall health is poor, 10 or even 20 sessions may be necessary.  Best results are obtained with treatment at least twice per week for the first 2 to 3 weeks.  As your condition improves, treatment is less frequent.  Patients with chronic back problems often find that regular acupuncture once per month will keep their back from "going out" and they are able to be more active, or go for a long drive without trouble.

Will my insurance pay for it?

Maybe.  Doctors, the general public, insurers, and our government are increasingly recognizing that acupuncture is a safe, cost-effective option for many types of back, knee, hip, and other pain syndromes, and should often be considered as an option before resorting to more invasive options like surgery, treatments that can weaken tendons and ligaments (like repeated cortisone shots), or medications with the potential to create addiction.   Call and ask your provider if they offer acupuncture as a covered benefit and how many visits are covered.  I do not bill insurance directly. You can also use funds from your HSA health savings account or FSA (flexible spending account) for acupuncture.

Who should try acupuncture for pain relief?

Chinese medicine therapies like acupuncture, electro-acupuncture, Chinese herbs, cupping , and moxibustion give great results for many types of pain.  Consider scheduling a consultation if you want to:

  • speed acute injury healing 

  • improve chronic weakness or inflammation due to old injuries

  • relieve back, knee or hip pain due to arthritis

  • reduce whole body pain and improve immune system due to fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, MS

  • fix carpal tunnel syndrome, text neck, tennis elbow, "lost pillow" syndrome, etc.