Acupuncture is a centuries-old practice that is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). However, it did not become popular or even known in Western medicine until the early 1970s. Since then, numerous respected medical organizations like the National Institute of Health (NIH) have said acupuncture is an acceptable and reasonable option for people who have chronic pain.
Understanding Acupuncture Treatment
Acupuncture is the application of needles, heat, and pressure to various points across the body. Per TCM, by stimulating these very specific points, it is possible to influence the flow of the body’s chi, or life force. In ancient Eastern medicine, and even still today, it is believed that a chi imbalance or blockage in the body leads to everything from the common cold to chronic pain and serious illnesses.
Acupuncture Efficacy for Pain Management
There are several studies suggesting that acupuncture is a particularly effective treatment for specific types of chronic pain, including pain from osteoarthritis, back and neck pain, and even chronic migraine pain. Patients who have frequent tension headaches often find that regular preventative acupuncture treatments reduce the number of headache days they experience as well as the severity of their headaches. Practical Pain Management, a respected journal, published a review article showing measurable and undeniable evidence that acupuncture helps to regulate endorphins in the body.
How Often to Schedule Acupuncture Sessions
Most patients who have chronic pain issues will see their acupuncturist (or acupuncture specialist) regularly, even if their symptoms have gotten better, in order to maintain their overall sense of wellness. The frequency with which patients should undergo acupuncture depends on their own unique situations. Those who have very severe and currently unmanaged chronic pain may need acupuncture as often as twice a week; those who have found relief from acupuncture and other treatments may return to their acupuncturist only once a month.
Finding an Acupuncturist in NYC
Each state has different licensing requirements for acupuncturists, so be sure to understand the laws in your state before making an appointment. Most states require this certification, and their online tool will help you search for certified providers in your area – or even verify that the provider you have chosen has the required certifications.
Acupuncture is just one of several outstanding ways to manage chronic pain. For some patients, it is all they need to enjoy freedom from debilitating pain, and for others, acupuncture is an excellent treatment that works well in conjunction with pain medications, physical therapy, and other options.