Chronic Pain, Acupuncture & Holistic Healing

Chronic pain is on the rise affecting 76.5 million Americans and one third have disabling pain. Unfortunately, most people are not getting relief from their pain. The usual route that most people in the States with chronic pain go through is to see their Doctor and the Doctors typical reaction is to give out pain pills and then tell their patient to see how that works.

When the pain killers or Cortisol shot stops giving the type of relief it did in the beginning the next step is to consider the option of surgery to relieve your chronic pain. At that point most people are tired of being in pain and will try most anything to feel some relief.

Unfortunately, these surgeries rarely give the kind of relief from the chronic pain that the patient was hoping for.

Now that the chronic pain is still there after what was supposed to be the game changer (surgery) has begun a new search for help. Some people will give up but others begin to look outside the box and search the internet for pain relief or one of their friends will tell them how they got help with their lower back pain from an Acupuncturist.

That starts the chain reaction of the “Ah ha” moment that gets the burning question into their minds of can this help me too!

In my experience as an acupuncturist, I have had numerous people say, I wish I would have given this acupuncture a chance before I got surgery for my shoulder pain, lower back pain, knee pain, elbow pain, neck pain, etc…because its helping the pain after the surgery.

They begin to ponder if they needed the surgery in the first place. At this point I must explain that sometimes surgery is a must and you should have your doctor check to see if there is a tear in the muscle or physical damage that acupuncture may not be able to help completely.

Acupuncture unfortunately has a stigma that needles are scary and therefore the procedure will be painful. This is the typically far from reality, since the needles are hair thin and are more like a pin than a hypodermic needle which has a hollow tip. I believe you can put around 16 acupuncture needles inside the hypodermic needle opening.

That is a thin needle! The reason why hypodermic needles hurt when inserted into the skin is because there is a hollow tip that actually takes out a small chunk of tissue from the body.

That is why shots are painful. Acupuncture needles do not have hollow tips, so the insertion is much smoother. The most that should be felt is a slight pinch or a dull ache for a few seconds of no sensation at all. This seems like a minor price to pay for decreasing the chronic pain that most people endure for years.

One of the most prominent types of chronic pain that I see is shoulder pain. This is also one of my favorite issues to work on because I usually can get very good result. The methodology which I take is atypical to most acupuncturist.

While most practitioners will go directly into the shoulder using electro stimulation or cupping, I will insert needles in the lower leg and ankle are of both legs. After inserting several needles, I have the patient move the shoulder trying to illicit the pain. After doing this several times, the pain level has dropped 40-60%.

On occasion I have had people walk out the door, chronic pain all gone! What most people reading this must realize is that this first treatment is great and helps with the pain but if you have had a pain problem for many years, it took a long time to get to that point and it’s going to take some time to get rid of the pain as well. Also, after the first treatment, the pain will usually start to inch its way back in about 2-4 days.

The idea is to come back for another treatment before the pain goes back to the same level is was before the first treatment. I usually recommend 2-3 sessions for the first 2-3 weeks then reassess the pain level. Typically, after 5 sessions, the pain levels have dropped 50-75% and that is staying at those levels and not getting worse. Usually by the third or fourth week, the level of treatment gets down to 1 time a week with noticeable pain relief.

Then finally getting to the point of not needing acupuncture except for maintenance if desired. Most enjoy coming back because it helps with stress relief as well. This method also works the same way for neck pain, lower back pain, arthritis, migraines, knee pain and elbow pain. Getting pain relief is all about being diligent and giving acupuncture a chance to help facilitate healing.

Besides acupuncture, there are several things that people with chronic pain can do to relieve inflammation. Reducing or eliminating sugar, alcohol, dairy (all types), grains and caffeine. Taking out all of these at one time may be impossible so try to take out one at a time.

Eliminate that item for 21 days then reintroduce the food to your diet and see how your body reacts. If the pain decreased during that time and when you starting eating the item and your pain got worse you should consider eliminating that food for good. Do that with all of the items on the list.

Lastly, there are several foods that you could add to your diet that helps with reducing inflammation and chronic pain. Ginger, turmeric (curcumin), cayenne. Ginger is great for stomach issues and is anti-inflammatory which reduces pain. Turmeric is great for osteoarthritis pain and increases mobility. Cayenne pepper also alleviates pain in general.