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Alternative Treatment for Pain Relief

Acupuncture is a complementary medical technique that has proven to be effective for chronic back, neck, shoulder and joint pain, as well as osteoarthritis and headaches/migraines. As one of the oldest healing practices in the world, acupuncture dates back thousands of years as a form of traditional Chinese medicine. Practitioners stimulate specific points on the body—most often by inserting hair-thin needles into the skin. National Spine & Pain Centers combine modern technology of the West with ancient wisdom of the East to provide you with acupuncture treatments as a natural way to relieve pain and improve your health.

The origins of acupuncture

According to Chinese acupuncture theory, there are over 300 acupuncture points on the body that connect to 12 principal and 8 secondary pathways called meridians. These pathways are thought to conduct Qi (pronounced “chee”), a form of energy, throughout the entire body. When the flow of energy is balanced throughout these points, a person will be in good health. When Qi is disrupted, however, pain can occur. The goal of acupuncture is to correct imbalances of energy flow, thereby decreasing pain and restoring health. Acupuncture remained relatively unknown in the United States until the early 1970s, when a New York Times reporter traveling in China had to have his appendix removed. Treated post-operatively with acupuncture, he wrote a positive front-page article about the experience, sparking widespread interest in the subject.

What is an acupuncture treatment?

Acupuncture at National Spine & Pain Centers is performed by competently trained, licensed professionals using individually packaged, sterile, disposable needles made of high-grade stainless steel specially engineered for flexibility and smooth insertion. When the needles are inserted you may feel a slight prick as they pierce the skin, or you may feel nothing at all. Most people find the procedure relaxing. Imaging studies reveal that needling certain points changes blood flow in the brain, and others have shown acupuncture causes the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. There are many ways to perform acupuncture. The type of needle, technique and insertion points can vary. Practitioners may also use heat, pressure, light or mild electrical current to stimulate points on the body.

How long does it take?

Preparatory and treatment times vary and can range anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes.

How often can these procedures be done?

Typically, a minimum of three to six weekly or biweekly sessions of acupuncture therapy is required to determine its efficacy for each individual case. After that, treatments can be spaced gradually farther apart while still offering effective pain relief.

What are the expected results?

Results can depend on the type of condition being treated, as well as an individual’s response to treatments. Sometimes immediate relief may be felt. Other times there may be a response in a few days or after a few treatments.

Is there a longer lasting therapy?

In addition to acupuncture, physicians at National Spine & Pain Centers offer a wide array of treatments to relieve pain and restore your quality of life. Many people use acupuncture in addition to more conventional treatments. In fact, acupuncture may actually maximize the benefits of other forms of care.

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