It probably wont surprise any of you to hear that pain the first reason most people come in to see me. Its the first reason most people book in with an Acupuncturist and the thing Acupuncture is best known for.
Theres a good reason for this: Acupuncture has been proven to perform equally and over Morphine (!!) in numerous separate studies. Additionally Acupuncture is actually the only modality (comparing physiotherapy, chiropractic, remedial massage, etc) which has been demonstrated to reduce the number of painkillers taken during episodes of pain (here) which is what its all about!
Acupuncture has actually been shown as number 1 or number 2 for back and neck pain specifically, which is unsurprising to us Acupuncturists but nice for everyone else who’s not sure where to go for pain relief. Migraine and Headache are also number one with Acupuncture treatment performing over the drugs and as top of the list.
The studies have been done, the evidence is in, and Acupuncture is the number one, go to, best proven non drug treatment for pain – as recommended by the Cochrane review, Mayo clinic, Harvard Medicine, and the Joint Commission for Pain Management (USA) – among others (too many to list).
Since ‘Pain’ is such an unspecific descriptor, I thought I’d list a few things below which Acupuncture performs well for. There’s a great overall review here if you are interested.
In Western Medical terms, Acupuncture has been shown to
Relieve pain – by delivering analgesia via alpha-adreno-receptor mechanisms
Reduce inflammation – by promoting release of vascular and immune-modulatory factors
Improve muscle stiffness, joint mobility and dispersal of swelling – by increasing local microcirculation
Accelerate repair of injured body tissue
Improve function and mobility
Relieve stress and promotes wellbeing, thereby facilitating recovery – by stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, which leads to release of endorphins
Please keep in mind: all reference to Acupuncture means Real Acupuncture, the kind practised by a licensed, registered Acupuncturist under AHPRA. If you are seeing someone without this registered Medical title (a Physiotherapist, Chiropractor or massage therapist doing ‘acupuncture’ – as dry needling), you are seeing someone who has done a short course – which is a lot like comparing someone with a first aid certificate to a paramedic. No sympathy or surprise for not getting results will be given from me! Dry needling is also performing under massage in clinical trials (here) which really says it all!
If you aren’t sure what this means, you can read up here for the facts.