How Acupuncture Can Relieve Chronic Pain

Dec 14, 2023
Acupuncture has a long history as a safe, effective therapy for many types of chronic pain. Best of all, it relieves pain without relying on large doses of drugs. Here, learn how acupuncture works and how it can help you find relief.

About 50 million Americans are living with chronic pain, according to data from the CDC, and about 20 million have high-impact chronic pain that limits daily activities. Although pain medicine can help many people, others find medicine largely ineffective in providing lasting relief. And many people don’t want to commit to daily doses of medicines that can cause side effects and complications. 

The team at Repair Recover Restore in White Plains and Port Chester, New York, offers an alternative: custom acupuncture treatment plans focused on helping patients of all ages find relief for chronic pain. Here, learn how acupuncture works in chronic pain management and what to expect during your treatment.

Acupuncture 101

Acupuncture has been used in medicine for about 3,000 years, yet researchers still aren’t sure how or why it works to alleviate chronic pain. They do know, though, that acupuncture helps stimulate nerve pathways, including pathways used in pain signaling.

Biochemically, acupuncture may also trigger the production and release of endogenous opiates — natural painkilling chemicals that work by preventing pain signals from reaching your brain. Optimal needle placement influences chemical pathways called calcium ion channels that block or blunt signaling action. Treatment may also work by releasing other chemicals that fight inflammation and support more rapid healing.

In addition to these biochemical reactions, acupuncture may exert a physiologic influence over pain. By creating tiny areas of “controlled damage,” tiny acupuncture needles promote circulation and simulate other natural responses that help heal tissue injuries.

Medical support

Perhaps because it’s considered an alternative treatment, acupuncture is often viewed with some skepticism. However, the beneficial effects of acupuncture have been well-established in medical literature. 

In fact, one large analysis of nearly 40 separate studies, which included more than 20,000 patients, found acupuncture was highly effective in providing meaningful relief for many types of pain, including musculoskeletal pain, arthritis, and chronic headaches.

These researchers also found that the beneficial effects of acupuncture weren’t temporary. Nearly every patient reported reduced pain at one-year follow-up visits, underscoring acupuncture’s use as a long-lasting pain therapy.

What to expect during treatment

Before your acupuncture session, our team reviews your medical history, performs a physical exam, and determines the optimal needle placement for your therapy. Our team routinely offers acupuncture for people with: 

  • Chronic headaches
  • Joint pain
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Fibromyalgia or chronic regional pain syndrome
  • Back or neck pain
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder
  • Cancer-related pain
  • Arthritis
  • Nerve-related pain

Each treatment plan is completely customized based on every patient’s specific needs. 

During your session, acupuncture needles are placed in specific anatomical locations. Those locations are determined by your symptoms, your medical history, and your unique anatomy. Heat or gentle movements can be added to enhance the stimulation of healing responses.

Although you might be a little anxious about a treatment that uses needles, the needles used in acupuncture are extremely thin — far thinner than needles used in vaccines. As a result, most people report little to no discomfort during treatment, and many find they feel quite relaxed following their therapy, as well. 

Learn how acupuncture can relieve your chronic pain

If chronic pain is taking a toll on your life and your well-being, acupuncture could be the solution you’re seeking. To learn more, request an appointment online or over the phone with the team at Repair Recover Restore today.