From the Blog

Acupuncture and Pain Management

Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential damage, or described in terms of such damage. A typical pain response could be:

  • Autonomic – increase in blood pressure, heart rate, blood glucose levels, dilation of pupils, sweating.
  • Emotional – fear, anxiety
  • Reflex – withdrawal from the stimulus

There are various mechanisms of acupuncture for pain.

  • When a trigger arises, the sensory receptors on the skin travel up the spinothalamic pathway to the brain. The signals reaching the brain activate a number of structures that form the pain matrix. A response is then sent back along the spinothalamic pathway to the sensory area. Researchers believe that blocking the pain on this pathway stops the pain during acupuncture. Pain impulses are blocked from reaching the spinal cord or the brain at various ‘gates’.
  • Acupuncture also stimulates the brain’s production of endorphins which have similar chemical structures as opiates, and which reduce pain sensitivity.
  • Traditional Chinese medicine views that the body tried to keep a balance of yin and yang, and Qi and blood and when there is not enough qi or blood or when they are stuck in one area, there is imbalance of yin and yang causing the internal organs to not function optimally, leading to illness and pain. If that is the cause then bringing the body into balance eliminates pain.
  • Acupuncture has a profound impact on increasing blood circulation, decrease muscular contraction and decrease tissue swelling by drawing qi and blood to the affected area.

Acupuncture is a drug-free approach to pain management.  The benefits and results from acupuncture as a therapy for pain are well researched and documented.
Written by Sanjana Asnani R. Ac

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