Chronic pain is an increasingly common ailment or condition and most often patients are suffering from lower back pain, general joint or arthritis pain or neck pain. It’s estimated that 26% of Americans suffer from chronic pain, compared to 7% that have diabetes, 6% with heart disease and less than 2% diagnosed with cancer. For those living with chronic pain, neck pain is the third most common cause, according to a survey conducted by the National Institute of Health Statistics.
There are many causes for neck pain. The Mayo Clinic has some great online resources and information about what can lead to neck pain, including muscle strains, worn joints, nerve compression, injuries and diseases.
Physicians and researchers have also been conducting studies to test the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating chronic neck pain. The results have been compelling. A 2001 study showed that acupuncture was effective in relieving neck pain and improving range of motion. In a 2004 study, the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating chronic neck pain was evaluated in 153 patients. Nearly 70% of those patients had a successful outcome from acupuncture, reporting an improvement in pain of at least 50%.
So, while having chronic neck pain can be…well, a pain in the neck, acupuncture can make a significant difference. A licensed acupuncturist or practitioner of TCM can help develop a plan that is customized for you and eases that ache.
While some of us marvel at all the new flowers and trees in bloom, others suffer from hay fever—an allergic reaction to pollen and mold that flourishes with the arrival of spring, summer, and fall. Itchy eyes, a runny nose, sneezing, and other hay-fever symptoms may have you running to the drugstore for relief. But hay fever natural remedies and herbs can also offer some help.
Based on traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is one of the oldest healing practices, but it’s still relatively new to Western medicine. By inserting the tip of very thin needles into specific points on the body, acupuncture aims to restore the body’s flow of energy, thought to affect a variety of health problems, including how the immune system responds to allergies.
Recent studies show some promise on hay fever with acupuncture. For example, a small study compared adult patients who received weekly acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine with patients who unknowingly had fake acupuncture. It found that the real acupuncture and Chinese-herb patients noticed that the severity of their hay fever was significantly less pronounced and that their quality of life was significantly improved. And in another small study of children who were treated twice a week with real vs. sham acupuncture for seasonal allergy symptoms, the children who received the real treatment had fewer symptoms.
First and foremost, prevention. This is the number one reason for trying acupuncture and although it’s not the most common reason to try it. Most people try acupuncture for the first time because they have some kind of ailment such as pain, digestive distress, or emotional imbalance. Acupuncture can and should be looked at as preventative medicine, instead of waiting to get a diagnosis of a specific condition. An acupuncturist is be able to detect much more subtle imbalances in your system and work to correct them.
• Acupuncture can be used to offset stress and the effects of aging. Research proves that neglected stress can wreak havoc on our bodies and minds, leading to all kinds of ailments ranging from digestive distress, painful periods, chronic pain, hormonal imbalances, allergies, blood pressure and sugar imbalances, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and fatigue. Cosmetically speaking, wrinkled skin, grey hairs, thin hair, and dark circles under the eyes are no strangers to the extremely stressed body. Acupuncture has been proven to help offset these adverse effects and can help promote a more youthful energetic self.
• Acupuncture can help you understand your body and mind better. Acupuncture is not just all about tiny needles. In addition to being treated with acupuncture to help regulate your system, most practitioners offer dietary and lifestyle suggestion that may help you make the changes you want to see in your life.
The next time you have trouble sleeping, difficulty concentrating, consider seeing an acupuncturist which might detect subtle imbalances that could be leading to those distressing symptoms. Furthermore, acupuncturists are trained to treat not only the “symptoms” but the “root causes,” which means making changes on deep fundamental levels of your being.
Filed under Acupuncture, Back pain, Chronic pain, Cosmetic acupucnture, Depression, Digestive problems, Facial acupuncture, Facial rejuvenation acupuncture, Fatigue, Headache, Hot flashes, Insomnia, Menopause, Neck pain, Pain relief, Shoulder pain
In a recent study, Duke researchers found that acupuncture is more effective than medication in reducing the severity and frequency of chronic headaches after reviewing the results of 31 studies. Of the studies comparing acupuncture to medication, the researchers found that 62 percent of the acupuncture patients reported headache relief compared to only 45 percent of people taking medication. Correct technique is important as well. Sham acupuncture, which was done on parts of the body not associated with the ancient Chinese principles, was less effective than traditional acupuncture.