The management of pain is turning into big business in America and across the globe. In the United States, acute and chronic pain syndromes rank right behind heart disease and cancer as the third most common healthcare problem. The cost of lost work days, hospital stays, pain-reducing drugs and disability payments totals over $100 billion annually.
Pain is the body’s warning alarm according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Nothing in the human body can function independently. The pain alerts the person to the fact that something is wrong somewhere. To ignore the pain is to open the door to more severe problems that can soon form.
Long lasting pain often creates a chronic pain cycle. The pain leads to reduced exercise, limited physical activity, fatigue, stress, muscle tension, tightness, cramping, and nerve sensitivity. Patients who suffer the symptoms of this cycle often feel that the quality of their entire life changes completely due to their chronic pain condition.
Clinical studies have shown that Acupuncture can be an effective treatment for all types of pain conditions. Conditions like migraines, neck/back pain, herniated disc, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel, tendonitis, arthritis and even cancer pain have been helped with Acupuncture. Researchers have confirmed beneficial immune and endocrine changes as a result. Acupuncture has been proven to increase endorphin production, which helps to reduce pain.
According to TCM, all human body functions are dependent on the life energy force known as Qi. Both Qi and blood flow through the body to nourish and protect tissues and help them to maintain their functions. If Qi and blood are blocked in some fashion, areas affected by the reduced flow will not get the needed oxygen, nutrition and energy and will begin to break down with the body functioning less and less well.
An acupuncturist recognizes pain in a joint or organ as the warning that helps to locate the cause in a particular area of the body. He will not usually focus so much on the local pain as much as working to rebalance and harmonize the whole body. Generally speaking, by relieving blood and Qi stagnation, the acupuncturist works to nourish tissues, increase circulation, increase oxygen and rebuild deficiencies in organs.
There is an old saying in TCM: There is blockage, there is pain. Otherwise, there is no pain.” These are pretty simple words to live by in addressing pain management.