Acupuncture for Pain Relief

With opioid addiction on the rise, the need for alternative pain relief solutions is more critical than ever. Acupuncture is a safe, natural, and proven treatment for pain, and may very well be the weapon we need to win the battle against the opioid epidemic.

Opioids don’t include just illegal drugs like heroin, but legal prescription drugs such as fentanyl, oxycodone hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and others.

Doctors judiciously prescribed opioids for pain relief until the 1990s, when the paradigm shifted and by 1999 opioid addiction emerged as a major health threat.

By 2017, the prescription rate for opioids is triple the rate it was in 1999, and four times what it is in most European countries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), prescription opioids killed nearly 180,000 people from 2000-2015.

A Natural Alternative to Opioids

Using acupuncture for pain relief eradicates the root cause of the pain problem, rather than just masking it with drugs. Research shows that acupuncture is a more effective treatment for pain because it utilizes the body’s natural mechanisms for pain management—stimulating the body’s production of “endogenous pain killers”— without causing serious side effects. The worst side effect is an occasional bruise.

Studies show that acupuncture can also help treat the pain associated with:

  • Low back problems
  • Chronic conditions
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Digestive disorders
  • Premenstrual issues

How Acupuncture for Pain Relief Works

Acupuncturists work with the flow of qi through your body. Qi, or chi as it’s sometimes called, is the life force energy that travels through the body’s connective tissue along 14 designated energy pathways called meridians. These meridians and the acupuncture points on them are connected to every muscle, nerve, tendon, organ, and blood vessel in the body.

According to acupuncture theory, illness and pain occur when the flow of qi in your body becomes blocked. To get the qi flowing again and ease the pain, acupuncturists insert tiny, pre-sterilized needles, about ¼ millimeter wide, at specific acupuncture points. Stimulating acupuncture points spurs the release of a substance called nitric oxide (NO) at the acupuncture site. NO, in turn, signals the release of natural painkillers in your body. NO also dilates your blood vessels. Subsequently, blood pressure is lowered and blood flows more freely allow you own body to overcome your pain.