Acupuncture for Pain Management

Pain ranges from mild, localized discomfort to agony: it has both physical and emotional components. It may be contained to a discrete area, as in an injury, or it can be more diffuse, as in disorders like fibromyalgia. Behind the scenes, specific nerve fibers mediate pain and carry impulses to the brain. Similarly, pain is present in various conditions such as back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, knee pain, menstrual pain, and headaches, including migraines. Acupuncture for pain management is always a first line treatment for the treatment of pain and/or the underlying condition when appropriate.

How Does Acupuncture Work For Pain Relief?

Acupuncture treatments work on two fronts: treating the root causes of the pain and alleviating the pain itself. Pain relief with acupuncture comes from inactivating the source of pain by modulating endorphin levels. Needling affects the cerebrospinal fluid concentrations of the naturally-occurring opiate substances acting at the spinal level or within the brain.

  • Natural Opioid Substances Activation – needling increases circulation and relaxes tense muscles.
  • Local Blood Flow – acupuncture increases local blood flow to the painful area.
  • Corticosteroid Release – needling stimulates vascular and immuno-modulatory factors, including those of local inflammation.

Additionally, acupuncture shows promise as a complementary therapy to control symptoms in the treatment of cancer and cancer induced pain. In fact, oncologists use acupuncture to treat the pain, fatigue, nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. I have completed six months of residency at the Disney Cancer Center in Burbank.

Botanicals & Pain

Chinese herbology addresses pain by first diagnosing and treating the root of the pain. In addition, herbal products support pain relief whether pain is due to trauma, acute or chronic disease. In this context, we use several types of products:

  • Patent formulas – they target common pain types such as headaches, sore throat, knee pain.
  • Custom formulas – no two patients and pain manifestations and type are alike. This is why our dispensary prepares custom formulas for each case.
  • Patches & Ointments – various products are available to treat pain externally for joint, muscular or tendon pain. We carry also very effective CBD ointments.

Finally, please make sure you inform me about all medications you take as some herbs are contra-indicated with certain pharmaceuticals. Also let me know of religious and spiritual factors that I should consider in your pain management treatment plan.

Did You Know That…

The Joint Commission issued a mandate in relation to opioids requesting that proactive steps to encourage health care providers to prioritize non-opioid pain management options, including acupuncture. The US opioid epidemic brings acupuncture to the forefront as an alternative to painkillers.

What About Ear Acupuncture For Pain?

Ear acupuncture is a viable alternative to existing fast-acting pain relief methods. For instance, it can be an easier treatment to adjust to and can also be self-administered at home. Also the US Army adopted the Battle Field Acupuncture protocol for trauma. Finally, auricular acupuncture has been used in the emergency department for analgesia. Ask us if it is suitable for you!

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Dr Arno Kroner