Using acupuncture to treat pain is what we do. No matter what a patient comes in for as their primary concern, we inevitably include points for a tense upper back or headaches, a foot that aches or what we call “computer arms” (tendonitis near the elbow). Pain is a part of our modern lives but thankfully you have acupuncturists just a phone call away!
There are quite a few ways we can address pain, depending on how long you’ve had it and the exact nature of the problem itself. A herniated disc will get different treatment than say, sciatica or a post-surgery knee. The points that we choose and the depth and technique that are applied all matter a great deal in getting results. For instance, sometimes we need to treat the muscles and do deeper needling into trigger points like you see in dry needling. Other times the needling is much more precise and adding moxibustion to warm the needles or electro-stimulation is more effective. We also add cupping when appropriate to lift the skin and fascia and allow for more circulation and healing.
Did we mention that all of these techniques are comfortable? One thing we always try to do is make sure our treatments feel good. The warmth of moxibustion is heavenly on sore aching joints. Cupping is like a massage and at times we’ll do it just to relax someone who is stressed and tense. Electro-stimulation sounds painful but the sensation is actually very gentle.
This ongoing case illustrates a common treatment plan:
A 35 year old woman presents with chronic but severe neck pain. It began about 3 months prior to her first visit, after working long hours at her computer under high stress conditions at work. She was having trouble with range of motion – couldn’t turn her head to the right without pain. She also experienced TMJ and headaches in conjunction with the tightness in her neck. In an effort to avoid taking too much ibuprofen which hurt her stomach, she was searching for another way to deal with the pain.
The treatment plan was acupuncture with electro-stimulation once per week for 8 weeks. Points included were along the back of her neck and upper back with a couple distal points on the feet and hands. After the fourth acupuncture treatment she noticed a lot of improvement in her pain level and range of motion. By the eighth visit she was doing quite well, pain free and restored range of motion that would hint at coming back but always improved with a good nights sleep. We switched to acupuncture every other week for four more visits and then she has continued once/month for a year. Because she can’t avoid using her computer and working some long hours, this maintenance of once/month keeps her feeling good and she has avoided any type of relapse.