Acupuncture and Pain

    A thorn in your side, the crick in your neck, a nagging shoulder.  There are many inventive ways to describe pain in the body, and as long as we’ve been around, we’ve had pain reminding us we’re alive.  At an early age we’re all taught that pain is a way of life, however it was later on where I realized just because pain is common, doesn’t mean pain is mandatory.  

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    Through my journey exploring the western medical system and going pursuing a career in acupuncture and eastern medicines I have been able to help people find ways to manage and, in some cases, eliminate their pain.  Yes, there are many factors to consider (such as proper nutrition, movement, and relaxation practices) when healing your body; sometimes your body needs a little help and this is a spotlight on how acupuncture fits in.

    In a nutshell, Acupuncture supports and optimizes your body’s ability to heal.  Acupuncture has been a very effective way to manage and control pain levels and support your healing process.  There are many factors to consider when you start on your journey towards good health.

    Acupuncture promotes circulation in the body and ensures that the body can properly distribute helpful nutrients to the body, remove waste products, and allow different systems to communicate and coordinate with each other.  Injuries, stress, and lack of movement can all impact the body’s ability to circulate. Usually the body can adjust and get the job done just fine but there are cases where the body needs some extra help. By stimulating certain areas of the body, acupuncture can guide the healing process to make sure certain areas are addressed first.  Once your body starts to circulate better, you’ll notice your body is more relaxed. You’ll be able to release the breath you didn’t realize you were holding, your shoulders will stop trying to make friends with your earlobes, and you may even grow a few inches after you realize your posture was resembling Golem from Lord of the Rings.

    One big difference I have noticed between alternative medicines and the traditional Western approach is how we view and treat pain.  The Western model is based on decreasing inflammation and pain levels through anti-inflammatory medication and pain relievers. This approach can be effective in the short-term while the body heals from an initial injury, but what happens when the pain doesn’t go away? When surgery doesn’t fix the problem?  What if, the testing shows everything is normal, despite you reporting pain? These are situations I encounter with my patients every day.

    Chronic, or long-term, pain has commonly been met with chronic pain medication use contributing to the culture of dependence and addiction not to mention the breakdown and negative impact on the body.  One huge problem pain medications creates is that it mutes the body’s ability to tell you there is a problem (through pain) and doesn’t actually address the problem. It’s like putting cardboard over a pothole, it covers it up, but good luck when it rains.  

    Acupuncture, and other whole-body approaches, looks at why there is pain and addresses the root of the problem.  We have the valuable ability to address the pain, while working behind the scenes to support your body’s ability to heal.  Though popping a pill may give you faster relief in the short-term, if your body isn’t given the time and support to heal, you’ll be sacrificing much more in the end.

    The big takeaway here is acupuncture is a powerful tool to use to support your body while it heals.  Through regulating movement and communication in your body, it makes sure all systems are ‘rowing in the same direction’, towards an overall healthier life.  Take the time to listen to what your body is saying and it’ll tell you how to fix it. In the beginning, you may just need a translator.