Acupuncture is an ancient treatment modality that is backed by thousands of years of documented success. Unfortunately, it is often used as a treatment of last resort. This is because our education is grounded in western science, which has no clear explanation for why or how acupuncture works. It is unfortunate because, in comparison to surgery and prescription painkillers, acupuncture is virtually painless, side-effect free, and imposes zero additional recovery time on the patient after each treatment session is completed.
When people do eventually come to acupuncture, they find it to be as, or more effective than other treatments they have tried so far. This is especially true for the treatment of chronic pain, inflammatory disorders, addiction, and more.
Acupuncture in Pain Management
Where this treatment modality shines is in managing pain. Acupuncture alters the way the nervous system functions, by allowing it to send fewer unnecessary pain signals to the brain. It does this by tapping into the ability of the brain and the nervous system as a whole to manage pain in healthy ways.
Consider the way a small child reacts to pain compared to an adult. When children get a bump or scrape, they often cry bitterly as if they have been badly wounded. An adult’s pain response will tend to be less pronounced. This is because an adult will know on an experiential level and an intuitive level that superficial damage is not a threat to her or his existence.
In short, our nervous systems mature as we do. Therefore, it can be said- based on long experience with the practice- that acupuncture can help our nervous system to develop more refined responses to pain.
Common Types of Painful Illnesses That are Successfully Treated Using Acupuncture
You will find that the types of pain acupuncture is best at treating are the ones that are caused by a disproportionate response of the body to injury or illness. Inflammation, for example, is what happens when the body responds to a perceived threat. But that response can be harmful if it is not properly regulated.
Damage to the gut lining and irritants in the digestive system will trigger an immune response, and causes obvious pain. Conditions like IBS result when the body cannot properly mount a well-regulated response. Acupuncture can reduce unhelpful levels of swelling in the gut.
Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat Disorders
As with gastrointestinal disorders, allergies result when an irritant is ever-present, and the body, again, mounts a poorly regulated response. Acupuncture is well suited for this type of problem.
Sometimes, hyperactive immune responses are so strong that the body’s defense systems begin to attack the body itself. Immune disorders can be devastating and sometimes painful.
Musculoskeletal And Neurological Disorders
At some point in life, everyone experiences pain caused by a musculoskeletal and/or neurological disorder. These can be caused by poor posture, injury, illness, and age. Acupuncture can help the body to refrain from delivering manic pain signals while the patient strives to heal.
Natural Alternatives to PM Sleep Medications
Sleep is a complex physical and mental state of restfulness and rehabilitation. The field of sleep disorders has become increasingly complex with more than 90 disorders of sleep described, each with clear diagnostic criteria. If you are suffering from insomnia or unable to get a good night’s rest, you are not alone. Many people turn to over-the-counter (OTC) sleeping aids and even stronger prescription medication without first considering a more natural alternative. If you are one of those people, consider this:
Antihistamines: over the counter sleeping pills including Benadryl, Aleve PM (aka Diphenhydramine), and Unisom (aka Doxylamine succinate) all contain antihistamines. Unfortunately and among other adverse reactions to antihistamines, our bodies are able to develop a tolerance to the consequent sedative effects quite quickly.
Benzodiazepines – estazolam, flurazepam (Dalmane), temazepam (Restoril), quazepam (Doral), and triazolam (Halcion) are approved by the FDA and often prescribed to treat chronic insomnia. Benzodiazepines need to be taken with caution to long term side-effects including chemical dependency, Ataxia (balance problems), loss of coordination, memory problems, slurred speech, and more.
Melatonin – Most people’s bodies produce enough melatonin for sleep on their own. The brain begins to release melatonin mid-to-late evening and continues production throughout the night.
Melatonin regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin is sold over the counter as a “dietary supplement” and is a less invasive sleep aid with fewer harmful side effects. However, studies show that melatonin is really only effective when used for the short-term treatment of insomnia — such as from jet lag or from night shift work.
Tips to help ditch the sleeping aids
- Begin to titrate off of your sleeping pills. Do this slowly and allow the body time to adapt.
- Stick to a regular schedule.
- Plan to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
- Stay active. Exercise regularly, but not within a few hours of bedtime.
- Don’t eat large meals or sugar before bed.
- Try not to nap. If you really need to nap, try to keep it short, less than 45 minutes.
- Limit caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. All of these can add to sleep problems.
- Relax. Try taking a warm bath, meditating, or reading to wind down before going to sleep.
- Consider acupuncture. Traditional Chinese Medicine (or TCM) is a centuries-old practice that has proven to be a safe, natural, and effective treatment for insomnia.
Your initial consultation is free at River Point Family Acupuncture – let’s meet in person so you can learn more about how acupuncture can benefit you! Complete this form or call (715) 716-5909 to schedule with Dr. Barbie today!