Can you use acupuncture for pain? Absolutely.
The main problem with chronic pain in Western Medicine is that it is considered incurable, and that it is being caused by some structural problem (i.e. something is pushing on the sensory nerve or nerves, causing the pain). Consequently, people suffering from pain symptoms for more than 6 months are many times told they must simply live with it and seek pain “management” methods, such as pain drugs and psychological therapy. Intuitively, one knows that there is something very wrong with this picture.
There has to be a better way of treating chronic pain. And, of course, there is.
Traditional Chinese Medicine, including acupuncture and herbal medicine, offers a much more hopeful approach to the problem of chronic pain.
Let’s first look at the assumption that chronic pain has a structural cause. This assumption is just plain wrong. In fact, most chronic pain has no structural cause whatsoever. Most of the time the patient is suffering from what we call neuropathic pain. This means that the problem is in the nerve or nerves themselves and there is really no bodily object pushing on the sensory nerves.
Oddly enough, the body can lock into a chronic pattern of pain where groups of sensory and motor nerves keep firing without any direct trauma at all. This type of pain is called a sensory-motor loop and it is in fact responsible for most chronic pain that patients experience.
This is why, usually after many expensive tests, your doctor hesitantly informs you that they do not know exactly what is causing your pain, but further testing might be necessary. The bigger problem can occur when an MRI scan shows you have a back that is not “straight” and looks like a cork screw. Often the doctors then believe that your back pain must be caused by the non-ideal structure of your back, even though they do not actually see a direct neural impingement. Very often surgeries are done when the actual structural problem is illusive and the nerve impingement is not clear, and of course then the surgery fails to take the pain away. This is why a large percentage of back surgeries do not alleviate the back pain. Why?
Because the pain was because of the nerves being stuck in the sensory motor loop in the first place, and the odd shaped back was not the cause of the problem.
Acupuncture, when performed properly, will immediately reveal whether the pain is neuropathic or whether it is, in fact, structural. Why is this so? Neuropathic pain responds immediately to acupuncture and structural pain does not. If 3 or 4 acupuncture treatments fail to reduce the pain at all, even for an hour or so, then a direct neural impingement is probably causing the pain, and Western Medicine needs to take over.
In our clinic we routinely treat approximately 80 pain patients each day and well over 90% of these cases fall into the category of neuropathic pain. Quite frankly, it is uncommon for us to treat a patient that does not respond to our treatments. I would say it happens about once every two months and, of course, we refer these patients out to their doctors for further testing. In these cases it is clear that there must be something organic (i.e., structural) causing the pain.
If you are suffering from some kind of chronic discomfort and have given up hope as to its cause, please give us a call and make a consultation. We rarely treat anyone beyond 5 treatments if they do not respond. Consequently, we will not waste your time with large numbers of treatments without a significant improvement.