Acupuncture for pain is a healthcare treatment widely practised across the UK and the world to alleviate acute and chronic pain. Chronic pain affects between one-third and one-half of the population of the UK – equivalent to about 28 million adults. Almost half of people with chronic pain have a diagnosis of depression and two-thirds of people are unable to work outside the home. Western medicine’s first response to pain is medication, often potent opioid, pregabalin and gabapentin prescriptions that present risks and sometimes suboptimal benefits to the patient.
The ancient art of acupuncture has been used in Asia for centuries to address many conditions and relieve pain. In fact acupuncture is a practice 3,500 years older than traditional Western medicine. Traditional acupuncture is based on the belief that an energy, or “life force”, flows through the body in channels called meridians. This life force is known as Qi (pronounced “chee”).
Acupuncturists accept the understanding that when Qi does not flow freely through the body, this can cause illness, therefore acupuncture can restore the flow of Qi, and so restore health and relieve pain.
A growing body of evidence-based clinical research shows that traditional acupuncture safely mitigates a wide range of common health problems.
Traditional Chinese acupuncture involves the insertion of extremely fine needles into the skin at specific “acupoints” which triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain-killing chemicals, and by affecting the part of the brain that governs serotonin, a brain chemical involved with mood.
Most people recover from pain following an injury or operation. But sometimes this pain becomes persistent or pain can start without any history of an injury or operation leading to chronic pain which can be alleviated with acupuncture.
Acupuncture can help people living with:
Acupuncture for pain can also be used as a complementary therapy to control symptoms in the treatment of cancer for example pain associated with nausea, fatigue and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.