Living with pain is debilitating. Regardless of whether the pain is chronic or acute, having physical discomfort drastically affects a person’s quality of life. Understanding the causes and symptoms of different types of pain can help you get the best treatments to find relief. You don’t have to live with your discomfort forever.
Pain is generally described by its location. Acupuncture can help to reduce or eliminate the symptoms associated with all types of pain – from muscle pain to golfer’s and tennis elbow, from back to shoulder pain to sciatica to fibromyalgia. Acupuncture can help, without drugs, without side effects. According to the different diagnosis and individual condition, I’ll also give some herbal medicine and may do bloodletting with your consent. Massage, cupping, moxibustion and Gua Sha are the methods that I often use to assist pain relief.
Acupuncture treats joint pain
Joint pain is a condition that many people experience at some point. Joints are where two bones intersect, and are supported by other types of tissues — tendons, ligaments, cartilage. All these together allow movement and flexibility. Painful joints can result when direct injury, inflammation, infection, or degeneration (as in “arthritis” which is a fancy word that simply means inflammation of the joints) affects any of these components.
Some causes of joint pain can affect any or all joints — the elbow, hip, knee, or shoulder. These causes include arthritis, tendonitis, and bursitis. Other diagnoses are specific to certain joints but may have counterparts in the others. For example, Jumper’s Knee is a form of tendonitis, which can occur in any joint.
It’s important to note that Lyme disease, which is caused by a bacteria carried by ticks, can cause joint pain. If the discomfort moves from one joint to another or is accompanied by rash or flu-like symptoms, then you should be tested for Lyme disease and not just treat the pain symptoms.
Acupuncture treats muscle pain, too
Muscle pain often follows strenuous exercise, or muscle pain can be a result of stress, poor posture or ergonomics (the way you move). At some point in their life, everyone has had a stressful day, followed by a night of restless sleep, and then woke up with a crick in their neck. Neck tension and pain in your neck is one of the most common conditions treated by Chinese medicine. Acupuncture has great effect to muscle pain and I usually give all patients Tui Na Massage. I’ll apply cupping, Gua Sha, give rehabilitation exercise instruction or other Chinese Medicine treatments according to the client’s condition.
How does Chinese Medicine / acupuncture treat pain?
The body is covered by a network of acupuncture meridians like the highways that criss-cross the country. In fact, there are five levels of meridians covering the body, ranging from superficial to deep. When the Qi circulating in the meridians at any level becomes blocked, pain is created.
Chinese medicine treats the symptoms associated with pain by removing these blockages to allow the Qi to move freely. Acupuncture is said to course the Qi through the meridians. I also have herbal medicine that stops pain. Tui na massage works to stop pain by relaxing muscles and adjusting bone disorders, encouraging the flow of blood and lymph, and calming the mind (pain also affects one’s mental state). Using adjunct therapies like moxibustion, cupping and gua sha to help treat aches and other discomfort can be helpful in certain instances.
When I first start seeing a patient for any kind of pain, I encourage two or three times a week treatments. After there’s relief in pain symptoms, weekly treatments can help consolidate the pain relief we achieved with the initial intensive course of pain treatments.
What kinds of pain does acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture treats a wide range of pain conditions, like:
- back and neck
- hip (arthritis and sciatica)
- In the knee (runner’s knee, arthritis, bursitis)
- In the ankle and foot (sprained ankle, Morton’s neuroma, bunion)
- In the shoulder (frozen shoulder, capsulitis, tendinitis)
- Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
- In the elbow (tennis and golfer’s elbow)
- In the wrist and hand (carpal tunnel, arthritis, trigger finger, De Quervain’s tenosynovitis)
- Headache and migraine
- In the jaw and TMJ
- Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome
- Trigeminal neuralgia
- Post-herpetic neuralgia