Acupuncture

Treating Pain Without Medication – Part 3: Acupuncture

 

A lot of the press surrounding the opioid epidemic has focused on providing marijuana as an alternative solution.  While this idea is certainly to be considered with the sensationalism and controversy that marijuana brings to the media, other ideas and solutions have not been given as much attention.  While acupuncture itself is not a cure to chronic pain, there is a lot of medical evidence that acupuncture can help in both pain and the mental aspects that create perpetuation of chronic pain in brain.

A recent while paper published by A.F. Fan et.al. in the Journal of Integrative Medicine (https://doi.org/10.1016/S2095-4964(17)60378-9), the author lays out the framework of how acupuncture can be used to solve the opioid epidemic.  One of the ways acupuncture is thought to work on pain is by stimulating the nerves that lower pain in our bodies.  Our nervous system in it wisdom has created a break on pain. Regular acupuncture can put the brakes on this pain.

Another aspect of acupuncture healing is its ability to work on the parasympathetic nervous system. It is believed that acupuncture stimulates the parasympathetic, rest and digest, part of our bodies.  This system helps to calm the effect stress has on our bodies.  Stress magnifies pain in our bodies, so by reducing stress and the chemicals it produces in our bodies we can reduce pain.

Another fascinating aspect of acupuncture and pain is that acupuncture is thought to create direct changes in the brain thought the nervous system.  Too much attention is often focused at the periphery when it comes to pain, but changes in our brain often perpetuate the chronic pain response. Techniques such have scalp acupuncture have shown emerging clinical evidence that acupuncture can create positive changes in different sensory and motor areas of the brain.

Acupuncture is certainly not a “cure all”.  These biggest downside of acupuncture is that it often takes a commitment to a good amount of visits to create a lasting change in your body when you have a condition that has been become chronic.  Despite what most have experienced in Western Medicine, the needles are extremely small and when inserted virtually pain free. Also, there are many different styles of acupuncture, so even if you have tried it before in the past and not been successful, it may be reasonable to try it again with another practitioner. Consider including acupuncture not only as another tool powerful at reducing pain circuits and energizing healing pathways in the body, but for personal and emotional self-care, as well.

Optimize Your Health, Simplify Your Life,

Dr Sharyl Truty MD

 

Sharyl Truty

Dr Sharyl Truty MD is board certified in Family Practice and Sports Medicine and has completed a physicians course at UCLA Helms Acupuncture Training and Certification as well as acupuncture training in China.  If you would like to schedule an appointment with Dr Sharyl Truty, please call 904.930.4774 and ask about the New Patient Special, 3 visits for $199, available at Balanced Physician Care.

Twitter: @DrTruty

“Sticking It” to Injuries

I have treated multiple athletes and weekend warriors with injuries. In the past, I would often describe traditional therapies for acute injuries, such as intermittent icing, wound compression and the use of anti-inflammatory agents.

However, recent research by the Academy of Sports Medicine suggests we may have over-treated injuries with excessive use of anti-inflammatory agents such as ibuprofen.

The concern is that in trying to control swelling, we may actually impede the bodies' natural response to heal. However, it's important to note that excessive swelling could be harmful if it causes pain or decreases blood flow. There are also the potential side effects that can occur from anti-inflammatory agents such as ulcers, internal bleeding and kidney dysfunction.

With this in mind, I decided to change my tactic for treating many athletic injuries. For the last 10 years, I have turned to acupuncture. Most people believe that acupuncture only offers pain relief. This is true, but, more importantly, acupuncture helps facilitate injury repair and wound healing by accessing energy pathways called meridians. The placement of the acupuncture needles on these pathways improves energy flow, which speeds healing.

I am continually amazed at the responses in my patients who use acupuncture. I have treated multiple athletes who have sustained acute strains and sprains with acupuncture. They returned to exercise in almost half the time it normally takes. The beauty of acupuncture is that there are little, if any, potential side effects.

Acupuncture is also a great treatment for chronic musculoskeletal issues like tendonitis, bursitis and arthritis by improving energy flow over these inflamed regions. Again, the common treatment has been prescribing anti-inflammatory medication and, if that is not successful, steroid injections. These have serious potential side effects, including possible tendon rupture. With acupuncture, healing is facilitated without a medication which makes it a "natural" remedy.

Additionally, it should be noted that acupuncture can also be useful for energy replacement. This is a concept that is difficult to comprehend from a typical Western eye, but many Eastern medical therapies (such as acupuncture) are designed to reinvigorate an individual and help with excessive fatigue. As every athlete knows, it is imperative to have as much energy as possible to reach your peak performance.

It is important to note that an individual needs to be ruled out for obvious causes of fatigue such as anemia, uncontrolled blood sugar, and low thyroid or overtraining syndrome before using acupuncture for energy replacement.

Acupuncture may not be for everyone, especially those with a needle phobia. Consult your physician and consider acupuncture therapy for the treatment of the following injuries:

Acute strains and sprains
Acute and chronic arthritis
Tendonitis and bursitis
Low back pain
Low energy

 

Dr Sharyl Truty MD is board certified in Family Practice and Sports Medicine and has completed a physicians course at UCLA Helms Acupuncture Training and Certification as well as acupuncture training in China.  If you would like to schedule an appointment with Dr Sharyl Truty, please call 904.930.4774 and ask about the New Patient Special, 3 visits for $199, available at Balanced Physician Care.

Sources:

Acupuncture: "Sticking it" to Injuries
By Stephen Brewer, MD, AAFP

Menu
 

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)