Acupuncture reduces pain by reducing inflammation, increasing blood circulation, and releasing endorphins. Acupuncture isn't a panacea, but it is excellent at stopping aches and pains.
Most aches and pains can be resolved with acupuncture. This isn't an exhaustive list, if you are having a pain that isn't listed please give the clinic a call.
Headaches, facial pain, trigeminal neuralgia, neck pain, shoulder pain, torn rotator cuff, elbow pain, carpal tunnel, upper back, mid-back, bra strap or band pain, low back pain, chest pain (after you have spoken to your MD), rib pain, abdominal pain due to menstrual cramping, abdominal pain due to digestive issues, glute pain, hip pain, knee pain, patella femoral syndrome, IT band syndrome, sprained ankle, foot pain, and plantar fasciitis.
Chronic pain is hard to live with, hard to talk about, and it affects life in unexpected ways. Everyone experiences pain differently and each ache and pain should be carefully self-assessed. Chronic pain can cause irritability, lost productivity, lower quality of life, and contribute to depression.
Acupuncture is amazing for resolving chronic pain. As an acupuncturist, chronic pain is something that I am passionate about treating. Most of the chronic pain that I treat is muscle pain, headaches, or uterus related.
This photo is Large Intestine Four and it is one of my favourite acupuncture points. It is excellent for resolving headaches, general body pain, and uterus related pain. You can massage this point at home or it can be part of your acupuncture treatment.
Each chronic pain is different and at Accessible Acupuncture, everyone receives a custom six to ten week health plan. Most plans include acupuncture, cupping, supplement recommendations, corrective exercises and stretches, and home care for when you need pain relief between appointments.
Acute pain is short-term pain, for example, when you stub your toe really hard. It is a pain that lasts for a few minutes to less than a few weeks and once the pain stops, it is fully resolved. This kind of pain doesn't linger and it doesn't cause issues once it is resolved.
However, when it is present, it can really hurt. Depending on the severity of the pain it might just be annoying or it might cause you to miss work, sleep, and leisure activities.
Migraines and headaches both cause head pain and can be debilitating. One is not always more painful than the other, but there are some key differences in telling them apart.
Headaches start with head pain and the location and the intensity of the pain stay about the same. It usually resolves in a few hours or it resolves quickly when an over the counter remedy is taken. Drinking more water, stretching the neck, and going for a walk can all be helpful.
Migraines have distinct phases. The first phase is where something feels different, this could be irritability, changes to energy, or feeling sleepy. This phase is called the prodrome phase because it is the lead up to the migraine. The next phase is where there can be changes to the vision called an aura. One in four people with migraines have auras. Then the attack of the migraine happens, this is the painful phase. This is also when people have nausea, light sensitivity, and throbbing one-sided head pain. The attack lasts at least several hours and can go on for days. Finally, there is the postdrome phase where there is often fatigue, confusion, or a hungover feeling. Most over the counter remedies will not stop the pain and movement makes the pain worse.
Acupuncture can be used for both headaches and migraines. Treatment is helpful before, during, or after the headache or migraine.
It can be hard to describe pain. Here are a few words to make it easier.
Stabbing: a sharp pain that often comes and goes repeatedly. E.g. menstrual pain
Aching: a dull pain that is usually constant. E.g. tension headache
Throbbing: a pain that feels worse and better to the pace of your heart. E.g. a migraine
Nauseating: a pain so severe you feel nauseous. E.g. severe abdominal pain
Cramping: a tight clenching pain that may throb or be constant. E.g. a muscle cramp
Burning: a hot pain, often associated with nerve issues or acid reflux.
Shooting pain: usually a quick pain that moves from one place to another. E.g. sciatic pain
Raw pain: usually associated with the skin or tongue, this pain is tender and sore like a sunburn.
Tight pain: a pulling pain that is better when the injury is given slack.
In addition to the descriptive words above you can also use a scale of zero to ten to describe the pain. Zero is no pain and ten is the pain so severe that you are about to become unconscious due to the severity of the pain.
When I took this photo, I had an annoying headache at the base of my head. I don't get headaches often, but when I do I try to treat them quickly. I tried to figure out what was causing the headache. Did I drink enough water? Were my neck muscles tight? Had I eaten enough for breakfast? Was I feeling stressed? I decided to have a snack, drink a huge glass of water, and to cup my neck to relax those tight muscles.
The cupping felt great and it left this dark red mark that I had for the next four days. After I was done cupping, I applied po sum on to my neck and about 10 minutes later my headache faded away. My neck muscles felt much better and I suspect the tension in my neck and shoulders caused the headache. I am very grateful that my headache resolved quickly and easily, I know many headaches are far more persistent.
Have you been having pain in your glutes? There are several causes of glute pain, but the most common is sciatic pain. Sciatic pain is a sharp shooting pain that starts in the middle of your glutes and shoots down the back of your thigh to your knee. It is often caused by a deep muscle in your glutes called the piriformis. When the piriformis becomes tight it can pinch the sciatic nerve. When pinched the sciatic nerve causes pain from your glutes all the way down the thigh to the knee. Acupuncture can loosen up the piriformis muscle to stop the pain in the glute and down the thigh. Or, if you aren't able to come for a treatment you can stretch your piriformis, sit on a tennis ball, use a foam roller on your glutes, or apply some heat.