Acupuncture

for Pain + Migraines

Evidence Based Approach to Acupuncture Treatment

93% of 89,000 patients reported successful treatment for musculoskeletal pain with acupuncture (American Specialty Health 2016).

Acupuncture for pain management

Acupuncture is widely known for its effectiveness in the treatment of pain. Its unique role in reducing suffering in patients experiencing pain is one of the main reasons it has become so popular around the world. The research is plentiful on the effects of acupuncture on specific painful conditions.

For chronic pain, in the largest study of its kind to date, 454,920 patients were treated with acupuncture for headache, low back pain, and/or osteoarthritis in an open pragmatic trial. Effectiveness was rated as marked or moderate in 76% of cases by the 8,727 treating physicians.

Another study in the journal, Current Opinion in Anesthesiology, in the paper titled ‘Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: an Update and Critical Overview’ concluded that “mounting evidence supports the effectiveness of acupuncture to treat chronic low back, neck, shoulder, and knee pain, as well as headaches.

  • 93% of 89,000 patients reported successful treatment for musculoskeletal pain with acupuncture (American Specialty Health 2016) 93% 93%

DRUGS ARE NOT THE ANSWER

The efficacy of pain medication

Drugs are often prescribed to deal with a patient’s pain as a first line treatment. Yet only 23% of patients with chronic pain found opiates effective, according to a 2006 survey by the American Pain Foundation and a recent review found that opioids at guideline recommended doses were not effective for low back pain.

The first randomized study to ever evaluate the long-term effectiveness of opioid for pain relief found that those taking opioids were actually in more pain at 12-months compared to those who were on non-opioid pain relief. Find out more on the Evidence Based Acupuncture website.

Harmless, over the counter medication

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), the most commonly used medications in the world,14 are another commonly prescribed first-line treatment for pain. However, a recent study of over 440,000 patients found that using any NSAID, including over the counter drugs like Ibuprofen, for even a short period of time was associated with an increased risk of acute heart attack, even in healthy people.15 In the UK, the annual cost of treating gastrointestinal harms caused by NSAID’s was £166-£367 million per year in 1999 and the number of patients on these has stayed the same, at around 7.5% of the overall population. Quoted from Evidence Based Acupuncture website.

Acupuncture for Migraines + Tension Headaches

Headaches are one of the most common complaints in clinical practice, affecting about 80% of the UK. Acupuncture is now offered on the NHS for migraines (NICE) as it has been proven to be significantly better than no treatment/basic care for managing migraine, and appears to be at least as effective as prophylactic drug therapy, with no contraindications or unpleasant side effects.

NICE concludes that acupuncture is the only proven method to prevent tension-type headaches and migraine and that doctors should prescribe a course of up to ten sessions over 5–8 weeks.

As well as prevention it may also be used to alleviate symptoms in acute attacks. New evidence also shows that acupuncture can increase coping mechanisms as well as relieve the primary migraine symptoms.

How Acupuncture works for pain

The mechanisms underlying how acupuncture is so effective for treating pain have been researched extensively for over 60 years.

While there is still much left to learn about acupuncture mechanisms and the human body in general, the neural pathways from acupuncture point stimulation, to the spinal cord to the deactivation of the pain centers in the brain have been mapped.24 25

Acupuncture has been demonstrated to activate a number of the body’s own opioids as well as improving the brain’s sensitivity to opioids.26 A number of other biochemicals involved in pain reduction have been found to be released or regulated by acupuncture stimulation, including ATP and adenosine, GABA and substance P.27

Acupuncture VS Pain Medication

In the context of ineffective and often dangerous pharmaceutical options for pain, acupuncture represents a safe and effective alternative with a long track-record of successful use.

Acupuncture for osteoarthritis + Lower back pain

Osteoarthritis + Knee Pain | After a life-time of fun and activity, our joints are put under pressure and inevitably suffer some wear and tear. This can lead to aching knees that affect your sleep or a lack of mobility when walking up and down stairs. Osteoarthritis is the primary cause of this pain, inflammation and stiffness, making it hard to flex and extend your knee.

In a bid to avoid over prescription of pain medication, a lot of time and money has gone in to research about the benefits of acupuncture in managing osteoarthritic pain.

No two patients are treated alike. Some patients find relief with needles alone. Others need a more involved technique, such as electro-acupuncture. It can also be used safely alongside your pain medication. 

Lower back pain | This is the UK’s leading cause of disability and one of the main reasons for work-related sickness absence.

Acupuncture is now available on the NHS for back pain as it has been found to be particularly useful as an adjunct to conventional care, for patients with more severe symptoms and for those wishing to avoid conventional medication.

 

Advice for Knee Pain

If you have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in the knee, don’t ice it! You might notice that your knee pain gets worse with cold and damp weather. This is because the condition is degenerative and the pain is chronis, it’s not an acute injury whereby the ice would help reduce the swelling.

Even though the pain may feel hot in nature, apply regular warmth to help stimulate lots of blood flow to the area. Hot, epsom salts baths are also fantastic to reduce internal inflammation and help lubricate the joint.

Acupuncture for Sports Injuries

Sports Injuries + Performance | With Sheffield being the outdoor capital of the UK, it is not surprising that sprains, strains and arthritic conditions from cold weather and over-use are so common.

The aim of Acupuncture is to relieve pain, control inflammation and accelerate repair, improving muscle stiffness and joint mobility. Also restoring muscle function and recovery of muscle power. It can often provide relief from: tendinopathy, knee ligament injuries, rotator cuff injuries, frozen shoulder, tennis and golfer’s elbow, shin splints, stress fractures, hamstring injuries and plantar fasciitis.

Acupuncture may give you the “slight edge” in sports performance. My aim is to get you back into action, performing at the top of your game.

Pelvic + Bladder Pain

PMT, period pains, endometriosis or PCOS, fertility, pregnancy and menopause are all manifestations of the female experience and a system of medicine such as acupuncture can treat at root level rather than masking the symptoms with medication, thus re-establishing hormonal balance in the woman’s cycle.

It can be life changing for some women to be able to reduce or eliminate symptoms genealogical pain from their life, enabling them to feel much more at ease throughout their monthly cycle.

Painful periods are addressed with the stimulation of acupuncture points which strongly move the uterine blood flow, this can help to relax the uterus reducing the contractions which cause painful cramps as well as clearing away old blood.

Overtime, many women report that their menstrual blood changes from a darker red to a brighter colour with a regular and balanced flow.

Painful Bladder Syndrome + IC | Acupuncture is a documented complementary therapy for treating IC. This is how Kimberley got into acupuncture herself. Read her story here.

Acupuncture may help in the treatment of cystitis by:

  • reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Kim 2008, Kavoussi 2007, Zijstra 2003);reducing pain and swelling (Lorenzini 2010)
  • improving bladder irritation by inhibition of capsaicin-sensitive C-fibre activation (Hino 2010).

 

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