January 2023 Update
Acupuncture At A Glance
What Is Acupuncture?
During acupuncture, hair-like needles are inserted into specific points in the body to achieve various therapeutic effects. One of its effects is the release of tight muscles, making it easier for patients to move. Acupuncture also stimulates the release of certain hormones in the brain, providing benefits for some medical conditions.
Conditions Acupuncture Can Treat
One of the conditions treated by acupuncture is pain. Acupuncture has a profound effect on pain. It causes the brain to release some of the body’s natural pain relievers. That makes it a way to get pain relief without taking any pills. And it can be used for pain that exists in one area of the body (called local pain) or pain that is more widespread (systemic or chronic pain).
For chronic pain, you get a beneficial effect because you’re altering the brain chemistry. This has been supported by research using MRI images. When you induce pain, certain pain centers in the brain light up on functional MRIs. When you insert the needle into the patient, they turn off.
In addition to traditional body acupuncture, there are specific microsystems utilized in acupuncture. These microsystems are very effective at controlling pain. Acupuncture administered to the head (called scalp acupuncture) can be beneficial for treating neurological and psychological conditions, even helping to resolve addictions. Acupuncture performed on the ear (auricular acupuncture) can help you stop smoking and ease withdrawal from drugs. Acupuncture also works very well for people who experience post-chemotherapy neuropathy. In fact, most cancer institutes have incorporated acupuncture as part of their treatment programs.
Acupuncture vs. Dry Needling: What’s the Difference?
Sometimes acupuncture is confused with dry needling, but they aren’t the same thing. In dry needling, the needles are longer and placed based on myofascial trigger points, which are the same trigger points targeted in some cases when patients get a cortisone shot, for instance.
What to Expect
One concern that many have is, “Does acupuncture hurt?” Not if it’s done properly. The needles used for acupuncture are much smaller than those used for injections—or about the thickness of a hair. That allows them to enter the body without causing the same discomfort you might experience when getting a shot.
Combining Acupuncture and Chiropractic
While acupuncture and chiropractic services are two different treatments, they can be used together to potentially provide greater benefit. Acupuncture may even help when progress with chiropractic has stalled, or vice versa.
Call SOSR today to see how combining chiropractic and acupuncture can help boost your healing!