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Pain and acupuncture

Pain and acupuncture

Shoulder pain, back pain, neck pain, hernia, lumbago, etc, as well as tennis elbow, golf elbow, RSI, hip pain, knee pain, limb pain, joint pain, body pain, stomach, head or chest pain; sooner or later everyone will experience physical pain. What not everyone knows is that acupuncture and Tui Na massage are very effective means of dealing with acute or chronic pain.

What is pain?
Regular medical research has discovered and assumes that pain signals are transmitted by specialized cells of the nervous system. These specialized cells are present in the skin and other body tissues. They respond to injury, inflammation, or tissue damage. Once activated, they send a signal to the nervous system that carries the signal through the spinal cord to the brain, where it is interpreted as pain.

Chinese medicine has a different view of pain. In a healthy body there is a balance between Yin and Yang and between Qi and blood. Qi and blood flow freely and abundantly through the body and meridians. If there is not enough Qi and blood, or if Qi and blood stagnate in a certain area, an imbalance occurs in the body so that the organs no longer function optimally and disease and pain are the result.

The essence of the Chinese view of pain, regardless of where it is located or what caused it in the first place, is expressed in the well-known Chinese expression: “Tong ze bu tong, bu tong ze tong”. Which means as much as: “If there is free flow (of Qi and Blood), there is no pain; If there is no free flow, then there is pain.” The treatment will therefore always focus on restoring the free flow of Qi and Blood, which reduces or eliminates the pain. This principle applies not only to physical pain, but also to emotional pain.

Acupuncture and Pain
What can you expect from an acupuncture treatment regarding pain?

Eliminating the pain or giving as much relief as possible
Reducing the pain level
Improving coping with the pain
Regulating the emotions (Regardless of the cause of especially chronic pain, feelings of frustration, anger and fear can intensify the pain.)
More energy
Be able to perform more daily activities
Improving quality of life
Reducing dependence on medication
According to the theory of Chinese medicine, acupuncture points are connected to organs and specific areas of the body. In the case of pain, the aim of the treatment is to select points on the meridians that activate the Qi and blood circulation in the affected area and balance the Yin and Yang. Acupressure (the massaging of points) and moxa are also used during the treatment.

There are many different treatments for pain. It is always necessary to look for the treatment that best suits the situation. For example, the treatment of acute or chronic complaints often differs. In acute pain, acupuncture provides rapid relief or elimination of the pain in almost all cases and promotes a speedy recovery. In chronic pain, the focus will initially be on relieving the pain, strengthening the affected area and addressing the underlying causes.

At practice De Witte Os, a personal treatment plan is made to relieve and solve pain complaints.

During an intake interview, the nature of the pain complaints is discussed in more detail and some additional diagnostic questions are asked. In combination with the pulse and tongue diagnosis, this creates a good picture of the current situation and a personal treatment plan is drawn up.

Are you curious about how acupuncture can help you? Then make an appointment for an intake interview.

Research on acupuncture and pain
The view from traditional Chinese medicine is different from the western or regular medical view. As more and more people use Chinese medicine, there are also more and more people who want to know how Chinese medicine works. This can be done by delving into the theory and principles of Chinese medicine such as Yin and Yang, the 5 elements, 6 divisions, etc. Another way is to look at Chinese medicine from a Western perspective and try to explain how it is viewed in the Western world. may Chinese medicine work.

For example, scientists in collaboration with Chinese doctors in China and other countries have been trying to find out why acupuncture is such an effective treatment for pain since the 1970s. Various scientific studies and clinical trials have been carried out for this purpose. The results seem to support the theories of traditional Chinese medicine. The World Health Organization (WHO) has now also compiled a list of conditions in which acupuncture is a proven effective treatment method (click here for an overview). The most common western theories regarding pain and acupuncture are listed here.

Pain impulses travel along meridians
The first theory is that most pain impulses follow the same path as the Qi circulation (i.e. along the meridians). It is an objective fact that pain is always transmitted along certain pathways. These routes are closely related to the meridian theory of Chinese medicine.

Pain-gate theory
Another theory suggests that pain impulses are blocked by acupuncture from reaching the spinal cord or brain at various “gates” in the nervous system. Research studies have shown that both the peripheral and central nerves are very important in pain relief through acupuncture.

Stimulation of endorphins
A third theory suggests that acupuncture stimulates the brain’s production of polypeptides that reduce pain sensitivity. Scientists have discovered that one of the possible mechanisms is that acupuncture increases the release of natural pain-relieving molecules known as endorphins by the brain. These are very similar to opiates (such as morphine), which are powerful pain relievers.

Acupuncture thus achieves its effect by working with the body’s own chemicals, instead of adding synthetic chemicals. This approach has several advantages over chemical composition drugs.

(Source: freely translated from Sun Pei Lin, Treatment of pain with Chinese Herbs and Acupuncture, Elsevier Limited, 2002)