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Friday, December 16, 2011

The Benefits of Acupuncture in the Treatment of Pain and Other Ailments

By Peter Robbins

Acupuncture and pain relief

For most people, acupuncture is not a topic that is likely to come up in a normal discussion and it's unlikely that they would know much about the subject of acupuncture anyway.

However, for those of us who have suffered bouts of severe pain of any sort for which we cannot find a cure, acupuncture may represent a last chance to obtain relief.

That applies to the types of pain that has not been alleviated after visits to doctors, or by taking prescribed medications or over-the-counter pain pills, or by chiropractic treatment or physiotherapy, some of which themselves can perhaps prolong the episodes of pain, not to mention their out of pocket costs.

So what is acupuncture and what are the benefits of acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a primary treatment technique used in traditional Chinese Medicine that has been practiced in the Orient for several thousands of years. The benefits of acupuncture have been recognized and incorporated into Western medicine in recent years. In the United States, acupuncture is classified by government health organizations and the FDA as Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM).

Is it painful?

Since acupuncture depends on needles inserted into the skin, it is natural to ask whether that is a painful way to treat a condition that is already painful.

Actually, it is not a painful experience, there should be no pain during placement of the needles and many people find acupuncture a relaxing experience. A patient may feel a slight tingling sensation but not much more, certainly nothing compared to the real pain for which treatment is being sought. The ultra thin needles that are used may be in place for a few seconds or more up to perhaps 20 minutes, depending on the particular condition being treated. Credible scientific research studies have shown that a positive attitude helps too.

Pain relief

The benefits of acupuncture are especially demonstrated in the relief of chronic back pain but also are shown in the treatment of other ailments, including headache, migraine, arthritis, fibromyalgia, neuralgia, and many others.

The benefits of acupuncture for non-pain conditions

Acupuncture is used effectively to treat many other conditions, 30 or more according to research undertaken by the World Health Organization (WHO). Those include many common disorders such as depression, anxiety, addictions, infertility, digestive disorders, nervous system diseases, respiratory diseases, and many others.

The practice and performance of acupuncture in the United States is governed by the FDA and individual State qualification regulations. Similar qualification requirements exist in other countries.

Side effects not an issue

The FDA receives few reports of side effects, the procedure is considered safe as long as it is being rendered by a qualified professional practitioner in accordance with the government's health regulations.

Acupuncture costs

Cost and duration of a course of treatments varies and is something to be discussed with the practitioner. By most people's standards, acupuncture treatment is not cheap, which can be a problem for people on a limited income, and that often includes elderly people who may be seeking relief from arthritic pain.

Medicare does not cover acupuncture

Therefore, unless coverd by some other health care plan, acupuncture becomes a personal expense payable by the patient.

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