Acupuncture for Pain Relief: What to Expect

acupuncture treatment for pain relief

The ancient art of acupuncture, originally practised in Asia for centuries, has gained popularity in North America. This Chinese medicine based approach of holistic healing involves triggering specific points on the body using thin and solid metallic needles. The needles are inserted at various depths and regions in the body to reach tissues and muscles. Although acupuncture can be used to help with many ailments, an increasing number of people are using acupuncture for pain relief. If it is your first time considering acupuncture for pain relief, contact us to speak to a trained acupuncturist. We are happy to answer any questions you may have and will try to answer some of those questions below. 

What is Acupuncture? 

While providing treatments using Traditional Chinese Medicine, practitioners focus their efforts around the idea that the body’s flow of energy called qi (pronounced as “chi”) is responsible for a person’s overall health and wellbeing. If there is a disruption or imbalance of Qi flow in the body, it can cause pain and/or illness. Acupuncture works by stimulating different acupuncture points on various channels, known as meridians, in the body to create a balance of Qi flow. When Qi is balanced and allowing a smooth flow, painful conditions can decrease.

Many acupuncture points also follow nerves, muscles, and connective tissue. Studies have shown that by stimulating these specific points, the body can release endorphins that act as natural pain-killing chemicals.  Needle stimulation can also affect serotonin levels – a brain transmitter that regulates mood. This has proven to be extremely effective when using acupuncture for pain relief.

Acupuncture has been shown to be effective for a variety of painful conditions including: upper and lower back pain, headaches, menstrual cramps, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, and dental pain. Acupuncture for pain relief can be used as a first line healthcare treatment.  You do not need a referral.

What Can You Expect During Your First Acupuncture Appointment? 

After meeting with Jessica Campbell, our registered acupuncturist, your initial consultation will start with questions about your symptoms, medical and family history and perform examinations as needed. Using acupuncture for pain relief is a holistic approach and as such, the treatment will focus to address general constitutional imbalances in addition to your specific complaint. In other words, treating the root cause of the pain and not just the symptoms of the pain itself. The acupuncture assessment will help to determine where to insert the needles.  Needles may be inserted into different meridians and painful muscles or regions and left for 10 to 30 minutes as you rest. During your treatment, the acupuncturist may use gentle hand movements to adjust the pressure or depth on the needles, heat the needles, or apply a mild electric current to them. Modalities such as cupping and Gua Sha (a light scraping of the skin/muscle) may also be added into a treatment, depending on the condition of the individual.  The duration of a course of treatment is dependent on each individual’s needs and whether the pain is due to an acute or chronic condition. Sometimes several treatments may be needed over time to achieve the best results.

What Does Acupuncture for Pain Relief Feel Like? 

It is not uncommon for people to fear needles. You will be pleased to learn that acupuncture needles are incredibly thin and will typically feel like a gentle pinch as the needles are inserted. Once a needle is inserted, it often induces a sensation of a dull ache or pressure. This feeling is known as De Qi, which is energy flow through the body. Most people report they feel relaxed or even more energized during this time. After the treatment, some muscle or body tenderness may occur, but the complication rate for acupuncture for pain relief is quite low especially in comparison to other pain treatments or medications.

Considering Acupuncture for Pain Relief? 

Is it time to consider acupuncture for pain relief?  During these stressful times, acupuncture treatment from our registered acupuncturist will reduce pain and help your body recover. Call us today at Whyte Avenue Chiropractic & Wellness Centre to schedule an appointment and get on the path to pain-free living.