Posts

Moving Away from Pain Management Drugs to Pain Management with Acupuncture

acupuncture therapy on auricle, horizontal very close up photoIn America today, opioid pain medications are prescribed at alarmingly high rates for pain management. Opioids include pain relievers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine and others, as well as the Schedule I street drug heroin. Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. with 47,055 overdoses in 2014. 18,893 of those overdoses were related to prescription pain relievers, and 10,574 were attributed to heroin.

Let that sink in for a moment and you’ll understand why this disturbs me. There were more deaths related to prescription pain medications than to heroin. This is why I am an advocate for alternative pain management treatments, such as acupuncture and/or cupping therapy, to eliminate the dangers associated with drug dependence and substance abuse.

Here are a few reasons why I believe in acupuncture as a reliable and safe alternative to traditional pain reliever prescription treatments.

  • Self-Healing is the Goal. There is evidence showing that it is medically effective. Acupuncture stimulates the body to provoke innate self-healing mechanisms. For centuries our bodies did not rely on prescription drugs for healing purposes, so we are equipped with the ability to heal naturally. Acupuncture is a great tool used to help the body tap into those resources.
  • Evidence for Effectiveness. Chronic pain can make life unbearable. People will visit doctors that are willing to simply write prescriptions for pain relievers that may pose a threat to someone’s well-being. However, the Archives of Internal Medicine has documented research compiled by international experts spanning 29 studies and 18,000 participants. The results of these controlled studies concluded that acupuncture relieved common forms of pain up to 50%. In addition, there is less risk associated with acupuncture treatments compared to prescription medications.
  • Beneficial for Multiple Conditions. From cancer to severe menstrual cramps to anxiety, acupuncture can make a noticeable difference in well-being and overall health. I’m a firm believer that no matter what the condition is, everyone can benefit from receiving acupuncture treatments.
  • Opioids Exacerbate Pain. In the long run opioids, morphine specifically, have been shown to have detrimental effects. A study published earlier this year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provided evidence to suggest that even a mere five days of morphine treatments caused chronic pain lasting for months.
  • Morphine vs Acupuncture. In addition, a study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine sought to prove the effectiveness of acupuncture compared to morphine. The study of 300 participants showed that the acupuncture group had 92% success rate compared to the 78% rate in the morphine group. Those who were receiving morphine treatments also reported 85 counts of side effects including nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and fainting. In conclusion, it can be said that acupuncture is safer than morphine treatments, and is at least as effective at pain relief as morphine.
  • Acupuncture for Opioid Addiction.For those who are currently struggling with opioid dependence, acupuncture can provide relief during the withdrawal process, both physically and mentally. Given the evidence that opioids pose a threat to physical health and well-being, those seeking pain management therapies owe it to themselves to try an alternative that poses no risks.

I’ve been practicing acupuncture and alternative therapies in the Raleigh, NC area for nearly 10 years, and I’ve seen my patients benefit from these practices. Even if you have inhibitions about these options for any reason, whether you’re skeptical or afraid of needles, please consider talking with me further. Contact me, Jill Doan, at To The Point Acupuncture in Raleigh today to learn more.

Coping with Traumatic Events with Acupuncture

No matter where I live, Massachusetts and Boston will always be considered home for me. The Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, 2013 affected the whole country in some way or another. Our spirit may have shook for a brief moment, but today we stand united and banded as a people. There are things in life that we witness, or are a part of, that we cannot control; things such as the loss of a loved one, destruction of our home, war, violence, and abuse. These things may have short term or long term lasting effects on us.

There is a very effective acupuncture treatment that can be used to help one cope through such difficult times. It is called the NADA protocol. This protocol consists of needling 5 points in the ear. The points are referred to as: Sympathetic, Shen Men, Kidney, Liver, and Lung. What started out as a drug addiction and detoxification protocol is now widely used for PTSD. Acupuncturists Without Borders (AWB) began in September 2005 treating people using this protocol that endured the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. It was so successful that AWB has now expanded to include a Military Stress Relief project, treating soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. This project consists of volunteer acupuncturists that use the NADA protocol to respond to emergencies and disasters worldwide. They have helped thousands of people all over the world affected by trauma and disaster.

I myself have used this protocol more times than I can count, for everything from drug addiction/withdrawal to PTSD. The needles are usually done in a group setting and retained for 30-45 minutes. Those affected by trauma are usually left feeling vulnerable and unwilling to talk about the events as which they have been effected by. As a patient receiving this treatment, you do not have to talk about the events which have brought you in for treatment. The treatments are just as effective with or without communication between the patient and practitioner. After being treated with this protocol, patients are left feeling less anxious, stronger, and more relaxed. This protocol is usually done in a group setting which allows patients to also feel more comfortable and safe. It also allows for the practitioner to be able to treat more patients at a time and thus help more people.

Everyone has been affected by some sort of trauma in their life. You are not alone, and you don’t need to lock it away or suffer. There are many ways to cope with trauma and disaster and now you can also add acupuncture to that list.