Pain, from any part of the body, including back, neck, shoulders, feet or other areas can be very frustrating for the sufferer. It is often difficult to treat chronic pain with traditional medications as chronic inflammation pain does not respond well to prescription pain relievers and narcotics.
Acupuncture is one of the safest and most effective ways to address pain via the brain-body connection. Most patients will find their pain is diminished after their very first treatment. Pain-relieving endorphins released by the body during acupuncture rival the strongest prescription analgesic drugs, but without the side effects.
The doctors at Orlando Acupuncture would be happy to help you with your unique pain experience. During your initial consultation and evaluation we consider previous diagnoses given by other healthcare professionals. Our licensed practitioners study the history of your pain condition and any relieving or aggravating factors. We also review diagnostic imaging reports (X-Ray, MRI, CT, etc.) or reports of previous physical examinations. We talk to you, observe your body, palpate the painful areas. Most importantly we try to determine the root cause of your pain. This allows us to design an individualized treatment protocol that reduces pain symptoms while addressing any underlying causes. Pain is one of the primary reasons people seek out medical help. Acupuncture has proven to be effective for thousands of our patients through the years.
Pain is our body’s way of telling us that something is not working correctly. Pain can be acute or chronic and vary from mild and dull to sharp and intense. Some pain is there all of the time, and other pains come and go. The causes or pain are innumerable but sitting too much, poor posture, sports injuries, and repetitive movements are some of the most common. Emotional pain and physical pain can aggravate one another, so one’s stress level must also be considered when addressing pain.
How we successfully treat Pain
The physiology of how pain works is that you have sensory nerves which are firing and giving the brain pain signals. There might or might not have a structural problem causing these signals. Pain can be caused by a sensory dysfunction or a “misfire” of pain signals. Studies show that in most cases of chronic pain there is no structural cause. Unfortunately most doctors who are not well trained in neurology, and they assume that if you have pain, there must be a structural reason. In other words, there must be some form of structure, bone, soft tissue, disc or some object actually pushing on the sensory nerve, causing it to continuously fire. This assumption can lead to unnecessary surgeries or other interventions.
In order for the brain to register pain, there has to be two types of neural signals hitting the brain at about the same time. The first signal is from the sensory nerve or nerves themselves. The second is from the proprioceptive, or “location” nerves which are also firing right next to the sensory nerves. The proprioceptive nerves tell the brain where your pain is coming from. If everything is working properly, the brain will release chemicals called enkephalins, the body’s natural pain killers. These chemicals block the pain receptor sites in the brain, all along the spine, and the blood vessels where you feel the pain. They stop the chronic pain and allow the body to return to normal function.
Obviously, with those patients who suffer from chronic discomfort, this mechanism is no longer working. There are many reasons the body’s natural pain-relieving mechanism could have malfunctioned. However, the number one cause appears to be a problem in the proprioceptive nerves. If the signal strength of these nerbes is too low, the brain will not release the enkephalins and thus the pain continues. Acupuncture will raise the signal strength of the proprioceptive nerves and the result is a sudden and dramatic relief from pain. This is why Acupuncture can treat an incredibly wide variety of pain problems.
If there is a structural cause of the pain, physical tissue pushing directly on a sensory nerve, increasing the signal strength of the proprioceptive nerves alone might not solve this type of problem. These patients may need other types of therapy. We offer Chinese Herbal therapy for many common structural problems. We sometimes recommend specific, therapeutic exercises. We also assist our patients in a referral to the proper Western medicine specialist when other therapies such as myofascial release, physical therapy, or surgery are needed.
BACK PAIN AND SCIATICA
Back pain, whether caused by chronic sciatica, a bulging disc, or arthritis is very painful and can be disabling. A person suffering from sciatica has an inflamed sciatic nerve. This nerve starts roughly at the base of the spine, travels down the back of the leg and then stops in your foot. Sciatic pain is difficult to treat because nerve pain does not respond well to painkillers. Sciatica can cause severe, stabbing pain and can make the patient cry out when sudden movements are made.
Acupuncture works by stimulating the nervous system and allowing for the body to regain its natural balance.
There are also other ways to relieve back pain without medication. These include physical therapy, and a progressive exercise program that uses both stretching and balance techniques. Back pain may not be completely relieved by exercise or physical therapy alone and that is when alternative treatments become useful. Strengthening the stomach muscles through exercise is a specific way to increase back strength and improve the overall functioning of the low back.
Shoulder pain is another difficult to treat illness because of the complexity of the shoulder joint. The shoulder is a ball and socket joint, attached together by ligaments, protected by cartilage, and covered with several layers of muscle. If there is ligament damage or the cartilage has worn down, the joint will hurt when it is used. There is no significant way to permanently stop shoulder pain that is caused by worn cartilage without surgery. Acupuncture is a very successful way to help you keep pain at bay while you wait for a surgical procedure, and to aid in post-surgical recovery.
Arthritic pain can occur anywhere in the body where there is a joint. Arthritis can be in several joints or in just one. Arthritis is a very common health concern in the United States. With early treatment, arthritis pain does not have to be disabling. You can live with arthritis for a long time without pain if you make changes in your lifestyle that include alternative therapies.
Those that suffer from arthritis will likely find relief from acupuncture treatments because acupuncture treats the whole body and promotes overall wellness. Arthritis sufferers are likely to develop arthritis in more than one place and medications only help for so long.
Chronic, low grade pain can lead to a decrease in activity and a lack of enjoyment in activities because the pain is just too much to deal with. People that suffer from chronic pain are more prone to depression because they are no longer able to do things that they once enjoyed. They may suffer loneliness and feel that they are suffering alone. As a whole-body medical system, this is the kind of condition Chinese Medicine treats with high success. Our treatments for arthritis involve a combination of pain relief, reduction of inflammation, dietary assessment and restructuring, and emotional support, resulting in an overall reduction of pain and an increase in the patient’s vitality