When I first went in for acupuncture I was in a lot of pain. As I drove away from my first treatment, I felt more relaxed than I had in a long time. Then, something strange happened, the pain went from one side of my body to the opposite one and increased in intensity. For three hours it hurt, but then suddenly went away. For the next 3 days I was pain free for the first time in over 4 years. I never had the same type of experience as I did that first treatment, but I found that regular appointments continued to relieve pain. They even helped to reduce my stress.
I am not the only person in America dealing with acute or chronic pain. According to the NIH one in every 4 Americans suffers from pain lasting longer than 24 hours. Chronic pain is the number one reason people go on disability every year. Along with this rising epidemic of pain, we have a rise in prescription and over-the-counter drugs to counter pain. These medications can be effective at first, but the body becomes used to them. Doctors will often have to give higher and higher doses to people, just to keep the pain at bay. Some people will become addicted to their pain killers and can even go on to abuse them.
Another problem with all pain relievers is they are bad for your health. Even "safe ones" which are over-the-counter can cause problems with digestion, such as ulcers, intestinal bleeding and kidney failure. They are great for short term use, but for those who suffer from chronic pain, this can lead to some very problematic health issues down the road.
So, what can acupuncture do to help with America's pain problem? A trained acupuncturist can work with you and your doctor to treat pain safely. Many who try acupuncture find their pain is reduced and they may even be able to reduce or stop their medications. All of this must be done under a trained acupuncturist and with your doctor's supervision, of course. A good way to see if you can be helped is to schedule an appointment with your local practitioner. They will be able to advise you on the best method for treatment.
Some Further Reading: