According to recent statistics, more than one-third of Americans suffer from some kind of chronic pain — pain which can prevent the body from healing and from effectively fighting disease and which may thereby diminish the overall quality of life. At the same time, medication often prescribed for pain may be extremely costly and involve severe side effects. Yet in fact pain can be effectively treated and managed: acupuncture, recognized by the World Health Organization for its ability to treat chronic illness and manage pain, is very effective in dealing with musculo-skeletal and neurologic pain such as: arthritis, neuralgia, sciatica, back pain, stiff neck, tendonitis, headache and migraine, as well as, gastrointestinal and gynecological pain.
When we have pain, we suffer and feel the quality of life to be diminished. In order to feel better we go and see doctors, and our hands reach out for drugs and pills. Do they help? We may feel some relief for a while. The symptom is reduced so that we can keep going, (Let us leave the side effects for another chapter.) The pain killer can only block the pain receptors so that one is numbed, but the source of the pain is unaffected. The pain is a warning sign, a self- protective mechanism. And when you take the pain killer, your self- protecting mechanism is impaired.
It is easy and quick to block the pain with pills with their side effects, but hard and slow to actually, and without side effects, heal the wound. It is time to consider a form of pain management more in accord with nature. Acupuncture promotes the natural healing process. It stops pain by dissolving the stagnation, invigorating the blood and smoothing and increasing the flow of qi (energy). After needling, we sometimes use the application of heat to the pain source by moxibustion. When the needles are first inserted, the body recognizes the foreign invasion, causing white cells to rush to the site to try to “fix” and “eat” the “debris”. In this way, extra energy and nourishment come to be supplied to the ailing part. Body pain is most often caused by one or another kind of stagnation. Using theories and stratagems from Chinese medicine, we have successfully treated forms of pain literally ranging from head to toe (and including migraines, tension headaches, stomach pain, menstrual pain, sciatica and knee pain along the way).