Physical pain is a common occurrence for many People; in fact, a national survey found that more than one-quarter of U.S. adults had recently experienced some sort of pain lasting more than a day. In addition to conventional treatments, such as over-the-counter and prescription medications, people may try Acupuncture in an effort to relieve pain. This fact sheet provides basic information about pain and acupuncture, summarizes scientific research on acupuncture for specific kinds of pain, and suggests sources for additional information.
People use acupuncture for various types of pain. Back pain is the most commonly reported use, followed by joint pain, neck pain, and headache.
Acupuncture is being studied for its efficacy in alleviating many kinds of pain. There are promising findings in some conditions, such as chronic low-back pain and osteoarthritis of the knee; but, for most other conditions, additional research is needed. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) sponsors a wide range of acupuncture research.
Acupuncture is generally considered safe when performed correctly.
In traditional Chinese medicine theory, acupuncture regulates the flow of qi (vital energy) through the body. Research to test scientific theories about how acupuncture might work to relieve pain is under way. Continue reading Acupuncture studies by NCCAM
THE first comprehensive model of the human spine is challenging our assumptions about the causes of back pain. Contrary to the idea that spinal injuries are caused by a combination of compression, bending, tension and shear forces, the 3D animated model suggests many injuries are the result of quick twists of the vertebrae, making the joints between them rotate.
Nick Beagley and Vladimir Ivancevic of the Defence Science and Technology Organisation in Edinburgh, South Australia, have spent the past 18 months developing their mathematical model, called the Full Spine Simulator (FSS). Existing models of the spine evaluate forces placed on a single joint, or a simple series of joints, and allow each just a few degrees of freedom. But the FSS represents all 25 movable joints of the spine, and gives each its full six degrees of freedom. Continue reading Can Twisting cause the Agony of Back Pain?
Originating in ancient China, Acupuncture has been used for 2500 years. Traditional Chinese medicine holds that disease is caused by blockages and imbalances of energy (known as chi) flowing through meridians in the body, and can be eased by inserting needles at specific points.
Since the 1970s, Acupuncture has become more popular outside east Asia. Once widely considered a quack medicine, there is now tentative support for its use in certain conditions from respected official bodies such as the World Health Organisation, the National Health Service in the UK and the National Institutes of Health in the US.
There is evidence that Acupuncture is effective in treating a range of conditions including spinal injuries, back & neck pain, migraine headaches, infertility and the side effects of chemotherapy , and that its effects aren’t entirely due to the placebo effect. Recent research is now showing why Acupuncture works.
Wenjing Huang of Charité University Medical Center, Berlin, Germany, and colleagues used more than 100 studies to produce these brain maps of 18 acupuncture points. Areas of the brain activated by stimulating a point are shown in red; areas deactivated are shown in blue.
For example, the two vision-related points GB37 (gall bladder) and UB60 (urinary bladder) showed deactivation in visual brain areas like the Cuneus. The team concluded that Acupuncture seems to affect the brain’s processing of both physical Sensations and Emotions. For now, though, the source of Chi remains elusive.
JON LEVINE was just testing painkillers on people who’d had a wisdom tooth extracted, when he uncovered rather more than he’d bargained for. The women in his study group found that strong painkillers related to morphine, called kappa-opioids, were most effective at numbing pain. But the same drugs didn’t work for the men at all. “In fact, the doses used in the clinical trial made pain worse for men,” says Levine, a clinical neuroscientist from the University of California in San Francisco.
He was shocked. “The idea that a therapy that had been around for decades could affect women and men in such dramatically different ways was anathema,” he says. “It was such an incredible mindset in the field of pain, missing what had clearly gone on in front of their eyes for years.” Continue reading His Pain : Her Pain
Patient: Woman 29 years Occupation: Nurse Pain: Can reach 6/10
Complaint: Back and Neck Pain can often occur simultaneously. This Woman works as a Nurse, and has developed left sided Neck & Back Pain over the few months. She recalls hurting her low back about 6 months ago, while lifting a heavy patient. She is unsure how neck pain has developed.
Treatment: This Woman responded well to Spinal Manipulation of her back and neck. The range of movement in her neck and low back was initially poor, but quickly improved with treatment.
She visited weekly for 4 treatments, and was pain free by this stage.
Prognosis: This Woman visits me if and when she feels the need.
She now goes to Pilates classes twice per week, and feels much stronger and able to cope with the demands of her job.