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Acupuncture: A Natural Solution to Pain

by Jewel Sommerville, D.Ac.

Pain chronically disrupts American life. From the workplace to an individual’s personal and professional goals, chronic pain is interrupting people’s joy and potential; but it doesn’t have to.

New guidelines published in the Annals of Internal Medicine from the American College of Physicians support the use of natural and psychological therapies over medications for acute and chronic lower back pain. Therapies recommended include acupuncture, exercise, heat, massage, spinal manipulation and mindfulness stress reduction techniques. Additionally, a 2016 evidence-based study by Kligler, Teets and Quick found acupuncture to be effective in treating chronic low back pain.

An evidence-based review, by Macpherson, et al. included 18,000 patients and examined the role of acupuncture for chronic pain related to the neck and low back, osteoarthritis of the knee, and headache and migraine pain. Acupuncture proved to be significantly more effective at pain reduction than both sham acupuncture and the usual care of such conditions.

The use of acupuncture for patients suffering simultaneously from pain and depression was also examined in this study. Acupuncture with counseling proved to be clinically effective for depression and pain. In addition, the cost-effectiveness of acupuncture was noted for all conditions. An additional benefit of choosing acupuncture over a medication is its effectiveness to relieve the source of the pain; truly treating the root of the problem. Most medications, over-the-counter or prescription, merely mask the problem allowing a patient to further injure him/herself.

A second study led by Macpherson supported the long-term effectiveness of acupuncture for chronic pain relief. This study, involving 17,922 patients and 29 trials, found “90 percent of the benefit of acupuncture relative to controls would be sustained for 12 months.” This demonstrates acupuncture is not only effective for chronic pain relief but that, after a course of acupuncture treatment, chronic pain relief is sustained for the next 12 months.

Other studies have shown a potentially important role for acupuncture as an effective treatment for migraines, tension-type headaches and several other types of chronic headache disorders and in the prevention of episodic migraines. These studies confirm the use of acupuncture for chronic pain stemming from multiple sources in the body as well as its use for psychological concerns.

East Asian medicine, including acupuncture, originated more than 5,000 years ago. Considering its continued use today as a medical practice makes one logically believe in its effectiveness; however, modern research further confirming its effectiveness with conditions ranging from fertility to chronic pain supports the choice of acupuncture as a safe, practical, natural solution to chronic disorders and chronic pain.

Jewel Sommerville, doctor of acupuncture, is the founder of Holistic Health Rhode Island, Ltd., established in Rhode Island, in 2002, at 990 Main St., East Greenwich. The center is dedicated to treating the source of the problem to regain one’s health and well-being. For more information, call 401-398-2933 or visit HolisticHealthRI.com. See ad, page 29.