Many diseases are detected because of the sensation of ‘pain’, but the pain is subjective and varies significantly from person to person. According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine, more than 1.5 billion people worldwide suffer from chronic pain.1 When suffering from chronic pain, even a period after injury, the body continues to send pain signals to the brain, lasting for weeks or even years, affecting the quality of life, sleep and work. Approximately 8 million adults in the UK report chronic pain that is moderate to severely disabling. 2 Back pain alone accounts for 40% of sickness absence in the NHS.
There are many known causes of chronic pain. There are eight common chronic pains:
ACUPUNCTURE FOR PAIN
Acupuncture is used mainly to relieve discomfort associated with a variety of diseases and conditions, including:
A systematic review found that acupuncture was more effective than sham acupuncture and injection with painkillers for acute pain.3
Low back pain
Research has shown that acupuncture is significantly better than no treatment and is as good as standard medical care for back pain. 4
A randomized controlled trial of acupuncture for low back pain. 1162 patients underwent ten sessions, twice a week, of traditional acupuncture, sham acupuncture or conventional therapy (a combination of drugs, physical therapy and exercise). Found that LBP improved after acupuncture, and improvement lasted for at least six months after treatment ended. 5
Patients with persistent low back pain should be offered acupuncture, massages, or exercises on the NHS, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance.
One systematic review found that acupuncture and conventional medicine for chronic neck pain have similar effects on pain and disability when compared solely between them. When acupuncture was added to conventional treatment, it relieved pain better, and electroacupuncture reduced pain even more. 6
Another review suggests that acupuncture relieves pain better than sham acupuncture for neck disorders. Acupuncture is more effective than inactive treatment for relieving pain at short-term follow-up.7
Headaches(including tension headaches and migraines)
In twelve trials with 2349 participants, the available results suggest that acupuncture is effective for treating frequent episodic or chronic tension-type headaches.8
One systematic review suggests that adding acupuncture to symptomatic treatment of attacks reduces the frequency of headaches. It also suggests that acupuncture may be at least similarly effective as treatment with prophylactic drugs.9
In twelve trials (1763 participants) comparing acupuncture to sham acupuncture, no treatment or usual care, the result suggests that acupuncture is associated with significant reductions in pain intensity, improvement in functional mobility and quality of life. 10
CAHMA is the most extensive Chinese medicine network in the UK. The members are fully qualified and highly skilled at traditional Chinese medicine. Most of us are senior doctors (China). Some have attained medical professorship. For different conditions, we can offer treatments:
According to TCM theories, pain is caused by many pathogenic factors that lead to blocking of meridian, qi and blood or imbalance of yin and yang.
Acupuncture,Tuina(Chinese therapeutic massage) and Chinese herbal medicine may encourage the flows of qi and blood, regulate yin and yang, and this leads to the body’s own healing response being triggered, resulting in your body being restored to its natural balance.
Acupuncture may relieve pain, most patients felt improved after one session, and some felt much better after a few sessions. Acupuncture has fewer side effects than painkillers because acupuncture belongs to the natural way. Getting back the flexibility of the body is the ultimate goal.
Acupuncture analgesia mechanisms may the stimulations from needles increase the release of endorphin, an analgesic action of neurotransmitters in the nerve system.
The peripheral analgesic mechanism of acupuncturing probably is that acupuncture and cupping improve local blood circulation that supports repair and recovery of affected tissues, organs, systems or the whole body.
- National Center for Health Statistics (2006) Health, United States, 2006Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus06.pdf
- Von Korff M, Ormel J, Keefe FJ, Dworkin SF. Grading the severity of chronic pain. Pain 1992;50:133–49.
- Xiang, A., Cheng, K., Xu, P., & Liu, S. (n.d.). The immediate analgesic effect of acupuncture for pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
- Witt CM, Jena S, Selim D, Brinkhaus B et al. Pragmatic randomized trial evaluating the clinical and economic effectiveness of acupuncture for chronic low back pain. Am J Epidemiol. 2006 Sep 1;164(5):487-96.
- Haake M, MÃ¼ller HH, Schade-Brittinger C, Basler HD, et al. German Acupuncture Trials (GERAC) for chronic low back pain: randomized, multicenter, blinded, parallel-group trial with 3 groups. Arch Intern Med. 2007 Sep 24;167(17):1892-8.
- 6.Seo SY, Lee KB, Shin JS, Lee J, Kim MR, Ha IH, Ko Y, Lee YJ. Effectiveness of Acupuncture and Electroacupuncture for Chronic Neck Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Am J Chin Med. 2017;45(8):1573-1595. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X17500859. Epub 2017 Nov 9. PMID: 29121797.
- Trinh K, Graham N, Irnich D, Cameron ID, Forget M. Acupuncture for neck disorders. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 May 4;(5):CD004870. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD004870.pub4. Update in: Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Nov 17;11:CD004870. PMID: 27145001.
- Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Fei Y, Mehring M, Shin BC, Vickers A, White AR. Acupuncture for the prevention of tension-type headache. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Apr 19;4:CD007587. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD007587.pub2. PMID: 27092807; PMCID: PMC4955729.
- Linde K, Allais G, Brinkhaus B, Fei Y, Mehring M, Vertosick EA, Vickers A, White AR. Acupuncture for the prevention of episodic migraine. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Jun 28;2016(6):CD001218. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001218.pub3. PMID: 27351677; PMCID: PMC4977344.
- Manyanga T, Froese M, Zarychanski R, Abou-Setta A, Friesen C, Tennenhouse M, Shay BL. Pain management with acupuncture in osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 Aug 23;14:312. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-14-312. PMID: 25151529; PMCID: PMC4158087.