Acupuncture for chronic pain is the bread and butter of most common acupuncture practices and as a specialist in injuries among my other area's of expertise it's something I see a great deal of in my own clinic. In this article I'll share with you some of my insights into chronic pain and how you can find relief using acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
Chronic Pain according to TCM is nearly always associated with what we term Qi and Blood Stagnation. But what does this mean?
'Qi', (commonly understood to be a “vital energy”, but more akin to the symbiotic healthy function of the bio-electrical nervous system and blood supply). When 'Qi become stagnant it essentially means there is blockage in the normal function of the body - this causes build up and pressure and that is translated by the body as pain. If this become a long term stagnation it becomes chronic pain.
From a physical point of view this is accurate. And one of the physical manifestations of such an interruption into the function of the body is a disruption in the blood flow - which in TCM we term Blood Stagnation. Basically, blood flow is constrained or interrupted and the movement of blood slows or in some cases ceases. the blood pools and blockages solidify.
This is often seen as swelling, areas of heat or cold, bruising, tenderness, softness and of course chronic pain. As it stands that’s simple enough – however there are deeper implications of this. We often call this stagnation of Qi and Blood in TCM – a readily observable phenomena, if you've ever seen a bruise, you've seen stagnant blood. But Blood is more than blood in TCM and Qi, well, Qi is everything…
Qi flows through the body, moving in and out of every cell, nourishing, moistening, and giving them life so to speak, both on a superficial level, the skin and muscles and deeper levels such as the organs.
It makes digestion breathing, muscular movement, all possible - it moves through the muscles, tendons, ligaments and organs in unseen pathways bringing with it blood, fluid and vital essence. Qi is said to move the blood, to give blood vital life and its nutrient energy. Qi controls the movement and manner of blood, but blood gives rise to the Qi.
This may sound like a Zen parable or a bad line for Star Wars, and many would dismiss it as hocus-pocus mumbo jumbo – and in doing so, completely miss the point. The above statement may seem confusing, but is in fact, vitally true…
In Western medicine we now know that the body is an inter-related organ, each system fully integrated and dependant on the others. In Traditional Chinese Medicine and a key concern in acupuncture for chronic pain, this web-like mutually engendering system is described in the relation of Qi and Blood.
Depending on the level of pain the greater the disruption – and in the initial stages this leads to more swelling, the hotter it gets and it can even leave the area in “a dead zone” that will never feel quite right. This is the start of chronic pain.
After a sustained period to time the Qi and Blood, blocked will find new routes to move around, much like a river that finds a new course due to a dam. Once the inflammation reduces, and you've recovered from the injury, the body has adapted and the movement of Qi and Blood has found a new path, thus the area that was inured will now see less Qi and Blood that it was used, less than it needs, and it stays in this half nourished, half lifeless state unless something is done. And that is why acupuncture for chronic pain is needed.
Without acupuncture for chronic pain or other appropriate treatment the empty space where once the Qi and Blood warmed and moved, becomes filled with Cold and Damp.
With this many people will often find chronic paint becomes worse in cold and damp weather. This is mainly due the compression of the area and further restriction of the blood vessels in area already with a weakened supply of Qi and Blood. In Chinese Medicine we call this Bi syndrome and it is often an underlying cause of chronic arthritis and osteoporosis.
It can be treated and resolved.
Acupuncture for Chronic Pain works much like when you bash your elbow and rub it better. Bang ow, you bash you your elbow and begin to rub it better. Rubbing it better helps because the stimulation increases blood flow and circulation and stimulates the nervous system to release feel good chemicals called endorphins to relieve the pain.
Acupuncture works the same way but on much deeper and longer lasting manner. Through localised stimulation with acupuncture you can increase blood flow and circulation to the painful area and restore blood and Qi thus eliminating the pain.
Hundreds of studies support this, with more being released every day, showing conclusively that acupuncture for chronic pain is often far more effective than conventional treatment.
I'll leave you with one story of patient who successfully resolved their pain with acupuncture for chronic pain treatments.
If you are in chronic pain of any kind, be it from injury, nerve pain, arthritis and more please contact my clinic today and let us help relieve you of your discomfort.