Pain is one of the biggest health problems in America, and one of the most important and pressing issues facing the American health system.
Many painful conditions require prescription medications and treatment by medical professionals, and many patients have acute pain and chronic pain that is not adequately relieved. Consequently, pain is the most common cause of disability, seriously impairing the patient’s quality of life.
According to the American Medical News, 2011, more than 116 million American patients struggle with chronic pain each year. Of course, this has significant impact on the nation’s economy and health care system. Combining the medical charges and lost productivity, the cost is an astronomical $635 billion annually, just for chronic pain.
Acute pain. Acute pain is invariably due to tissue damage caused by diseases, accidents, injuries, surgery, or physiologic processes with certain muscles, such as extreme exercise, labor, or immediately after a serious accident.
Chronic pain. Chronic pain may be the result of an acute disease or injury and persist as abnormal functioning of the nervous system. Chronic pain can also be the result of environmental or psychological conditions. In addition, pain is often associated with chronic diseases, such as arthritis and cancer, to name a few.
Many people take over-the-counter medications, like acetaminophen or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Strong medications, such as NSAIDs, in high dosages and narcotics, are by prescription and should be used under the care and direction of a health professional.
Acupuncture has been used for a wide range of pain conditions. Practitioners treat most common conditions, such as headaches, back pain, TMJ, knee pain, stomach pain, menstrual cramps, dental pain, arthritis, bursitis, shoulder pain, back spasms, and pain from cancer.
Many patients seek acupuncture treatment as a last resort because of the thought of tiny needles, which some people may not like. However, acupuncture is safe and can help many pain conditions with few side effects.
Once a diagnosis is made, it is essential to relieve the pain, not only symptomatically, but to understand and address the injury or disease so the cause can be treated. Otherwise, the persistent pain can cause unnecessary suffering that may enhance the reflex responses, which become abnormal and make the whole situation worse.
Persistent pain could impair the function of certain organs and may cause complications. Since acupuncture treatment works to treat the body as a whole, patients not only have relief from pain, there is additional benefit for their general health, peace of mind, and physical well being.