Emma Vickers Lic Ac BAcC
T. 07784 768177
E. emma@oasisacupuncture.co.uk
Sep 242012

Treatment of Pain

Acupuncture has long been associated with pain relief and for several years the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommended that GP’s offer acupuncture to patients on the NHS to help manage their symptoms of lower back pain. However in addition to this in the last month NICE have also stated that acupuncture can prevent tension-type headaches and migraine.

NICE also reported that medication overuse is one of the most common causes of headaches affecting about one in 50 people. As acupuncture itself is a form of healthcare that rarely has any side-effects, we are hopeful that many people will learn they too can find relief from crippling pain conditions which they can manage long-term without causing other health issues from medication.

Research collated by the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC) gives us an insight into how acupuncture benefits those patients suffering with back problems and headaches:

Acupuncture can help back pain by:

  • Providing pain relief – by stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, acupuncture leads to release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord.
  • Reducing inflammation – by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors.
  • Improving muscle stiffness and joint mobility – by increasing local microcirculation, which aids dispersal of swelling and bruising.
  • Reducing the use of medication for back complaints.
  • Providing a more cost-effective treatment over a longer period of time.
  • Improving the outcome when added to conventional treatments such as rehabilitation exercises.

Acupuncture can help in the treatment of migraine by:

  • Providing pain relief – by stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, acupuncture leads to release of endorphins and other neurochumoral factors and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord.
  • Reducing inflammation – by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors.
  • Reducing the degree of cortical spreading depression (an electrical wave in the brain associated with migraine) and plasma levels of calcitonin gene-related peptide and substance P (both implicated in the pathophysiology of migraine).
  • Modulating extracranial and intracranial blood flow.
  • Affecting serotonin (5-hydroxytriptamine) levels in the brain. (Serotonin may be linked to the initiation of migraines; 5-HT agonists (triptans) are used against acute attacks.)

For further research information as above and for full referencing on studies undertaken, please visit the BAcC website: www.acupuncture.org.uk.

 

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