While pain means suffering and misery to most, it is also a sign that your body is alerting you to pay attention! If your house smoke alarm starts beeping, do you turn it off without addressing the cause of the alarm–the fire? Of course not! Yet many people try to cover up pain by taking drugs or simply ignoring it. While this may temporarily dull the pain, your body will continue to remind you that something is still wrong, and the pain can become more intense and chronic.
It is important to treat pain as pain can slow recovery, interfere with sleep and eating, and worsen fear, anxiety, frustration, and depression. However, “quick fix” drugs have negative possibilities and they often do not treat chronic pain effectively over the long-term.
“Today, adverse drug reactions and drug interactions are directly responsible for thousands of deaths annually and for more than 20 per cent of all hospitalizations for adults over the age of 65.”
— Statistics Canada, 1998
Traditional Chinese Medicine can address both the branch (the symptom) as well as the root (the cause) of the pain. Acupuncture is a natural, time-tested, safe, and effective way to treat pain. It is acknowledged by the World Health Organization (WHO), the National Institute of Health (NIH), the Arthritis Society, and many pain management centres and institutes.
Chinese herbs, supplements, and food cures can be used alone or to support acupuncture treatments.
How does TCM treat pain?
TCM doctors have used acupuncture and herbs to treat warriors, martial artists, emperors and empresses, farmers, children, and more for over 5000 years.
Pain Management Methods
Medical research has shown acupuncture to be a safe and effective treatment method for pain. Acupuncture has been shown to stimulate the production of endorphins (chemicals that block pain), neutralize trigger points, relax muscles, and block the transmission of pain signals to the brain by stimulating competing nerves. One major benefit to acupuncture as a complementary therapy, is that it can be used safely with other therapies, including pharmaceutical drugs.
Many herbs have been shown to be anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving. A TCM herbalist will choose herbs that relieve pain, and also add herbs to treat the underlying health imbalances.
Without proper nutrition our bodies do not heal well. In order to replace and repair damaged cells, specific nutrients need to be available. When they are not, recovery is impaired. In addition, as with the herbal remedies, some foods have medicinal properties, and food recommendations can be made to suit the individual.
Both acute and chronic pain can benefit from TCM treatments.