Opioid Addiction How Acupuncture can help

Written by Angela Lai

Our country is in a crisis with pain.  Opioid epidemic has come to light and we are struggling to help those who have been a victim of this drug and also educate the public in general so it doesn’t happen again.  Unfortunately, those that have been affected, have a long road to recovery.

Acupuncture can be a great help for those struggling with pain.  May it be a headache, low back pain or stomache.  How can acupuncture help when powerful drugs can only dull it for a time?

Acupuncture is the placement of thin needles to specifc points on the body that assists the body’s healing process.  Studies using brain imaging have shown that during acupuncture treatments, specific parts of the brain will increase in activitiy.  These parts control specific body parts which then sends resources to that area.

For example, someone has sprained their ankle and swelling begins.  Swelling is a natural defensive process the body will perform to help stabilize the injured area and also slow down circulation in case theres blood loss.  Unfortuntely, by slowing down the circulation, nutrition, oxygen and other helpful resources won’t be able to enter the area which then slows the healing process.  Eventually, it will heal enough and the swelling will not be needed.  Sometimes the body will only heal enough to stabilize the situation but not heal for a comfortable existance. This is usually when people start to take medication for the pain because it’s gone on for so long and it’s affecting their quality of life.

When acupuncture needles are applied, the section of the brain that controls the ankle is stimulated and it says “oh, something is happening in that area and we must send resources over there.”  Blood, oxygen, nutrition, etc gets sent and then the body will have enough help to heal the area completely.  Therefore stopping the ankle pain once and for all.

When a patient comes in asking for help with their pain and they are on medication, I also advise not to stop the medication right away.  Let’s start the body to healing first and you will be able to slowing decrease the need as the pain decreases.  It’s a process but it can be done with the right team to help you.

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