Acupuncture for Chronic Pain
Chronic pain and opioid drug overuse and abuse have been in the news a lot lately after a report from the FDA revealed the link to heroin addiction and the over prescription opioid pain killers.
In a recent study, 29,906 women and men attending US drug treatment centers found that, in the past month, women reported significantly greater abuse of prescription opioids than men. Additionally, emergency room visits involving the misuse of opioids showed a slightly higher increase between 2004 and 2008 among women (113% increase) than men (110%). But the increase of overdose is staggering. It is a health crisis in this country.
The choice is clear: acupuncture for pain relief. There are a few hospitals across the country now offering acupuncture in the ER as an alternative to pain meds and people are very receptive to having a choice. Many are afraid of addiction, do not like how the medications make them feel, or have had bad experiences with drugs in the past. If this sounds like you, perhaps its time to explore the benefits of acupuncture. Dr. Hackett has many years of experience with several types of needling styles.
In a meta study, patients receiving acupuncture had less pain, with scores that were significantly lower than sham controls for back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, and chronic headache, respectively. The effect in comparison to no acupuncture controls were even more significant. Thus challenging the notion that the placebo effect is the explanation for the results seen with acupuncture treatment. The results were strong enough to withstand the challenge of several types of rule-out analyses, including those related to publication bias.
The conclusions of the study was that Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain and is a reasonable referral option for MDs to consider as an alternative to pain medications or an adjunct to medications to reduce the amount of meds required by the patient.
The bottomline is that there are significant differences between true and sham acupuncture which indicates that acupuncture is more than a placebo. There are still unknown factors about the specific effects of needling in the stimulation of the healing process that are important contributors to the therapeutic effects of acupuncture.