Study shows acupuncture effective for chronic pain
A recent study found that acupuncture is 50 percent more effective than traditional treatments for chronic pain. The results are beneficial for anyone who suffers from chronic pain of any type including arthritis and back pain — common problems in the elderly.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese healing therapy in which tiny needles are inserted into specific points in the skin.
Andrew Vickers, a researcher at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, who led the multinational study told AARP Magazine: “What this study provides is fairly strong evidence that acupuncture is an effective treatment for chronic pain.”
About three million Americans use acupuncture each year. According to AARP Magazine, during the course of the study, which involved nearly 18,000 patients, some patients were given actual acupuncture while others were given treatments where needles were randomly placed in the skin or where the needles retracted into the handle.
There’s still no clear scientific explanation for why acupuncture works. However, there are several theories. One is that acupuncture triggers endorphins to be released and another is that the treatment affects the chemical messengers that cause brain cells to interpret pain.
Acupuncture has been used to treat a variety of ailments from pain to nausea. According to studies, acupuncture has been found to be relatively safe with the only side effects being occasional bruising or minor bleeding. Acupuncture needles are thin and not inserted very far into the skin, so most patients do not experience these minor problems.
For those looking for an acupuncturist, the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine website provides a location-based search of practices.
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