Acupuncture has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years to treat pain. But until recently, scientists couldn't figure out exactly how or why it worked. They theorized that perhaps it activated the body's natural painkillers. Now researchers at the University of Michigan's Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center have uncovered a clue to at least one way that acupuncture works to help relieve pain . They found that acupuncture increased the binding availability of mu-opoid receptors in regions of the brain that process and dampen pain signals – specifically the cingulate, insula, caudate, thalamus and amygdala. In the study, fibromyalgia patients were given either traditional Chinese acupuncture or sham acupuncture treatments twice a week for a four-week period. Positron emission tomography (PET) scans were preformed during the first treatment session and again following the eighth treatment. Those patients given the rea...
As the Baby Boomers are creeping over-60 age group, the number of people affected by knee osteoarthritis is exploding. Everyone has two knees, which automatically doubles the numbers of arthritic knees proportionate to the number of people. Some feel pain and stiffness after sitting for long periods of time, others feel pain while moving. Knee pain is literally bringing the world to its knees.
Most people want to avoid surgery as long as possible because, quite frankly, amputating a knee joint is a big deal that takes months of recovery. In the effort to keep moving and stay comfortable, medicines like NSAIDs or opioids offer relief but the side effects are not worth the pain relief sometimes. Supplements like fish oil are not all that they are claimed to be. And nobody wants to use walking sticks or canes . So what is a Baby Boomer to do if he/she wants to avoid surgery?
Try acupuncture . People around the world rely on acupuncture to help relieve pain from head to toe. A...
A meta-analysis study of acupuncture recently released in The Archives of Internal Medicine found that acupuncture was more effective in reducing various types of chronic pain than usual care and should be considered a reasonable treatment option.
Study Design and Results
Researchers conducted a systematic review of randomized controlled trials of acupuncture for chronic pain to determine its effect compared to sham acupuncture and no acupuncture (usual care). While there are a large number of studies related to acupuncture for chronic pain, many were “of questionable interpretability and value” and were therefore excluded from this analysis.
After review, the scientists settled on 29 high-quality trials, which included a total of 17,922 individual patients and covered four chronic pain conditions: back and neck pain, osteoarthritis , chronic headache and shoulder pain.
The results were given in “standard deviation” scores, which I p...
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