Managing Pain Without Opioids: Why You Should Consider Acupuncture
Some people go faint at the sight of needles, while others breathe a sigh of relief knowing that pain relief is on the way. If you're in the second category, chances are good you or someone you know well is an avid proponent of acupuncture. A traditional Chinese medical practice, acupuncture is a therapeutic treatment in which a trained professional inserts a series of thin needles into strategic points in the body in a way that can be used to stimulate the body's natural painkillers and ultimately diminish pain. Although the treatment has a long, distinguished history, patients in the United States still rarely hear the treatment recommended by a physician or offered in a mainstream medical setting. This omission in treatment options is unfortunate, as acupuncture has a long history of being used as effective pain relief and could and should be used in place of opioid painkillers in many situations. For example, a recent study conducted by physicians in several Melbourne hospitals' emergency departments found that treating patients' pain with acupuncture was just as effective as western medicines at treating pain. Not only is acupuncture effective, it is relatively low cost. Studies have shown conclusively that while acupuncture is as or more effective than western interventions at treating a variety of pain disorders, it is also lower cost to administer than many western interventions. Add in the diminished quality of life and complications that opioid addiction can caus...
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