5 Ways that Acupuncture is
More Effective than Pain Meds
1. Treating the source of the problem
According to Bauer, one of the most significant differences between acupuncture and pain medications is that while pain meds are pain blockers, they don’t help with the source of the problem. They create a numbing sensation but can actually stagnate energy and keep the body from healing itself.
2. Fighting addiction
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number one cause of drug overdoses in the U.S. is opioids, specifically, prescription opioid painkillers which are prescribed for pain relief. But unfortunately, they’re extremely addictive, and according to Bauer, it’s an addiction patients never intended to fall victim to in the first place.
Acupuncture can help treat these addictions, says Bauer, but more important, by starting with the practice instead of surgery or pain meds, patients can avoid ever becoming addicted.
3. Positive side effects
One of the biggest problems with pain meds are the unintended side effects, which, in addition to the risk of addiction, can include lethargy, sluggish digestion, loss of vitality, loss of dexterity, weight gain, and depression, according to Brendan Kelly, a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist at Jade Wellness in Burlington, Vermont. Acupuncture treats the source of the problem. This means it can have positive side effects beyond just treating pain. The most common positive side effects are relaxation and stress relief.
“Acupuncture encourages flow and releases stagnation and when the body is balanced it’s inherently more relaxed,” says Kelly. “In Western terms, putting in needles can release endorphins which makes you feel good.”
4. Personal customization
Kelly says that one of the biggest benefits of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine in general, is that it’s customized. Treating a headache, for example, depends on the underlying imbalances that are unique to the person. When you treat the person instead of the condition, it’s no longer a one-size-fits-all mentality.
5. Pain meds can worsen the problem
Pain meds are, by nature, sedating, which means they stagnate energy in the body. This blocks the movement of pain, creating a numbing sensation in the short term. However, by blocking the movement of energy, pain meds can end up making the problem worse. That’s why pain patients end up requiring bigger doses, leading to addiction, contends Kelly.