Chronic Pain Awareness Month

by Sean Honea L.Ac

Pain in Foot

Hi RVA,

Did you know September is Chronic Pain Awareness Month? For many people acupuncture works well for the management of both chronic and acute pain. Helen Wang LA.c, Phd. writes in her blog, September is Pain Awareness Month that "understanding the various types of pain and their treatments can bring a stronger awareness to those suffering from pain and the people around them that are/have been affected by their conditions." Dr. Wang explains that "[a]cute pain may be mild or severe, and it can persist briefly, for weeks or months." and clarifies that acute pain "is different from chronic pain in that it has a specific beginning and end, and its sensations decrease as healing occurs." She counsels that left untreated or not "treated properly or quickly, acute pain can become chronic pain" or pain that is "long-standing pain that can last for an indefinite amount of time, often beyond the expected recovery period for an injury or illness."  

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, "a number of studies suggest that acupuncture may help ease types of pain that are often chronic such as low-back pain, neck pain, and osteoarthritis/knee pain." NCCIH continues that acupuncture also "may help reduce the frequency of tension headaches and prevent migraine headaches. Therefore, acupuncture appears to be a reasonable option for people with chronic pain to consider." The NCCIH also provides funding for research "to further understand how the body responds to acupuncture and how acupuncture might work."   Currently, they are investigating acupuncture's effectiveness in alleviating "the frequency of hot flashes associated with menopause," whether acupuncture can "reduce pain and discomfort that may accompany chemotherapy," and "[o]bjectively determining if actual acupuncture is more effective than simulated acupuncture or usual care for pain relief, and (if so) by how much." This is exciting news indeed.  

In addition, the Harvard Health Blog in their blog "Acupuncture is worth a try for chronic pain, "states that traditional "treatments like ice and heat, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and appropriate exercises can often ease the pain. But when they don’t, acupuncture is an option with a good track record that’s worth considering." As far as treatment frequency the Harvard Health Blog counsels its readers to "[p]lan on weekly treatments until you start to see a benefit, then gradually lengthen the time until the next visit." Which is consistent with the general treatment recommendation for most chronic conditions we at SCA were taught in acupuncture school .  

FYI, the general recommendation for acute conditions is 6 to 8 treatments with the spacing between treatments determined by severity of the symptoms i.e if it hurts more, come in more often; hurts less, come in less often. However, the Harvard Health Blog also informs its readers that private "treatments range from $65 to $125 per session," which we at SCA know is out of the price range for most working people particularly as the HHB continues that "Private insurers usually don’t pay for it, nor do Medicare or Medicaid." Fortunately, SCA remains committed to the community acupuncture model. Our goal is offer people as much acupuncture as they need at a price they can afford in order to facilitate better health and wellness.

in good health,

Sean@SCA

Sources:

http://acupuncturebalancedhealth.com/pain-management-september-is-pain-awareness-month/

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/acupuncture/introduction

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/acupuncture-is-worth-a-try-for-chronic-pain-201304016042

https://www.pocacoop.com/what-is-ca-long-answer

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