The practice of acupuncture has helped many people relieve lower back pain, migraines, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, and arthritis. “When performed by a trained practitioner, the practice is safe,” says Jessica Baker, D.O., primary care physician who also performs acupuncture at
Holy Redeemer Family Medicine, located at Holy Redeemer HealthCare at Bensalem.
A variety of studies have shown that:
- Acupuncture may ease chronic back pain better than analgesic medicines.
- Patients with arthritis pain and tenderness felt much better after eight sessions of acupuncture over 11 weeks.
- Patients who had a molar removed felt much less pain for a longer time with acupuncture sessions after surgery.
- More than three-quarters of patients with diabetes-related pain felt less pain with acupuncture. Many also were able to stop or reduce their pain medication.
“It’s not clear yet how acupuncture works to relieve pain,” Dr. Baker says. According to traditional Chinese medicine, the human body has acupuncture points that connect pathways. “It is believed that acupuncture helps restore the body’s natural energy flows between these pathways,” she adds.
However, Western researchers believe that acupuncture may trigger the brain and central nervous system to release endorphins. These chemicals are the body’s natural painkillers. Acupuncture may also help stimulate other brain chemicals that can lessen pain and inflammation.
“An advantage of acupuncture is that there are fewer side effects than from many prescribed pain medications,” Dr. Baker notes. “And for those who have chronic pain and cannot find relief in traditional medicine, acupuncture may be a solution.”
The term acupuncture refers to a range of methods. Some use fine needles or electrodes; others also use herbs, heat, massage, and lasers. In addition to pain, acupuncture also has been shown to help with nausea, anxiety, depression, asthma, and addiction control.
If you decide that acupuncture may be right for you, look for an experienced, licensed practitioner—a doctor or professional who has trained at an accredited school.
What to Expect from an Acupuncture Session
Depending on the condition you have, an acupuncturist may insert between four to 20 hair-thin needles under your skin. You should feel almost no pain from the needles. In fact, significant pain is a sign the procedure is not being performed correctly.
Many people say they find acupuncture to be a relaxing experience. Acupuncture typically requires several sessions. If after six or eight sessions you don’t feel better, it may not work for you.
Needles are usually left in for 10 to 30 minutes and may be stimulated manually or electrically. Lasers are sometimes used instead of needles.
For Relief Now
To make an appointment with Dr. Baker, call 215-914-4444 or click here to learn more about her practice.