Sea Girt Spine and Rehabilitation offers a variety of drug-free, holistic healthcare modalities for the treatment of neck pain. These include chiropractic care and physical therapy. In order to alleviate many of the symptoms of the various conditions that cause neck pain, our office has incorporated acupuncture into programs of rehabilitation for total mind/body relief of suffering.
For example, an auto accident victim may be suffering from whiplash (damage to the soft tissues of the cervical spine), causing neck pain and other symptoms. Together, chiropractic and physical therapy work to correct the cause of pain while promoting the normal alignment and movement of the neck. Acupuncture would be incorporated into a post-accident program of care for pain relief, accelerated healing, and as a method of easing some of the emotional symptoms associated with this type of trauma.
Understanding Acupuncture for Pain Relief
A practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture is based on the concept that a ‘life force’ known as Qi must flow freely and in perfect balance throughout the body. Qi travels along meridian pathways, a series of interconnecting acupuncture points which relate to the organs or various systems of organs. Pain and general disorder within the body occur when Qi is unbalanced, deficient, or blocked. Acupuncture helps to ensure that the body maintains a natural, healthy equilibrium. It does so by stimulating the acupuncture points along the meridians and rebalancing the flow of Qi.
Acupuncture is a drug-free method of treating a number of painful disorders, neck pain included. This ancient practice helps by stimulating the body in ways that produce a neurochemical effect—an effect that promotes the release of certain neurotransmitters. Serotonin, for example, interrupts pain signals before they reach the brain. It is also responsible for a wide range of functions, including mood and digestion. Acupuncture also prompts the release of naturally-occurring opiate-like chemicals (known as endogenous opioids).
Avoiding or Reducing the use of Drugs with Acupuncture
By helping the body harness its own natural abilities to fight pain, anxiety, and other unpleasant symptoms, acupuncture helps patients to rely less on medications. Analgesics—a category which includes both over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and prescribed drugs—are particularly harmful for the body.
The most common OTC medicines are widely and incorrectly thought to be safe. However, long-term or incorrect use of such drugs (including aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen) can cause serious health problems. Liver damage (often associated with acetaminophen) as well as kidney problems and GI bleeding (ibuprofen, aspirin) are common issues associated with such medicines.
The dangers of long-term prescription painkillers are probably more well-known. These medicines not only damage the body, but they also place patients at risk for physical dependency or addiction.
To learn more about drug-free methods of fighting pain, contact our office to schedule a time to meet with our Sea Girt acupuncturist.