According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, almost 50,000 people die every year from opioid overdoses, more than 10 million misuse opioids in a given year, and opioids are a factor in 72% of overdose deaths. You hear about the opioid crisis on the nightly news frequently but what can be done to help people deal with chronic pain (the reason they are likely taking the opioids in the first place). Can acupuncture really help?
Acupuncture and Pain Relief
Chronic pain can be debilitating for those suffering from it and directly impacts quality of life. People often treat chronic pain with anti-inflammatory medications (both prescription and over-the-counter), physical therapy, or with ice and heat, but those options don’t always provide long lasting relief. Which is why people then seek out more and stronger medications to help deal with the chronic pain. This, in turn, can lead to drug dependence and an addiction to finding relief from the pain.
What acupuncture does best is not to merely address the pain, but to treat the underlying cause of the pain. For example, acupuncture is often indicated to treat chronic pain conditions that radiate pain along a nerve pathway, pain causing muscle spasms, inflammation, scar tissue, and pain that is located in multiple areas of the body. Stopping the cycle of chronic pain is the best way to begin to address the addition.
It’s important to acknowledge that many people who suffer from opioid additions and even those who overdose don’t fit the typical profile of a drug user. These are people who have suffered from injuries due to a car accident, workplace accident, or even a sports related injury. Injuries like these can cause chronic pain and require pain management. The road to addiction can happen without people even realizing it before it is too late.
Perhaps the first benefit acupuncture offers is that it does not introduce chemicals into the patient’s body. Acupuncture is a natural way to address chronic pain by detecting the underlying issue causing the pain. By the placement of the needles, your acupuncturist is activating the natural hormones in your body to initiate healing from within.
Acupuncture has been proven to alleviate stress, reduce inflammation, and improve mood without any chemical interference. This makes acupuncture a tremendous option for those suffering from opioid dependence. Those using opioids eventually develop a tolerance to them which requires larger doses to feel the desired effects. People become dependent on them and are often ashamed or simply desperate to alleviate the pain.
As an entirely holistic process and with thousands of studies in support of its use for a variety of conditions, acupuncture has become a trusted pain management option. Many leading national hospitals including Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Mayo Clinic, MD Anderson, Cleveland Clinic, and others offer acupuncture as part of various treatment programs. Some of the most trusted groups in the nation have endorsed the use of acupuncture, especially for treating chronic pain. These groups include the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Pain Society.
If you or someone you love is suffering from opioid dependency, give your local acupuncturist a call to make an appointment today. They will do a thorough health history and intake process to uncover the root of the problem, and not just mask the pain. End the cycle of addiction and pain with the natural healing properties acupuncture is known for.