Pain affects us all. It is an exhausting, debilitating and demoralising experience, that can often lead to further complications as the body seeks to cope or compensate. Pain, as defined by the International Association for the Study of Pain, is ‘an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described by the patient in terms of such damage.’ However, pain may not always be a signal of tissue damage or injury. Pain can also come from a functional disturbance in the nervous system.
What is pain?
There are two primary types of pain. Acute pain and chronic pain.
is defined as pain triggered by inflammation, tissue damage, injury, illness or recent surgery. Pain sites are often accompanied by swelling, increased local temperature, swelling and lymphatic congestion, restricted mobility and flexibility. Acute pain is usually eased after the underlying cause is treated or has been resolved.
may continue after the primary injury or stress has been removed, and occupy the body for weeks, months or years. The need to stop the pain can make some sufferers drug dependent, or may lead others to have repeated surgery or intervention, or to resort to other invasive and debilitating procedures, often at a stage when it might be treated naturally with alternative medicine. This chronic pain can overwhelm all other symptoms, creating a vicious cycle of drug dependency, sleeplessness, fatigue and low mood. This pain cycle can become a primary problem in itself, overloading and exhausting the nervous system, diminishing appetite, leading to exhaustion, irritability or depression, as well developing secondary hypersensitivities to otherwise low-level triggers. It can affect all aspects of a person’s life. Many patients suffer from chronic pain without any past injury or evidence of a previous illness.
Treating Pain with Acupuncture:
Western medicine commonly treats pain by suppressing the brain’s pain receptors with over the counter or prescription drugs. NSAIDs (non-steroidal-anti-inflammatories) commonly used to alleviate pain, provide short-term or limited relief only. Pain relief is chemically induced by blocking the production of pain-creating substances called prostaglandins. However, aside from creating a pain response, prostaglandins are also vasodilators, which actively help to enhance circulation. Inhibiting their production may have the harmful side effect of decreasing blood supply to the muscles, joints, ligamentis and fascia, which ultimately slows or inhibits the recovering process as well as having common side-effects to the gut.
Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture treats the body gently, holistically and naturally. Treatment helps to stimulate, nourish and calm the central nervous system, which results in the natural release of the body’s own neuro-chemicals, to supply the muscles, spinal cord and brain. Recent cutting edge research evidences how acupuncture actively and positively influences the brain matrix in the brain, as well as activating the body’s self-regulating homeostatic systems, stimulating its natural healing abilities including improved circulation, immune function and promoting physical and emotional well-being, through the release of its natural biochemical agents. As the circulation of blood and fluid through the tissues improve, and toxicity and lymphatic congestion is cleansed from the problem areas, muscle relaxation occurs and pain is reduced. This process is vital for effective and lasting pain relief, as the proper circulation of blood and fluid, tissue nourishment and neural supply, also ensures the structures are properly protected, also eliminating muscle fatigue and pain-causing substances and by-products such as lactic acid.
Managing chronic pain with Acupuncture:
Regular acupuncture can also help us manage chronic pain. The ‘Gate Control’ theory of pain asserts that certain stimulus, such as acupuncture (including auricular acupuncture and Battlefield Acupuncture taught by US paramilitaries in global war zones, and now used in the Well body Pain Clinic) may actually educate the body to self-regulate its pain responses. Acupuncture can activate nerves that do not transmit pain, and can also block signals from pain fibres, thereby inhibiting the perception of pain. This specialist acupuncture for pain management can be used to help train the brain to control types and degrees of pain that are perceived, effectively blocking them from the body’s pain matrix. In other words, with acupuncture, the brain can be taught to turn off types of pain that that are not useful, or which can otherwise overload or disrupt an already sensitive central nervous system. This technique is of great use to overcome chronic pain cycles, and teaching the process of helping the body recover its internal balance.
Trauma, Pain & PTSD:
The Clinics also treat PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and may integrate gentle auricular Battlefield Acupuncture, used by paramilitaries across global war zones to alleviate the mental, physical and emotional effects of pain, trauma, and shock. Increasingly, PTSD is linked to childhood or early life experiences, with more recognised onset be triggered by later life events, the death of a spouse, child or parent or a high impact accident or injury. NADA protocol may also be used to help addiction based patterns including smoking. Please call to discuss in confidence.