Dry Needling and acupuncture for chronic pain relief

Sufferers of pain are not masochists. Trying to relieve chronic muscular, skin, and joint pain usually can be masochistic. From hot creams to pills with nasty side-effects and to surgeries with marginal success, people with chronic pain go through many pains to relieve the unbelievable. What about needles as in Dry Needling and acupuncture for pain relief? Yikes! More pain? Actually many see it as longer-term relief.

Chronic pain often comes from physical sources. The lingering may also affect emotional, psychic, and energy.

Some say there’s nothing worse than chronic pain. From pharmacies, there are wide varieties of topical and oral analgesics to help sufferers. Doctors also have stronger prescription drugs for fighting inflammation…purportedly one of the triggers of muscular, nerve, and joint pains. Opioids are also prescribed to deaden pain but also nullify most aspects of living. Then there are surgical procedures. These may average only about 75+% accuracy in fixing the problem.

Chronic pain is not new. For thousands of years, Asian cultures have built philosophies that pain is derived from blocked energies. Acupuncture has been one that has survived through to our present era. Acupuncture uses needles placed at energy meridians. Some consider it kinky. Many see it as no alternative. Others swear by therapeutic validity. Many health and wellness centers add acupuncture to their menus of care options. In the West, it is called Dry-Needling.

Based on traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture seeks to balance one’s energy flow — chi — through pathways known as meridians in the body.

Dry needling employs a Western philosophy of attacking pain trigger points, the bands of tight fascia or muscle commonly known as knots.

Originally, anesthesia was injected through hypodermic needles. Researchers discovered it was the needles, not the medication, that did the work. Eventually, doctors and therapists switched to the very thin acupuncture — or dry — needles.

After needles are inserted, an electrical stimulation unit is connected by alligator clips.

The needles act like probes.The electric current does the magic.

The muscles twitch under the low current, sometimes making the needles appear to bounce. What’s happening is knotted muscle is being released, then the electrical stimulation clenches and unclenches the muscle hundreds of times to work out kinks and provide relief.

The vibrations are similar to using a TENS unit — transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation — in which the doctor or therapist places sticky pads on the target area.

Pain management is a medical discipline, They use painful steroid injections to combat some pain areas. An epidural steroid injection (ESI) is a minimally invasive procedure that can help relieve neck, arm, back, and leg pain caused by inflamed spinal nerves. ESI may be performed to relieve pain caused by spinal stenosis, spondylolysis, or disc herniation.Under X-ray guidance, a small needle is then advanced into the epidural space. Pressure is the usual sensation felt during this procedure. If pain is felt, more local anesthetic will be used. Epidural injections may last for averages of up to one year. Some found relief for up to 5 years. Research to determine the effectiveness of these treatments in the lumbar spine has shown average success rates between 50 percent and 90 percent. Side effects vary from one person to another.

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a relatively new procedure used to reduce pain under medical pain management. An electrical current produced by a radio wave is used to heat up a small area of nerve tissue, thereby decreasing pain signals from that specific area. RFA has proven to be a safe and effective way to treat some forms of pain. It also is generally well-tolerated, with very few associated complications. There is a slight risk of infection and bleeding at the insertion site. While treatment may be subjectively painful, new techniques are introduced for more accuracy and minimized pain. The healing process can take up to 2-4 weeks. Coolief is a newer version of RFA, claiming more comfort and reduced healing.

Pain management doctors also may prescribe a variety of drugs of different types that may help manage chronic pain.

Acupuncturists are not usually medically trained. They are trained by accupuncture schools. Some have rigorous standards and may take years to complete. The length of training at most schools is about three (3) years for acupuncture and four (4) years for Oriental medicine programs. The study of Oriental medicine includes both acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.

For example, Olympc champion Michael Phelps used Cupping, as a technique to prepare hus muscles. According to USA National Institutes of Health, Cupping is a practice used in traditional medicine in several parts of the world, including China and the Middle East. It involves creating suction on the skin using a glass, ceramic, bamboo, or plastic cup. Negative pressure is created in the cup either by applying a flame to the cup to remove oxygen before placing it on the skin or by attaching a suction device to the cup after it is placed on the skin. In “wet cupping,” the skin is pierced, and blood flows into the cup. “Dry cupping” doesn’t involve piercing the skin. Used as a mode of therapy by trained acupuncturists, there is little western scientific evidence to support claims.

There is no scientific proof that the meridians or acupuncture points exist, and it is hard to prove that they either do or do not, but numerous studies suggest that acupuncture works for some conditions. Some experts have used neuroscience to explain acupuncture and associations with neurotransmitters and brain processes. There is also little scientific evidence to support or deny.

Pharmacies devote aisles of analgesics to help reduce chronic pain. Few of these have long-lasting effect and many have uncomfortable side effects…replacing one pain with another,

Statistics show that 1 out of 5 people may sometime develop chronic pain. Generally, when drug companies aim to help solve the problem, they target the pain in several ways.

Pfizer-Lily is one of the leading sources of these drugs. They indicate that when injury or inflammation occurs, a number of biochemical mediators, including prostaglandins, cytokines, chemokines, neuropeptides, and nerve growth factor (NGF), are released. In conditions related to chronic musculoskeletal pain, such as osteoarthritis (OA), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), tendinitis, and chronic low back pain (CLBP), these mediators have been identified as key drivers of chronic pain.

Disease can also be the underlying cause of chronic pain. Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia are well-known culprits, but persistent pain may also be due to such ailments as cancer, multiple sclerosis, stomach ulcers, AIDS, and gallbladder disease. Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, neuralgia, and fibromyalgia are well-known culprits that trigger pain and are usually co-antagonists partnering the issue. Neuralgia is a sharp, shocking pain that follows the path of a nerve and is due to irritation or damage to the nerve. These nerves are found along the skeleton and impact muscles and joints in many ways.

Radiology has discovered several of the areas that may be catalysts and sources bring the pain. As nothing is 100%, the medical community seeks the least invasive methods to treat chronic pain. They use chiropractics and technologies to help reduce pain. Often something like fibromyalgia are more daunting as challenges. Fibromyalgia may be associated with hundreds of different source areas. And these are studied but it’s a slow process.

Chronic pain is not new. Acupuncture and dry needles were among the earliest attempts to cope or eliminate pain. Acupuncture was first mentioned and recorded in documents dating a few hundred years before the Common Era. Earlier instead of needles sharpened stones and long sharp bones were used around 6000 BCE for acupuncture treatment. Before stones, there may have been hands applying pressure (massage). Acupressure is a type of acupuncture. Both acupressure and acupuncture are based on same fundamental principle of acupoint activation across the meridians So chronic pain treatment may go back over 8000 years.

Today about 20% of people suffer from chronic pain. That’s more people than with diabetes or cardiovascular diseases.

Chronic pain differs from masochism as the pain is totally involuntary. A masochist is a person who is gratified by pain, degradation, etc., that is self-imposed or imposed by others…as an alternate lifestyle, according to the Diagnostic Statistic Manual (DSM). Chronic pain sufferers are most likely NOT masochists.

That does not debunk that chronic pain may not be mind induced. A pain disorder is chronic pain experienced by a patient in one or more areas, and is thought to be caused by psychological stress. The pain is often so severe that it disables the patient from proper functioning. Duration may be as short as a few days or as long as many years. Psychogenic pain is also known as psychological pain or depression. While psychogenic pain is primarily psychological, it is a very real type of chronic pain. … With psychogenic pain, however, there is often no physical cause to find and treat.

Chronic pain is a health condition that many still admit is shrouded by inconclusive sources. The belief that having sterile needles inserted, or electric nerve impulses probed are among many ways people seek to end chronic pain. Alas, there’s no conclusive answer. There are possible methods and acupuncture is among the oldest. Physical or psychological sourced, seeking help is often filled with risks that may be worse than the pain you are already experiencing.

Solutions are anti-masochistic attempts to be pain-free. Only one such solution may eliminate chronic pain. Some seek it. Since 1999, suicide rates have steadily increased, and suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. The prevalence of chronic or severe pain has also risen, and researchers believe it could be contributing to the rise in suicide rates. It caught the attention of the CDC or Centers of Disease Control.

During the study period, the CDC identified 123,181 individuals who died by suicide, including 10,789 who experienced chronic pain. From 2003 to 2014, the percentage of suicides with chronic pain rose from 7.4 percent to 10.2 percent. Not a wide variance range so more studies are needed to see how prevalent chronic pain is to suicide rates.

Chronic pain sufferers, as long as there remain remedies for chronic pain. seek them out. It is yet another important reason why national health insurance is necessary. Research suggests that anywhere from 30 to 50% of people with chronic pain also struggle with depression or anxiety. Because chronic pain can affect an employee’s work performance and job satisfaction, it’s important that chronic pain is addressed and accommodated at a company. In 2012, NCBI through PubMed, posted a study conclusion: The body of evidence identified from the systematic review indicates that CP has a substantial negative impact on work-related outcomes, supporting the importance of interventions to reduce the burden of CP. Well-designed prospective studies specifically assessing the direct consequences of CP on employment are needed to confirm these findings.

While research is sparse, CP or Chronic Pain is an issue that USA needs to address. In an era where Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is prevalent beyond veterans. A 2013 study found that illness-focused pain coping mediated the relationship between post traumatic stress disorder and both pain interference and pain severity.

Chronic pains are issues that need to be thoroughly examined. Sometimes untraditional traditions need to be included in research.

Standing is healthier to fight sedentary lifestyle?

Is your workplace killing you? It’s a possibility. At 8-hours per day, work covers one-third of your life. It contributes to a sedentary lifestyle that is further enhanced at home. Thoughts are rising about how a sedentary lifestyle may be hazardous to your health. Dong something about it is easier said than done. Yet, each day you wait may result in some toxicity that is avoidable. Is standing healthier to fight a sedentary lifestyle? Are you ready to explore this further? The answers may surprise you.

It doesn’t take a lot of sense to figure out that there are several health implications due to more sedentary lifestyles. New studies are demonstrating how lower activity levels impact physiological activity in your body.

Physiology aims to understand the mechanisms of living – how living things work. Human physiology studies how our cells, muscles and organs work together, and how they interact. Changes and greater access to different modes of transportation and mechanics over the past 500 years may have affected human physiological systems. Some say they constitute the basis of new motion diseases and pains over the past few decades.

20th and 21st century technology improvements have radically changed lifestyle choices. More people rely on vehicular transportation than walking. People sit while listening to radio, watch TV, and “work” at their computer. Thankfully, mobile technology is helping take radio, TV, and computing features here and there but more people continue to sit. On the positive side, hand muscles may develop as more people text than speak on those mobile devices.

One recent study of young people, age 2 to 18 and their sedentary ways. Observations that the tested people spend 2–4 hours per day in screen-based behaviors and 5–10 hours per day sedentary. Some say that parents use TV as a form of babysitting. According to an article published by the American Association of Pediatrics, use of tablets is increasing among 6-month to 4-year age groups, sacrificing some other motion-related activities.

A relationship between sedentary behaviour and deleterious health consequences was noted as early as the 17th century by occupational physician Bernadino Ramazzini. Ramazzini catalogued how activity can change the make-up of nerves and muscles and the onsets of certain diseases. He is regarded as the father of occupational medicine by many.

Occupational medicine has become a multidisciplinary approach in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of workplace injuries and illnesses. Researchers in this field offered significant research in keyboard designs and the prevention of repetitive motion diseases affecting hands and forearms. Occupational medicine has explored and developed ergonomic approaches to prevent such diseases in offices and other work places. Some of those ergonomic approaches and recommendations are often not adopted by work areas or easily adapted by individuals.

The ramifications, however, are spreading wider beyond the scope of merely workplaces. Harvard researchers found in a recent February study involving more than 92,000 women that the more time participants spent sitting at work, driving, or watching TV, the greater their risk of dying from heart disease, cancer, or strokes. Basically, “too much sitting can lead to death” so excessive sedentary behaviors may be as threatening as smoking. It can also be addictive. Some believe that sedentarianism is an addictive disorder.

Many workplaces, where people spend approximately one-third of their lives, seemed interested in using work stands over traditional desks. One company, HubSpot, an inbound marketing and sales software company, purchased sit/stand desks that raise and lower with the push of a button for all 650 employees this year after staffers started asking for them. This simplistic and costly suggestion and implementation did not work as thought. Standing may burn more calories than sitting as hearts work harder to circulate blood upward. Standing also puts more strain on our veins, backs, and joints, especially if we’re overweight. This is why more chairs were introduced in workplaces over 100 years ago. Remember Bob Cratchett’s high desk in the Christmas Carol?

Prolonged standing causes health problems too. Plenty of studies show that it may significantly increase the risk of carotid atherosclerosis (a disease of the arteries in your neck) due to the extra load on your circulatory system to move blood to your brain. This may translate to the possibility of a stroke.

A study on economic costs of pain discussed that over 100 million people in the United States suffer from chronic pain from muscles and joints. The study found that the annual costs of pain were higher than the 2010 expenditures of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Finding sources of pain and treatments might be beyond most Americans through lack of adequate insurance and knowledge. Highly technological diagnostic tests may be used to pinpoint possible sources. Where there is no specific cause, doctors may provide a diagnosis of fibromyalgia or rheumatism. Fibromyalgia syndrome is a common and chronic muscular disorder characterized by widespread pain, diffuse tenderness, and a number of other symptoms. Rheumatism is often associated with arthritis but a more debilitating form. Both might be associated with sedentary lifestyles but may also result from accidents and other things. The problem is that both fibromyalgia and rheumatism are blanket terms that may consist of hundreds (if not thousands) of possible causes.

Apart from steroid and non-steroid analgesics, acupuncture, or Reiki, physical therapy is most often prescribed as a possible bridge to pain relief. Physical therapy is often called medical exercise and is used for a wide scope of pain and mobility disorders. The efficacy of physical therapy has been questioned and proven as beneficial to some, long-term patient compliance tends to drop dramatically after a few sessions.

Chiropractors often discuss that gravity is a constant stressor to possible back pain and certain postural conditions that are pain associated.

More research is being focused on the effects of sedentary behaviors. If chronic pains and sedentariness prove more positive, exercise therapy may prove positive. Of course, 30 minutes of exercise daily may not reverse the possible negatives of chronically sedentary conditions, it is better than zero. Overall, physical activity lifestyle changes have been examined and recommended as probable mediators that may reduce the effects of many hours and years of being mostly sedentary.

Age, gravity, furniture, and other variables may, through your lifetime, result in agony. You could sit through it or start moving – even walking habitually at a brisk pace for a longer time span each day. It’s easier to say and listen than doing.

It is likely that most healthcare providers will recommend activity and physical therapy. Do your homework. It is strongly advisable to undergo a thorough medical examination prior to beginning a physical activity regimen. Sedentary behaviors may be life threatening but activity may be shocking to your body’s age-old balancing systems called homeostasis or survival through stability. Finding a balance between sedentary and active has been established to help support longer living and less pain.

Pain management specialists are licensed medical doctors that deal with people who have difficulties or pain associated with moving. Clinical research is continually being conducted to help determine which pain management therapies are the most effective in treating back pain and neck pain. There are various diagnostic paths to find the sources that might be ailing you. Pain management specialists are most commonly found in the following disciplines:

•Physiatry (also called Physical medicine and rehabilitation) – MD
•Anesthesiology – MD
•Interventional radiology – MD
•Physical therapy (usually Ph.D.)

The most important consideration in looking for a pain management specialist is to find someone who has the training and experience to help you with your particular pain problem. You must also find one who is willing to interact with you in positive, productive ways. Generally, other pain specialists and therapists may be involved in the course of your treatment. Guess what? Most will be anti-sedentary. That is why you need to create a cooperative relationship with the pain-management specialist who is monitoring your course of treatment. If sedentary lifestyle behaviors are at the root of your problem, they can help (if you feel positive).

One form of activity you can do at your desk is Progressive Exercise and one of the promoters is a company that produces products many professional physical therapists use. Progressive resistance exercise (PRE) is a method of increasing the ability of muscles to generate force. TheraBand is a selection of large rubber bands (generally 3 to 5 feet long each), with varying resistance gradients classed by color. There are groups of exercises that you can do at your desk or on your couch. These devices are available by many online and fitness stores. If you are in a physical therapy treatment, it may be advisable to speak with your therapist about this about whether this might apply to your condition.

Altering your current everyday tasks to increase your physical activity, may be painful if irresponsible. Sitting and moving require attention and perseverance. The acts of movement integration to your living lifestyle require patience and positive attitudes. Are you ready?