“Acupuncture has the unique ability to relax muscles, increase circulation, reduce pain and promote healing”
The ancient Chinese healing method called acupuncture can relieve muscle and connective tissue related pain. Acupuncture is proven to be a very powerful tool in resolving acute and chronic pain. It is valuable therapy, which not only relieves pain but also actually helps muscles and joints to move smoothly and function harmoniously together.
The muscles, fascia, tendons and ligaments all work together to form the myofascial system. These components are all interconnected and dependent on each other for smooth movement of the body. If there is an injury or weakness within the system, then myofascial pain will exist and persist until the body heals itself or a modality such as acupuncture is utilized to help promote healing. Let’s better understand some of the mechanism of myofascial pain.
Understanding the Cycle of Myofascial Pain
One day you step off the curve the wrong way, sleep with your arm over your head, bend down to pick up an object or are involved in a motor vehicle accident. Whatever the situation, you realize that you are in pain and it is not going away. The injury has caused your muscles to remain contracted for too long or tendons and ligaments to remain overstretched for prolonged period of time. Blood flow becomes compromised and the myofascial tissue is deprived of oxygen and vital nutrients. The lymph no longer flows freely and toxic waste begins to accumulate. Muscle tissue becomes entangled as stagnant fluids put pressure on the fibers. Knot develop, pressing against nerve pathways and pain receptors are simulated. Pain is felt as the tissue screams out for relief.
Unfortunately if relief does not come after a period of time, then the immobilized myofascial tissue may contribute to more permanent orthopedic changes such as arthritics, disc problems and joint abnormalities. The predicament can become even more permanent. As muscle spasm and compressed nerve fire erratically. the sympathetic nervous system begins to work overtime. You may begin to feel irritable, nervous, and sleep may become difficult. The ping-pong effect of jittery energy and fatigue takes hold.
As the conscious mind focuses on the discomfort, the subconscious mind signals to the injured area to protect and splint the injury. Surrounding muscles tighten even more as a protective mechanism. Blood flow decreases, waste backs up, and nerves erratically fire even more. The vicious cycle of myofascial pain has begun. The pain creates more tension and more tension creates more pain.
How Acupuncture Works
Acupuncture can break this cycle of pain by stimulating the body’s intrinsic healing abilities to respond the injured area. While do not yet have the technology to fully understand exactly how acupuncture works, we are able to see a profound biochemical response when acupuncture needles are strategically placed in specific locations.
Human and animal research demonstrates promotes the production of alpha and beta endorphins, leu-and met-enkalphins, dynorphin A and B, serotonin, epinephrine, noradrenalin, dopamine, acetylcholine, substance P, adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), glycine, glutamic acid, the prostaglandins, and cyclic AMP and GMP. These substances include neurotransmitters which help to regulate nerve transmission and effect moods, endorphins and enkalphins which are credited with some of acupuncture’s pain relieving effects, Substance P assists in muscles relaxation. It also helps prompt natural anti-inflammatory steroids and prostaglandins to the area needled. There are many other chemical messengers which are triggered by acupuncture that are responsible for assisting the body to heals itself. Acupuncture treatment brings about homeostatic changes in the body and provokes a healing response.
The result of acupuncture treatment is an easing of myofascial restriction, therefore improving circulation, lymphatic drainage and nerve conduction. Muscle relax, connective tissue strengthens and pain is relieved. As the viscous cycle of myofascial pain subsides, the nervous system calms. Sleep and concentration immediately improves. It is important to understand that the pain relief from acupuncture is not predominantly from an analgesic effect but rather from increased blood flow, oxygen and nutrients to the injured area. Relief is felt as the healing process begins.
Miraculously, over 2,000 years ago the Chinese, without the benefit of surgical procedures, were able to map over 350 acupuncture points, which include a combination of muscular trigger points, connective tissue attachments (fibro-osseous junctions ), and visceral reflex points. Metaphors such as the term “meridians” were used to describe the unique interrelationships of the points and associated myofascial referral pain patters. “Qi” was also described to some extent as vital flow of blood, fluids, lymph, nutrients, oxygen and nerve conduction throughout our tissues. This unique understanding of how to stimulates the body’s own healing capacity is why acupuncture has successfully treated more people over the course of fifty centuries than the combined total of all other health sciences. both ancient and modern.
Acupuncture Gains Popularity
Acupuncture has been the basis for medical care of the quarter of the world’s population since the beginning of the recorded history. It was only recently introduce into the United States when the Nixon administration opened relations with the People’s Republic of China in 1971. Since then acupuncture has gained popularity in unprecedented proportions. Last year, over 15 millions people in United States and 1 billion people world-wide choose acupuncture for their health care needs.
The practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine is now licensed in 32 states and the District of Columbia. Over 10,000 licensed acupuncturists are estimated to be practicing in United States. Almost that many students are currently enrolled in acupuncture colleges. It has become one of the fastest growing health care professions world-wide.
Acupuncture is routinely used to treat injuries in Olympic and professional athletes. Even top thoroughbed racehorses use acupuncture on a regular basis to improve their performance. According to a recent National Institute of Health Panel, clinical studies have shown that acupuncture is helpful in treating addiction, headaches, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, lower back pain and carpel tunnel syndrome. In addition, the World Health Organization Lists more than 40 conditions for which acupuncture may be used.
As it gains acceptance as a valuable adjunctive therapy to modern medicine, more and more clinics, hospitals and pain centers are utilizing this valuable therapy. Presently there are over 120 acupuncturist in the Sarasota/Bradenton area which is a real indication of its fast growth and popularity. Many physicians and health care practitioners refers their patients to Acupuncture Center of Bradenton. They have trust and confidence in Dr. Greenberg’s experience and expertise in treating chronic pain.