Traditional Chinese Medicine and the Treatment of Pain
Dr. Maya Kuczma | Minute Read
Today Dr Karen Lam contributes to our blog with a post about the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine for the treatment of pain. Dr Karen Lam is a Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine as well as a Licensed Acupuncturist. She has been practicing for close to 20 years and has a special interest in fertility, woman’s health, anti-aging, and pain management.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory, pain is due to a blockage along the natural energetic pathways in the body, known as meridians. This disrupts the flow of Qi (energy), lymph, blood and communication in the area of blockage or to and from the injury area to the rest of the body.
Pain may be caused a couple of factors:
External factors – sports injuries, post-operative surgeries, work related injuries, motor vehicle accidents, and repetitive movement syndromes.
This type of pain usually comes from trauma to soft tissues, ligaments, tendons and muscles generally the result of from falls, blows, sprains/strains, and impacts. Most commonly, people seek acupuncture for physical pain, particularly shoulder, knee, and back pain.
Internal factors – long term illness, gynecological issues, digestive issues, emotional trauma and stress related issues.
This type of pain usually comes from a disruption to the normal balance within our bodies and can lead to a variety of painful symptoms, for example migraine headaches and menstrual cramps.
Pain results in the disruption of the healing process due to chronic inflammation. Inflammation impedes circulation and can cause short and long term imbalances to the natural energetic flow of Qi. Imbalances can lead to a compromised immune system and a under or over stimulated nervous/endocrine system.
Treatment with TCM components such as acupuncture and herbs can lessen pain by decreasing inflammation thus promoting healing and support for the immune and endocrine system. As well, TCM aims to eliminate blockages along meridians to enable Qi to flow freely.
Why Use Acupuncture for Back Pain?
The use of acupuncture to treat back pain has increased dramatically in the past few decades, based to a large degree on placebo-controlled studies that have validated it as a reliable method of back pain relief. The results of a recent study published in the Clinical Journal of Pain provide further proof that acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment for low-back pain, and that acupuncture can maintain positive outcomes for periods exceeding six months or longer without producing the negative side-effects that often accompany more traditional pain remedies such as anti-inflammatory steroids or pain medication.
Look for your friendly neighborhood provincially registered TCM/Acupuncturist for your individualized treatment to help with the aches and pains of life.