Pain Management

The Natural Pain Reliever

Pain management is something that most Americans have to deal with on a daily basis. The problem that most people with pain issues find during this process, is that western medicine has created a management strategy that only provides short term relief. For instance, if you go to your doctor with shoulder or back pain issues, they will give you a cortisone shot and prescriptions for anti-inflammatory pills and pain medication. There is no part of this prescribed solution that is designed for long-term relief. The cortisone shot will at best reduce your pain level for 72 hours. While the anti-inflammatory pills and pain medication may provide some relief, neither target the pain area of the body nor do they work to promote the body’s ability to self-heal, which results in the person with the pain issue to become dependent on these medicines to feel any relief. Unlike the western approach, acupuncture focuses on pinpointing the pain area and triggering the body’s natural pain response system.

In order to fully understand how acupuncture’s nuanced approach can provide permanent pain relief, you must first take a step back to understand your body’s natural pain relief process. When an injury occurs, the nerves in that area send a signal to alert the brain that there is a problem in that part of the body. Then, the brain responds by creating a guarding reflex in and around that problem area, which makes it harder for you to move that part of your body to prevent re-injury. Next, the brain will restrict the blood flow in that region, as a precaution as the brain is still unsure at this point what the root cause of the pain is and it doesn’t want to risk spreading a potential toxin throughout the body, which would occur if the pain was from something poisonous like a snake bite. Once the inflammation has gone down, the body begins the final stage of the healing process. First, the brain will signal the release of neurotransmitters, chemicals naturally produced in the body, to kill the pain in the problem area. Then, the brain will gradually decrease the guarding reflex, which will result in an increase in range of motion and muscle function in the area. Finally, the brain signals for blood flow to return the healing area.

          While the body can heal itself naturally, in some cases, the body is unable to signal to the brain all of the information it needs to properly respond to pain, which is when one will experience chronic pain. The cause of this failing of the body, is due to the nerves surrounding the pain area being too weak to pinpoint exactly where the pain is located to signal to the brain to start the final stage of the healing process. When this occurs, acupuncture becomes the best form of treatment, as acupuncture stimulates the nerve nodes, concentrated areas of nerves, to signal the brain to release endorphins, the body’s natural pain killer, to the pain area. This signal also restores blood flow and increases the range of motion of the affected region. Since the nerves in this area are still weak, after a few days they will need to be restarted. Acupuncture is most effective, when it is provided on an on-going basis, until the body re-establishes its normal functioning of the nerve pathways throughout the body.

          The acupuncture practice at International Wellness Center takes the healing effects of acupuncture to the next level. Dr. Zhou has been practicing for over 30 years, and throughout that time, he has created powerful herbal plaster to maximize the effectiveness of the acupuncture treatments. Dr. Zhou follows the traditional acupuncture teachings, and incorporates the use of moxibustion, which is when stimulating heat, through smoldering herbs, is applied onto the needle over the acupoints. Moxibustion helps stimulate the signal to the brain to send endorphins to a specific area, which provides the patient with increased pain relief. After treatment, Dr. Zhou will apply his signature herbal patch, which he has perfected of the past 30 years, to the afflicted area to promote anti-inflammation in the region between treatments. Once the treatments have been completed, the patient will not only be pain free, but their circulation will have improved, which is important as circulation is a necessary component in maintaining good health.