Acupuncture can help with acute or chronic pain. The first thing I tell people when they ask how effective acupuncture will be for their pain is, “It depends on the cause and how long you have been suffering.” The sooner you get in for some treatment the better. If you injure yourself, my hope is that you will seek the proper first aid care first, and then start to seek treatment within the first week. If it is a major injury, I advise you to take advantage of our medical system and get some tests, x-rays, etc to be sure there is no serious underlying issue that will cause you more long-term problems.
If you have a simple injury, like a sprain, strain or an overuse injury, book an appointment anytime after the first 24 hours. I can often help to alleviate the pain and inflammation almost immediately.
If you have chronic or ongoing pain, I can still help you, but it may take a little longer. When you have chronic pain, your body reacts by tightening up and trying to immobilize you. It can take a lot more work to get through those tight muscles to the source of the problem. Our general rule of thumb is, it is going to take at least 1 treatment for every year you have had the pain.
Muscle and tendon pain is easier to work with than joint pain. We call it “soft tissue” work. There are some cases where we end up “managing” the pain rather than eliminating it completely. In this case, it may be that there is underlying damage in the body, that we can’t repair. For example, osteoarthritis. If the cartilage in your joints has disintegrated, (like in my knees!) acupuncture can’t magically rebuild the cartilage, but we can help to keep the joints moving, decrease pain and inflammation, and decrease the need for oral medications and their nasty side-effects. We can also help to slow down further deterioration.
Another example would be degenerated or damaged discs in the spine. We can’t regrow discs, but we can help manage the pain. Especially if you are on a waiting list for surgery. Acupuncture can help you to stay more comfortable and active until you can get the medical care you need.
Acupuncture is also great for recovery from surgery. It can help to decrease the after pain and speed up your recovery.