Acupuncture - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Acupuncture is a type of traditional Chinese medicine, an ancient strategy in which very thin needles are inserted into different parts of the body.


How does acupuncture work?


The practice of traditional acupuncture is based on the idea that the human body is filled with a force, a life-giving force called Qi (pronounced, "chee"), which flows through the human body in pathways known as “meridians”. It is believed that if Qi flows in the right direction, a person remains healthy, and if the flow of Qi is disturbed, illness occurs. Acupuncture helps restore the flow of Qi.


Modern-day acupuncture is usually done after a clinical diagnosis and involves stimulating different sensory nerves with needles which results in the release of pain-killing chemicals called endorphins. 


What are the Uses of Acupuncture?


Acupuncture is used for a wide variety of conditions such as:


  • Tension Headaches

  • Migraines

  • Neck Pain

  • Joint Pain

  • Dental Pain

  • Postoperative Pain

  • Osteoarthritis

  • Menstrual Cramps

  • Labor Pain

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Sleep Problems Like Insomnia

  • Hypertension

  • Allergies


How is Acupuncture Done?


Acupuncture may seem scary, but it does not cause much discomfort. During the procedure, the acupuncturist- the person who performs the acupuncture, will choose the acupuncture points where the needles will be inserted. They will let you know where they will insert the needles and if any clothing needs to be removed. 


Needle insertion does not cause much pain except slight discomfort. If you feel extreme pain, let your acupuncturist know right away. They may insert the needles to different levels of depth in the skin and muscles.


After inserting the needles, your acupuncturist may move or twirl the needle. After 10 to 20 minutes, your acupuncturist may remove the needles. After the removal of needles, there is little to no discomfort for a short time. However, some people may experience some side effects.


Side effects of acupuncture:


Some people may experience side effects after acupuncture which may go after a short while such as:


  • Feeling dizzy 

  • Fatigue

  • Soreness

  • Pain on the site where the needles were inserted

  • Bleeding from the needle insertion site

  • Exacerbation of the pre-existing pain

  • Feeling drowsy


Contraindications of Acupuncture:


Acupuncture may be contraindicated in different conditions such as:


Pregnancy: Though acupuncture can be safely done during pregnancy, depending on different sites, acupuncture can stimulate uterine contractions and may cause premature labor to start.


Infection at the acupuncture site: If you already have an infection at the site where needles are to be inserted, acupuncture is usually avoided until the infection is cleared up.


Metal allergy: If you are allergic to metals, the needle can provoke an allergic response, making matters worse.


Bleeding disorders: In bleeding disorders like hemophilia, there is a problem with clotting blood which can result in bleeding from the acupuncture site.


Conclusion


Acupuncture is a very ancient practice and has been studied for many centuries. The benefits of acupuncture vary from person to person. Some people find great relief after acupuncture, while some people may not benefit from it. If you have any conditions in which acupuncture may be contraindicated, it is best to consult your acupuncturist before getting the procedure done.

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