1. Effects on the nervous system
The body responds to pain in varying degrees. Because the needles used for acupuncture aren’t serious enough to merit a full-on nervous response from your body, they’re thought to influence the nervous system in other ways. One theory is that the trigger points or meridians used in acupuncture actually help stimulate the nervous system by activating its response in a way that helps manage the pain.
Acupuncture may affect your brain by prompting it to react to specific trigger sites each time a needle is inserted, causing your nervous system to adjust or focus on that point rather than the active pain site. Again, these effects are very transient, but repeated treatments can provide relative short-term pain relief.
2. The release of neurotransmitters
Acupuncture can help reduce pain by activating the many hormones that are activated when the body perceives the presence of a needle. Your acupuncturist can stimulate the creation of hormones that help control the functioning of your nerve endings by placing needles in the right places.
Acupuncture may efficiently deceive the body into shutting off areas so that the patient doesn’t experience any pain by altering nerve endings. It’s vital to remember that this treatment is just temporary because neurotransmitters regenerate over time. Regular acupuncture treatments, on the other hand, can help the body condition itself to ignore or numb the pain.
3. Chemical discharge
Finally, when your body is wounded, acupuncture may stimulate the areas that release pain-relieving chemicals. These chemicals are normally only released after active or severe trauma, therefore chronic pain does not activate them. However, because needles have such a broad influence on the body, it’s more likely to respond by releasing these natural pain relievers.
While these pain medicines aren’t as potent as opioids like morphine, their compatibility with your body implies that regular acupuncture sessions can successfully condition their release. However, it suffers from the same problem in that, while it’s great for managing pain, it may be less efficient in the long run for general pain reduction.
Even though the actual mechanics of acupuncture are unknown, studies on its impact on persons suffering from chronic pain are quite encouraging. While acupuncture is not a major therapeutic option, there is enough evidence to suggest that patients consider it as an alternative to pain medication.