Chronically Painful Conditions and the Role of Acupuncture
For those suffering from chronic conditions like fibromyalgia and long COVID, pain can become a part of your daily life. Take the kids to school: pain. Walk the dog: pain. Go to the office: pain. Fall asleep: pain. Pain is always there. It can be difficult for those without chronic pain to understand what it is like to live in almost constant and sometimes debilitating pain. Drugs and certain medications may offer some relief but at what cost? Some pain-relieving drugs can result in a sort of brain fog or feeling like you aren’t all there. Pain can make you feel like you’re missing out, but so can being on heavy pain medication.
Acupuncture and Fibromyalgia
Traditional Chinese medicine has touted the effects of acupuncture for thousands of years. Only recently has Western medicine caught up and begin to study the phenomenon. Acupuncture is the process of inserting very tiny needles into the skin at strategic points on the body. While it can be used to increase a person’s overall wellness and help with stress management, it is most commonly used in Chinese medicine to treat pain.
Several small studies have shown that acupuncture can provide some pain relief for chronically painful conditions such as fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia can cause widespread pain, fatigue, and sleep problems. Some research indicates that acupuncture may trigger the release of certain chemicals like endogenous opioids. A flood of these chemicals from the central nervous system may help tackle chronic pain in fibromyalgia sufferers.
Acupuncture and Long COVID
The more we learn about the effects of COVID-19, the more frightening the disease appears. Some people infected with the virus report symptoms long after the disease has run its course. Brain fog, shortness of breath, and pain are some of the most common complaints. Studies are now being conducted to find out if the pain-dulling properties of acupuncture can be used to help people with painful COVID symptoms. One study suggests that acupuncture may help suppress inflammation and improve nervous system function in those impacted by the effects of COVID.
One of the complications of COVID is the cytokine storm. A cytokine storm is an uncontrolled inflammatory response by the body’s immune system. Inflammatory cytokines are suddenly produced en masse. These cytokines can start to attack healthy cells, not just the virus, and overwhelm the body. A cytokine storm can result in organ damage and even organ failure. A study out of Harvard Medical School found that acupuncture helps reduce inflammation in mice and tame these cytokine storms.
Chronic pain can impact every facet of a person’s life, not just their physical being. Living with chronic pain can be demoralizing and depressing. Conditions like fibromyalgia and long COVID don’t leave physical marks, so it can be hard for friends and loved ones to understand your invisible pain.
At Jersey Premier Pain, we understand what you are feeling. It is why we have an entire practice devoted to helping people holistically manage their pain. Acupuncture is one of the ways we help our patients experience fulfilling and pain-free lives. If you are interested in the pain-relieving effects of acupuncture or other holistic approaches to managing pain, contact us today at 201-386-8800. Our knowledgeable practitioners can thoughtfully craft a pain management plan that is specifically tailored to your needs.