Acupuncture is a Safe and Non-Pharmacological Treatment for Pain
Many seniors suffer from pain and chronic pain is bad for the brain. No one can be expected to live with pain, but many of the medications used to treat pain have dangerous side effects. One safe non-pharmacological alternative to treating pain in seniors is acupuncture. Acupuncture is a process where tiny needles are inserted at certain nerve points in the body and left there for 20 minutes, while the patient lies down, relaxing and sometimes listening to soothing music. Acupuncture has been scientifically proven to not only lessen pain, but it can speed up healing in many cases. The insertion of the needles does not usually cause pain.
Pain Killers have Dangerous Side-Effects
Chronic pain is a major problem for many seniors and many of the pain killers they take whether from over-the-counter drugs they buy themselves or from drugs prescribed by their doctors have dangerous side effects. For instance non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) like ibuprofen can cause serious damage to the heart, liver and kidneys plus hearing and vision loss. They can also cause bleeding in the stomach and more complications and side-effects.
Acupuncture usually Shows Results after Five Treatments.
Acupuncture, however, does not instantly stop pain on the first treatment. It usually takes at least 5 treatments for it to work, so seniors may still have to take their pain killers for a while.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Acupuncture has been a treatment process in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for thousands of years and began around 100 BCE. Today in China, sometimes full surgical operations take place without anesthesia, but only with acupuncture that stops pain in the nerves and/or puts the patient to sleep.
Therapists Need to be Licensed
Acupuncture therapists have to be specially trained and licensed, although each state has its own criteria for licensing. In some states only physicians or chiropractors are allowed to practice acupuncture. Acupuncture is usually very safe as long as the therapist uses one-time only disposable needles.
Orthopedic and Neurological Problems
The majority of people who seek treatment by acupuncture are looking for pain relief mainly for orthopedic problems like knee, carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, shoulder and lower back pain and more. Also, many seek treatment for headaches especially migraines. Acupuncture has been especially effective for neurological pain, neuralgias and post herpetic neuralgia (PHN) from shingles herpes zoster. Acupuncture can help seniors suffering from osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. For seniors with osteoporosis, manipulation treatments of the spine to relieve pain can be dangerous, as their bones are brittle and porous and could possibly fracture. However, acupuncture puts no pressure whatsoever on any of the bones or joints.
Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in stroke rehabilitation.
Some insurance policies cover acupuncture treatments, although some may need a referral from a physician.
Acupuncture at Care and Rehabilitation Facilities
Some rehabilitation and care facilities have arrangements for acupuncture treatments or are attached to pain clinics where acupuncture is practiced.
Many seniors are in need of treatment for chronic pain and treatment by pain-killing drugs, but these often have very dangerous side effects. Acupuncture is a safe alternative non-drug treatment and is especially useful for orthopedic and neurological pain.