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Acupuncture and Chronic Pain

Acupuncture and Chronic Pain

Chronic Pain

Recently a patient informed me that their pain clinic was closing, another informed me that her treatment had been restricted – both times the consultants who told them this was very distressed to be letting their patients down, through no fault of their own – but through NHS changes most likely looking at targets and budgets. Unfortunately, people do not stop having chronic pain, therefore, management of their conditions are so important.

With so many NHS Pain Clinic’s closing there is a need to help many people. This is where traditional five element acupuncture comes in, we are here to help do suffer in pain there are ways to manage your pain.

In Southwell Acupuncture Clinic over the last 24 years I have treated many patients with chronic pain of many kinds and helped them, treating the whole person not just their pain.

Persistent (chronic) pain is a widespread problem that affects around 8 million people of all ages in the UK (Chronic Pain Policy 2010). In 22% of cases, chronic pain leads to depression, and some 25% of those diagnosed with chronic pain go on to lose their jobs (Chronic Pain Policy 2010). In fact, around £3.8 billion a year is spent on incapacity benefit payments to those diagnosed with chronic pain (Chronic Pain Policy 2010).
The International Association for the Study of Pain has defined pain as an unpleasant sensory or emotional experience resulting from actual or potential tissue damage. Chronic pain may be defined as pain that lasts beyond the usual course of the acute disease or expected time of healing, and it may continue indefinitely.

Typical chronic pain conditions include


rheumatoid arthritis;

low back, shoulder and neck pain;

headache and migraine;

cancer pain;


neuropathic pain (e.g. sciatica, trigeminal neuralgia, post herpetic neuralgia);

chronic overuse conditions (e.g. tendonitis);

chronic visceral pain (e.g. irritable bowel syndrome, interstitial cystitis, endometriosis)

How acupuncture can help

In general, acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system and cause the release of neurochemical messenger molecules. The resulting biochemical changes influence the body’s homeostatic mechanisms, thus promoting physical and emotional well-being. Stimulation of certain acupuncture points has been shown to affect areas of the brain that are known to reduce sensitivity to pain and stress, as well as promoting relaxation and deactivating the ‘analytical’ brain, which is responsible for anxiety (Wu 1999).

That is the research information my experience shows me that a condition is more than just the pain is the stress not working, of not being able to drive or do day to day tasks, not sleeping well, generally feeling unwell and feeling like they cannot cope and much more…individual to each person.

Pain affects every part of your being and each person in a different way, this is the beauty of traditional five element acupuncture – we treat the whole person not just the pain.

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