Acupuncture Pain Management
If you’ve never had acupuncture pain management treatment before, the idea of needle insertion can be off-putting; however, knowing what to expect can help to quell any fears or concerns that you may have.
Prior to your first appointment, you will be asked to provide a history of your health. The acupuncturist will begin by asking questions that relate to your health, including any injuries you have sustained and/or illness you have been diagnosed with, your diet, your stress levels, any medications you may be taking, and other pertinent questions. You may also be asked questions that relate to your emotional well-being, how you normally respond to changes in seasons and temperatures, and about any particular foods that you like and dislike. Of course, you will also be asked to describe the pain you are experiencing, including the cause (if known), the severity, the effects it has had on your overall health and well-being, how long you have been suffering, and what type of treatments you have tried. Be sure to answer all questions truthfully, as the information you provide will help the acupuncturist create a treatment plan that will be customized to your unique needs.
In addition to taking a health history, the acupuncturist will also perform a thorough physical exam; however, this exam will likely be different than what you would expect from a visit with a doctor that practices Western medicine. For example, your physical appearance, including your complexion, the color and coating of your tongue, and even your voice, will be carefully assessed. The practitioner will also check your pulse at three different points on each wrist, recording the rhythm, strength, and quality. In ancient Chinese medicine, the appearance of the tongue and the state of the pulse are a reflection of the health of your organs, as well as your meridians (the invisible energy channels that your life force flows through).
Your acupuncturist will use the information that he or she gathered during your initial assessment to determine the most effective treatment approach. This will include, of course, the appropriate acupuncture points for needle insertion. While the amount varies and depends on the type of pain you are experiencing and any health concerns that you may have, as few as six to as many as 20 or more acupuncture pain management needles may be used during each session.
During your session, you will be asked to lie on a table in a private room. The acupuncture points will be accessed, and sterile, thin needles will be inserted shallowly into these points, just below the surface of your skin. Once inserted, adjustments to the needles may be made. The needles will remain in place for an amount of time that your acupuncturist deems appropriate, and you will be assessed throughout the treatment.
Once the treatment has ended, the practitioner will slowly remove the needles. You’ll be asked how you are feeling and will be invited to sit and relax for a period of time. You may return to your normal routine after your appointment; however, to experience the full benefits, making it easy for the remainder of the day is recommended. Many people report pain relief after their first appointment, but a series of treatments are often needed to fully restore the balance of qi and achieve proper health.
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