Acupuncture may be the solution to your chronic pain. There are various treatments besides opioids and acupuncture is proven to be one of them. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that opioids for chronic, non-cancer pain, show just small improvements in pain and physical function with increased risk of vomiting compared to placebo. The study also compared the effects of opioids to non-opioid alternatives and there is evidence to suggest that the benefit for pain and functioning is similar. However, acupuncture is without the side-effects of non-opioids, like NSAIDs.
Some folks who've been on opioids for a long time note that when they stop taking them their pain increases, so they assume the medication must be helping with their pain, and swear by these medications. However, after discontinuing opioids, it takes the body 3 to 5 days to start producing its own natural opioids which are suppressed when taking exogenous opioid medications. Opioids also activate microglial cells in the brain, which actually promotes pain and inflammation, and this is behind the tolerance, dependence and respiratory depression issues associated with opioids. In other words, long term opioid use INCREASES pain and inflammation!
Dr. Sarah is a naturopathic doctor & acupuncturist at Collective Health Center in Leesburg Virginia. She is an expert in natural medicine and enjoys working with both healthy patients looking to optimize their health and with those with chronic disease and pain looking to turn their situation around. Learn more by filling out the form below.