Of course, it is obvious that insurance companies are in the business to minimize their costs, escalate productivity and maximize profit. As a result, it is not uncommon or unlikely that our patients will, at some point, be denied coverage, only because the insurance carrier has deemed chiropractic, laser therapy, muscle release etc. to be ineffective or an unapproved treatment. Thus, it has been increasingly important to provide care that can resolve an issue with great expertise, as quickly and affordably as possible, which finally brings us to the title of this article.
Since 2007, after becoming certified in acupuncture, I have had the opportunity to see this treatment be a tremendous complimentary procedure to chiropractic, as well as to the other ancillary procedures that we utilize (please see previous articles). The best part is….theNEEDLE-LESS version, using laser as well as electric stimulation to the desired points has proven to be extremely effective! Acupuncture, so it appears, is a “system”rather than a “treatment” that can be carried out via a number of diverse applications, including pressure by a finger or even a car key; of course,having a background in anatomy as well as the points associated with the are as of concern is significantly helpful!
The World Health Organization (WHO), whose authority concerning health-related matters internationally cannot be challenged, has compiled a list of symptoms,syndromes, disease processes, pathologies, traumas and conditions that have definitely been proven as effectively treated by acupuncture. The WHO has also compiled a list of diseases, symptoms and conditions for which acupuncture has shown definite therapeutic effects, but more proof is needed to establish it as a mainstream form of treatment.
What are the main indications for clinical application of acupuncture?
1. Acute and chronic musculoskeletal problems with pain and movement dysfunction.
2. Acute and chronic pain of visceral origin.
3. Reversible functional disturbances of the viscera (sensory, motor, glandular) such as some of the symptoms associated with gastrointestinal problems.
In an official report, Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled Clinical Trials, the WHO lists the following symptoms, diseases and conditions that have been shown through controlled trials to be treated effectively by acupuncture:
Low back pain
Periarthritis of the shoulder
Facial pain (including craniomandibular disorders)
Induction of labor
Nausea and vomiting
Adverse reactions to radiation or chemotherapy
Allergic rhinitis, including hay fever
Depression(including depressive neurosis and depression following stroke)
Acute and chronic gastritis
So, how does it work?
1. Decreases the stimulation of nerve signals that lead to pain.
2. Reduces the expression of inflammatory chemicals that stimulate nerve endings.
3. There is evidence that acupuncture physically interrupts nerve signals from nociceptors (specialized nerve fibers) that lead to signaling to the spinal cord.
4. There is an analgesic effect because of a release of naturally occurring opiate-based chemicals in the body. The release of dynorphine, a natural opioid, may accelerate tolerance to chronic inflammatory pain. There is also a release of serotonin which blocks pain pathways and interrupts signals before reaching the brain.
5. Stress activates nociceptors, (which lead to pain signals in the brain), and stimulates the Sympathetic Nervous System (flight-fright response); acupuncture appears to inhibit these pain receptors.
6. Using Electro-acupuncture has shown to reduce inflammation causing pain by “pumping”the surrounding tissue with contractions of the muscle.
7. It also has a “modulating” effect on the nervous system; modulation involves the body’s ability to regulate itself, i.e. exposure to a cold environment produces reflex vasoconstriction (tightening) of skin vessels and contraction of a muscle produces a reflex relaxation of its antagonist (if you bend your elbow, your bicep muscle contracts while your tricep relaxes). Simply, if the nervous system is hyperactive, stimulating selected points along the body, (neuro-reactivesites), slows things down; the reverse scenario is evident as well.
So, what does all this have to do with the price of cannoli in Italy? We have added this treatment procedure for pain control and movement disorders, knowing full well that comments like, “Since my shoulder is moving better, I can breathe easier”, or, “Since my back is better, my elimination is better”. These are comments that I have heard for 30 plus years with chiropractic care alone;chiropractic and acupuncture are a wonderful compliment to each other as they address the whole body, from acute care, to maintaining optimum health!
So, with the increasing personal responsibility to keep ourselves healthy rather than depending on insurance being there as a limitless benefit, we invite you to call us to partner with you to improve the function of your body so that it can adapt more easily to the demands required, as well as guiding you with the knowledge to strengthen and improve your flexibility.
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