Article – Acupuncture and the Treatment of Chronic Pain
As a former high-performance athlete and a migraine sufferer, I have experience with chronic pain. Acupuncture in conjunction with appropriate exercise and anti-inflammatory diet, gave me migraine relief and allows me to avoid surgical interventions. My positive experience led me to study and practice Traditional Chinese Medicine. I have been in private practice for 11 years and my passion is to help people get back to the activities they enjoy. Over 1.5 billion people worldwide suffer from chronic pain (NCHS, 2006). Nearly one third of American adults experience chronic pain (Johannes et al., 2010). The three most common sources of chronic pain are low back pain (29%), neck pain (16%), and severe headache or migraine pain (15%) (NCHS, 2016 and 2017).
One of the biggest myths about acupuncture is that it is not evidence-based and there is controversy as to its value. It is true that acupuncture and oriental medicine draw from the collective experience of thousands of practitioners gained over 2500 years. However, the mechanisms underlying how acupuncture is so effective for treating pain have been researched for over 60 years. In a systematic review to identify about 30 randomized trials of acupuncture for chronic pain with a total of 17,922 patients analyzed, the conclusion was that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain and is therefore a reasonable referral option (Vickers et al., 2012).
How does acupuncture work biomedically? While there is still much to learn about how acupuncture works, the neural pathways from acupuncture point stimulation, to the spinal cord to the deactivation of the pain centers in the brain have been mapped (Longhurst et al., 2017 and Zhang et al., 2012). Acupuncture has been demonstrated to activate a number of the body’s own opioids as well as improving the brain’s sensitivity to opioids (Harris et al., 2009). A number of other biochemicals involved in pain reduction have been found to be released or regulated by acupuncture stimulation, including ATP and adenosine, GABA and substance P (Zhao et al., 2008). However, the most exciting research was published just this past spring explaining the positive effects of acupuncture via the body’s interstitium (Benias et al., 2018). We have known about the interstitium for a long time. However, the fact that it is fluid filled and has organization and structure gives acupuncture and its meridians (map of acupuncture points along specific pathways) an anatomical connection, which previously was lacking. In an interview, according to Dr. Theise, one of the authors of the study, this is the layer of skin the acupuncture needle goes into. There’s fluid in there. When you put the needle into an acupuncture point, maybe the collagen bundles are arranged into a channel through which fluid can flow (Heaney, 2018).
In light of thousands of years of experience, over 60 years of research with positive results, and the long term risk of pharmaceutical opioids, acupuncture represents a safe and effective alternative to treating chronic pain.
Nicole Rasor is the owner of ACTIVE Life Acupuncture, LLC in Oro Valley, Arizona. She has Masters in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology and is currently working on her Doctorate of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. Nicole was born and raised in Austria. She competed in the 1984 Olympic Games as a springboard and tower diver for Austria, became a US citizen in 1999 and competed in archery for the US being named as a member of the USA Archery National Team in 2011 and 2012. For inquiries and appointments, please call 520-548-1838 or visit her website at www.ACTIVELifeAcu.com.
Benias, P. C., Wells, R. G., Sackey-Aboagye, B., Klavan, H., Reidy, J., Buonocore, D., … Theise, N. D. (2018). Author Correction: Structure and Distribution of an Unrecognized Interstitium in Human Tissues. Scientific Reports, 8(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-018-25732-x
Harris, R. E., Zubieta, J.-K., Scott, D. J., Napadow, V., Gracely, R. H., & Clauw, D. J. (2009). Traditional Chinese acupuncture and placebo (sham) acupuncture are differentiated by their effects on ?-opioid receptors (MORs). NeuroImage, 47(3), 1077–1085. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.05.083
Heaney, K. (n.d.). Do We Finally Understand How Acupuncture Works? Retrieved from https://www.thecut.com/2018/03/do-we-finally-understand-how-acupuncture-works.html
Johannes, C. B., Le, T. K., Zhou, X., Johnston, J. A., & Dworkin, R. H. (2010). The prevalence of chronic pain in United States adults: results of an Internet-based survey. The Journal of Pain : Official Journal of the American Pain Society, 11(11), 1230–1239. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpain.2010.07.002
Longhurst, J., Chee-Yee, S., & Li, P. (2017). Defining Acupuncture’s Place in Western Medicine. Scientia, 1–5.
Zhang, Z.-J., Wang, X.-M., & McAlonan, G. M. (2012). Neural Acupuncture Unit: A New Concept for Interpreting Effects and Mechanisms of Acupuncture. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012(3), 1–23. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brainresbull.2007.08.003
National Center for Health Statistics (2006) Health, United States, 2006 [Online] Available from:https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus06.pdf
National Center for Health Statistics (US. (2017) Health, United States, 2016: with chartbook on Long- term trends in health. Hyattsville, MD. 2017.”
Vickers, A. J., Cronin, A. M., Maschino, A. C., Lewith, G., MacPherson, H., Victor, N., … on behalf of the Acupuncture Trialists’ Collaboration, K. (2012). Acupuncture for chronic pain: individual patient data meta-analysis. Archives of Internal Medicine, 172(19), 1444–1453.
Welcome New and Returning Clients
The greatest compliment we can receive is a referral from one of our clients or allied health network!
Euana Gaskin ~ referred by fellow new client Charlotte Ruedas
David Vasquez ~ found us via Google search
Annette Geistfeld ~ Welcome Back!
Leo Sheehan ~ referred by his wife and current client Linda Sheehan
Adam Begody ~ found us via presentation Chris did for Tucson Chamber employees
Bruce Sadilek ~ Welcome Back!
Charlotte Ruedas ~ referred by fellow client Tricia Harris
Chelsea Moomaw ~ referred by Desert Palms Physical Therapy
Lee Eby ~ Has known Chris for years and recently bumped into him once again
Shout outs are about us voicing victories we witness you all having at BodyBasics. We’ll keep it to our top 5 each month.
Bob Delaney ~ for getting up on a ladder to clean his gutters, an activity he hasn’t been able to do for about 3 years!
Esther Sherberg ~ for sweeping up her leaves without any back pain for the first time in quite some time!
Marny Wellman ~ for continuing to increase her “can do” list and reduce her “cannot do” list!
Bruce DeChamps ~ for his ongoing personal commitment to increasing his cardio, now becoming quite the regular on the elliptical outside of his Foundation group sessions!
Patti Lane ~ for her consistent focus on improving her health and fitness. She’s experienced a drop of 18 pounds and 2 dress sizes!
Recipe – Blueberry Frozen Yogurt Bark
by Darcie Miller, owner and recipe developer of the allergy friendly and health food company, Naturbaker.
Blueberry Frozen Yogurt Bark
Snack time just got fun! Let little ones help you make this delicious, colorful and healthy treat! Only 5 ingredients, quick to prepare, and allergy-friendly.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Passive Time: 2-4 hours
• 32 ounces blueberry yogurt(I use Daiya to keep it dairy-free)
• 1 cup strawberries ; sliced
• 1 cup blueberries
• 2 whole kiwis peeled and sliced
• 3 tbsp strawberry jelly
1. Prepare a baking sheet for freezing by covering it with parchment paper.
2. Open yogurt and carefully stir inside of the tub, breaking up the consistency of the yogurt.
3. Pour yogurt onto parchment covered baking sheet and evenly spread. (Yogurt doesn’t necessarily have to reach all the edges of the pan- just make sure it is even in thickness).
4. Swirl dollops of jelly into the yogurt.*
5. Sprinkle the strawberries, blueberries and kiwi on top of the yogurt and place in the freezer for 2-4 hours or until it is completely frozen.
6. Remove from the freezer and use a sharp knife to break the bark into pieces. The bark can be stored in the freezer in food bags.
* Heating up your jelly a little bit will make for easier swirling.
NOTE: Make sure you eat this yummy bark as soon as it comes out of the freezer. It is quick to melt in hot temperatures.
Love this recipe? Enjoy more of Darcie’s kitchen adventures at www.naturbaker.com
Exercise Video of the Month – Getting Up and Down from the Floor Safely
Chris, Kris, Kristian, Lance, Amanda, Dustin and soon to be Xavier!