Acute pain happens suddenly and is short-term; chronic pain lasts longer.

Other types of pain are soft tissue and muscle pain; bone pain; nerve pain; referred pain (one part of the body causing pain in another part); phantom pain (comes from a part of the body which has been removed); other pains from various causes (ex: tinnitus, fibromyalgia, pains related to various organs); and total pain (includes emotional, social and spiritual factors).

Each person can experience pain in a unique way.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, pain is caused by a disruption of communication in the meridian system, which adversely affects all the body systems, such as circulatory, nervous, and urinary.

Acupuncture restores communication and function to the body gently and safely. TCM is a holistic medicine incorporating acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, massage, meditation and associated modalities treatments affect multiple levels of healing. TCM benefits a person on all levels: physical, mental and emotional.

Acupuncture affects beneficial hormones, which promote well being and decrease pain. Acupuncture also reboots the nervous system to recognize areas needing healing which have become unrecognized due to their chronic nature. Herbal medicine can strengthen, nourish, moisten, warm or cool; benefiting in myriad ways. Modern science using Functional MRI shows measurable effects of acupuncture on the central nervous system which induce changes in neurobiology, including in the brain. Thermo (body temperature) scanning demonstrates the various meridians also showing reductions in inflammation and increases in blood circulation. Brain scans also show acupuncture used at distal points of the body related to specific body parts such as the eyes, affect areas of the brain related to vision.

Natural medicines and nutrition contribute to better health, which can decrease pain. Pure water, fresh foods and medicines are imperative to maintaining health as you are exposed to many poisons, toxins, pollutants, electro-magnetic fields, artificial substances and negative emotions.

You may be born with a physical or mental handicap, but you can be unhappy or happy in that body. Don’t blame the body. You can be unhappy in life and have pain, but transform that with love and compassion into beauty, personal growth and improved quality of life as best you can.

Pain can present an opportunity to find a way to re-establish or exert a new type of interaction with your life. Circumstances around pain may be less powerful with a different perspective.

Science shows positive feelings and other factors increase the electrical voltage in and around cells; positively affecting your ability to heal, your chronic pain and your health. The focus on pleasant feelings creates healing, increases physical function in body, mind and spirit which reduces pain. To change negative feelings, repeat positive thoughts, feelings and affirmations until you become more at ease. Also, as best you can, get up, move, get fresh air and be in nature so you don’t feel stuck and depressed.

Resources such as books explaining meditation to cultivate joy and promote healing such as “The Inner Smile” by Mantak Chia are excellent. Helpful computer apps are available at HeartMath.com.

In January 2019, the Pain Management Best Practices Interagency Task Force published a paper recommending acupuncture and non-pharmacological approaches to pain management. New guidelines for prescribing opioid medications as a last resort have made acupuncture extremely popular and necessary as an option in the treatment of pain. Currently the Veterans Administration has embraced acupuncture as beneficial for managing veterans pain and chronic diseases while reducing medications.

Traditional Chinese Medicine is on most peoples to do list as they increasingly prefer to use healthy options to feel better and reduce pain. It is a great place to start in your journey to healing, helping your body achieve homeostasis; helping you to perform daily activities with comfort; regaining control of your circumstances.

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James Madison, L.Ac., is a team member at Yellowstone Naturopathic Clinic. Learn more at www.yncnaturally.com.