How Often Do You Need to Have Acupuncture Treatments?

How Often Do You Need to Have Acupuncture Treatments?

Acupuncture is an alternative medicine practice that’s been making steady progress into Western medical practices over the last few decades. It’s minimally invasive, relatively painless, and completely safe when administered by a qualified professional.

Dr. Patrick Brennan at Coastal Pain Medicine is highly qualified to administer acupuncture to his patients in the Pompano Beach, Florida, area, and he uses it to treat a variety of pain conditions. One question he gets asked a lot is how often you need treatment. Here’s his response.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a Chinese medicine practice that’s been used for thousands of years for many purposes. The practitioner uses ultra-fine needles placed at specific points on the patient’s body.

How acupuncture works depends on whom you ask. Traditional healers and Western medicine doctors hold different ideas about how the body works and heals.

Traditional Chinese medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine maintains that good health occurs when the “yin” (female) and “yang” (male) aspects of a person’s life force, known as “qi” or “chi,” are balanced within the body. Illness occurs, then, when the forces are out of balance.

Qi travels as energy along 14 major pathways, called meridians, in the human body. Acupuncturists can tap into the energy at 350 discrete acupuncture points, and by inserting needles in highly specific combinations, they can bring qi back into balance.

Western medicine and evidence-based research

In contrast to the more spiritual Chinese practice, Western doctors believe placing acupuncture needles into specific spots on the patient’s body triggers biochemical responses that lead to wellness. 

These include releasing endorphins (the body’s painkillers) and boosting neurotransmitters (control nerve impulses and muscle contractions). 

The responses affect your body’s internal regulation system, reducing pain and inflammation in the process. And once you have better physiological balance, your body’s natural healing abilities work more effectively.

Research suggests acupuncture works to reduce the pain associated with many chronic conditions. But while some practitioners use it for a variety of other physical and mental problems, there’s limited evidence for its efficacy outside of pain relief.

What conditions can be treated with acupuncture?

We may recommend acupuncture to treat many different painful conditions, including:

Studies show that acupuncture is especially effective for painful, chronic musculoskeletal conditions like fibromyalgia, as well as for tension-type headaches and osteoarthritis.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates acupuncture needles to ensure patient safety. It requires that all needles be steel, solid, sterile, nontoxic, and properly labeled, and they may only be administered by a qualified professional such as Dr. Brennan. The needles are discarded after a single use.

How many treatments will I need?

Every person responds differently to acupuncture treatment, so what works for one patient may not work for another. Some people only need a single treatment, while others need a series. 

You can expect an average of 4-8 sessions to achieve substantial pain relief. For people with chronic conditions, relief can last 3-12 months, after which you can repeat the series.

If you’re dealing with chronic pain and aren’t finding relief, it’s time to come into Coastal Pain Medicine for an evaluation with Dr. Brennan to determine if acupuncture is right for you. To schedule, call our office at 954-833-8582, or book online with us today.

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