Chronic pain can make daily life a misery, especially when pain medications just don't bring relief. And so the arthritis, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches and backaches continue unabated.
Trying to live a normal life when suffering from chronic pain is at the very least a difficult struggle. At worst, normal life simply stops.
With the increased acceptance of acupuncture in recent years though, some pain sufferers have a new and encouraging option. While its use is still controversial in many quarters, acupuncture is gaining ground.
The inability to find relief in their extremity has led pain sufferers to a door they otherwise wouldn't have considered.
They've taken a chance and walked through that door, and they're doing it in droves. And those who've found freedom from pain make the trip regularly.
Acupuncture was first greeted by the West with a jaded eye. Birthed as it was out of a foreign philosophy and world view, our western thinking was stymied.
But as complementary and alternative medical practitioners proliferate, many willing translators are eager to present acupuncture in a way we can grasp.
"The most effective function of acupuncture is for pain management because it offers immediate pain relief. I like that it gets patients on a table, and lets them relax. The stress relief is an important component," said Dr. Natasha Zajmalowski, ND, of Be Well, A Creating Wellness Center in Windsor, Ontario.
Studies from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Peninsula Medical School, Plymouth, in the United Kingdom, have researched acupuncture for low back pain.
Their research indicates that acupuncture is effective for low back pain relief, and that relief was not due to placebo effect.
The American College of Physicians, the American Pain Society and the UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in the United Kingdom consider acupuncture viable for patients with chronic low back pain.
The World Health Organization states that over 30 conditions can be helped by acupuncture.