Any time there is pain in the body, you have sensory nerves which are firing and you might or might not have a structural problem causing the sensory dysfunction. In most cases chronic pain has no structural cause. The problem with most doctors who are not well versed in the field of neurology is their immediate assumption that if you have pain, there must be a structural reason for the pain. In other words, there must be some form of structure, either bone, soft tissue, disc or some object actually pushing on the sensory nerve, causing it to continuously fire. This assumption is not always true.
In order for the brain to register pain, there has to be two types of neural signals hitting the brain at about the same time. The first signal is from the sensory nerve or nerves themselves. The second is from the proprioceptive nerves which are also firing right next to the sensory nerves. The proprioceptive nerves tell the brain where your pain is emanating from. If everything is working properly, the brain will release a torrent of what are called enkephalins. These chemicals are the body’s natural pain killers, and they plug up the pain receptor sites in the brain, all along the spine, and on the capillary beds where you feel the pain. They stop the chronic pain and allow the body to return to normal function.
Obviously, with those patients who suffer from chronic discomfort, this mechanism is no longer working. There are many reasons the body’s natural pain-relieving mechanism could have malfunctioned. However, the number one cause appears to be a chronic signal strength problem in the proprioceptive neural tissue. If the neural threshold level (signal strength) is too low, the brain will not know exactly where to release the enkephalins and thus the pain continues. Acupuncture will raise the signal strength on the proprioceptive pathway and the result is a sudden and dramatic relief from pain. For this reason, we can treat an incredibly wide variety of pain problems. Eg. Back Pain & sciatica, arthritis, neck, shoulder & knee pains, headaches, facial pains, intercostal neuralgia, sports injuries, toothaches.
Chronic, low grade pain can lead to a decrease in activity and a lack of enjoyment in activities because the pain is just too much to deal with. People that suffer from chronic pain are more prone to depression because they are no longer able to do things that they once enjoyed. They may suffer loneliness and feel that they are suffering alone. As a whole-body medical system, this is the kind of condition Chinese Medicine treats with high success. Our treatments for arthritis involve a combination of pain relief, reduction of inflammation, dietary assessment and restructuring, and emotional support, resulting in an overall reduction of pain and an increase in the patient’s vitality.