From an acupuncturist's point of view pain is caused by either stagnation -- too much energy in a painful area of the body -- or deficiency -- too little energy. Another way to think about it is that there is a blockage either from stuck energy or lack of energy in one of the meridians that travel along the arms, legs, head and trunk of the body. Treatment consists of removing this energetic blockage or sending energy to a deficient area.
The great thing about this model is that it works with both acute and chronic pain. Even if an injured area has healed, acupuncture helps to restore movement to that area.
From a Western Medical perspective, chronic pain is often caused by a lack of movement. In a recent article from Harvard Health Publications, Dr. James Rainville, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School explains that "Movement seems to be the stimulus to normalize pain responses in the nervous system. Studies on animals with spinal injuries show faster pain resolution among those forced to exercise than among those allowed to move less."
He goes on to explain, "This is probably the result of a survival mechanism…If an animal in the wild doesn't get moving, it is eaten or starves to death. People who get moving — back to the gym, back to cleaning the house — do the best,"
If you've been struggling with chronic pain, acupuncture with its emphasis on restoring movement to the body may be for you.
Bonnie Diamond, Licensed Acupuncturist