Both chiropractic care and acupuncture share the view that chronic pain and many injuries can be successfully treated without having to resort to drugs or surgery, treating the patient holistically. Each healing modality has its own benefits, but the two work together in a complementary and synergistic manner.
Acupuncture is a natural healing method that originated in China many thousands of years ago and is one of the central aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The theory behind the practice is that energy travels through the body along what are called “meridians,” and these meridians periodically become blocked, leading to pain, tiredness and often illness. The acupuncturist uses whisker-thin needles to insert through the skin at important meridian points that correspond to the patient’s problem, releasing blocked energy and allowing it to flow again. The needles are so thin that their insertion can barely be felt most of the time.
Contemporary medicine has acknowledged the usefulness of acupuncture in the treatment of pain, and several peer-reviewed medical studies have proven its effectiveness. It is believed that the needles trigger the nervous system to release pain relieving and healing chemicals into the muscles, brain and spinal cord. The World Health Organization finds acupuncture to be useful in treating a wide variety of conditions, including neurological and muscular disorders such as headache, low back pain, fibromyalgia, tendinitis, sciatica and osteoarthritis; respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis and chest infections; gastric disorders such as gastritis, diarrhea, constipation and spastic colon; and problems with the urinary and reproductive systems.
Chiropractic treatment works in a similar manner, using chiropractic adjustments to align a misaligned spine, which may be interfering with the proper transmission of nerve impulses throughout the body. The spinal cord is considered the main conduit through which all the body’s regulatory and pain signals flow, and when the vertebrae move out of place due to stress, muscle tension or injury, the body does not function properly and pain is a common result.
An acupuncture treatment can be useful when receiving chiropractic care, as it helps to reduce pain signals to a tolerable level, relaxes your muscles and increases blood flow to speed healing so that your chiropractor can more easily perform therapeutic alignments and manipulations to your spine and joints, avoiding the necessity of resorting to pain-killers or other pharmaceuticals.
Chiropractors who also practice acupuncture should have certification from the American Board of Chiropractic Acupuncture. This certifies that the chiropractor has completed 300 hours of training in acupuncture from an approved college and passed the board’s written and practical exams.
As acupuncture has been proven to be effective in treating chronic back pain and other musculoskeletal problems, which are also the most common problems treated by chiropractors, the two healing modalities work well together to help make pain a thing of the past.