According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), nothing in the human body functions indepen- dently. Pain is the body’s warning alarm that tells you something is wrong. If you ignore your body’s alarm, like ignoring a fire alarm in your house, severe problems can occur.
Human body functions are dependent on the life force energy or chi. Chi and blood flow through the meridian system, nourishing body tissues and helping them function. If the body is beset with disease or injury, pathological symptoms will appear which affect the organs and meridians. Once a meridian is blocked, chi and blood are not able to move smoothly, and the affected area will not be able to get enough nutrition. The patient begins to feel pain, tingling, stiffness, bloating or numbness.
The meridian system is like a network. Each meridian is connected with a specific organ. An organ’s deterioration may show up in the meridian while, conversely, the blockage of the meridian can affect the internal organ. When treating a pain condition, a TCM doctor will not only focus on the local pain but also (and sometimes more importantly) work to rebalance and harmonize the whole body.
Meridian blockage can be caused externally by excessive cold, wind, dampness, dryness, fire (heat) or injury. It also can be caused by emotions such as anger, sadness, fear, stress or depression, as well as an organ deficiency or malfunction. Figuring out the cause of the pain and which meridian is blocked is extremely important in treating pain. Relieving blood and chi stagnancy, balancing the energy, nourishing the tissue, increasing circulation, and building up deficient organs are all ways that TCM treats pain. Acupuncture can be used to correct the flow of chi. Herbal medicine can be used to reestablish and balance chi, blood and moisture to avert pathological factors.
Clinical studies support acupuncture as an effective modality in the treatment of almost all kinds of pain conditions, including:migraines, neuralgia, neck pain, back pain, herniated disc, TMJ, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, bursitis, arthritis, frozen shoulder, shoulder pain, fibromyalgia, dysmenorrhea, osteoporosis, sports and other injuries, surgical pain and even cancer pain.