Electro-Acupuncture for Pain Management
Electro – Acupuncture
Electro-acupuncture otherwise known as P.E.N.S (Percutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation) can be a fantastic, non-surgical, non-pharmaceutical method to boost health by increasing circulation, decreasing inflammation and reducing pain. It is virtually painless as is traditional acupuncture (without electricity being applied to the needles).
Whenever there is pain that lasts longer than one month, that pain can tend to get permanently engrained in the nervous system, so that even if the actual problem goes away, the pain can still remain. Electro-acupuncture is a fantastic way to reset this. In general, areas around the spine are chosen based upon the patient’s particular problem. For example, in a case of low back pain radiating down the leg, needles are placed near Lumbar vertebrae number 3, as well as some local acupoints in the piriformis muscle. A very small amount of electricity is pulsed through the needles. Local circulation is increased, inflammation is reduced, and the body is triggered into producing the chemicals that are deficient. Some of these feel good chemicals are endorphins, encephalins and substance P. Pain is typically significantly down regulated. 9 out of 10 patients feel different after the first treatment and each treatment tends to build on the results of the previous treatment, which can result in significant long term relief.
Many patients are familiar with T.E.N.S (Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation). They have experienced this type of treatment either at the physical therapists office, or in the comfort of their own home. T.E.N.S and P.E.N.S/ Electro-acupuncture are completely different in the way they function. In T.E.N.S, conductive pads are placed on the muscular area affected. The intensity of the machine is then turned up as high as the patient can tolerate. In this manner T.E.N.S is able to achieve local increase of blood circulation through the muscle and some pain relief can occur. However, this relief is typically based on irritation, and the pain relieving effects tend to be short lived. P.E.N.S is completely different in that the electricity is applied to the needles, because the needles pass through the skin and the electricity isn’t turned up as high as the patient can tolerate. In fact the electrical intensity is turned up to a level that is just barely perceivable. Pain relieving effects are much more profound in P.E.N.S than T.E.N.S, with maximum results being felt approximately 4-6 hours after the treatment is completed. T.E.N.S pain relief tends to last hours or days, while P.E.N.S (electro-acupuncture) pain relief can last days or weeks. A recent study funded by the British Journal of Surgery concluded “percutaneous therapy appears to have superior efficacy to stimulation applied by the transcutaneous route”.
Patients have reported a sense of euphoria after electro-acupuncture. It is a mental, physical and spiritual “high” that is obtained by stimulating the body’s own natural chemicals, and unlike drugs it is generally healthy and safe.