About Me

Recovering from Addiction to Prescription Medications

I never thought of myself as an addict, but I did end up addicted to anti-anxiety medication after developing Generalized Anxiety Disorder. At some point, the medicine stopped being a way to deal with the nervousness and panic attacks, and became something my body craved. I knew that I needed help fast. Fortunately, a local drug rehab program includes support for people like me. They helped me wean off the medication, use methods like massage therapy to help my nerves heal, and even provided ongoing counseling for our family. I don't know how I would have made it without their help. If you suspect that your medication has crossed the line from being helpful to hurtful, take heart. Let me tell you about my journey out of addiction and back to wholeness.

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Recovering from Addiction to Prescription Medications

Acupuncture: Is The Pain Relief All In Your Head?

by Valerie Stevens

Acupuncture originated in China where it has been practiced for thousands of years. In about the second half of the twentieth century, the practice started spreading across the United States, Canada, and Western Europe. Today, people all around the world use acupuncture to ease pain caused by a variety of conditions. While some researchers believe acupuncture eases pain by stimulating pain-sensing nerves, other believe the pain is relieved due to the placebo effect. So, are the results of acupuncture treatment for pain all in the mind, or is there another explanation?

The Two Common Hypotheses

1: The Placebo Effect

If the placebo effect hypothesis is true, if you think acupuncture will work, it will. This theory states that your own thoughts are what releases the endorphins that ease pain. The placebo effect is possible based on a person's expectations, desires, and beliefs. 

While some believe that acupuncture offers no real benefit outside a patient's expectations, other research seems to indicate otherwise and maintains that acupuncture does offer some real benefits for the patients.

2: Stimulation Of Pain-Sensing Nerves

If the stimulation of pain-sensing nerves hypothesis is true, the needles used in acupuncture stimulate nerves that cause the brain to release endorphins, which are opium-like compounds that occur naturally within the body. So, instead of the patient's thinking stimulating the release of the body's natural pain killers, the needles actually do the job. 

Acupuncture Is Effective

Acupuncture is not harmful, so it doesn't hurt to try the procedure, if you choose an experienced acupuncturist.  Why acupuncture works for you is not important; if it works is.

There are several benefits of acupuncture. Acupuncture has few side effects, works well in combination with other pain treatments, and is a good alternative if you don't want to or cannot take pain medications. 

Acupuncture is only dangerous if you have a bleeding disorder or take blood thinners. While there is the risk of needles being inserted too deeply into the chest, puncturing a lung, this is rare. To avoid potential problems, ask your doctor to recommend an experienced acupuncturist to perform the procedure. 

If you suffer with chronic pain, especially pain due to migraines and backaches, and pain medication is not working for you, discuss acupuncture with your doctor. You can also take your pain medication and receive acupuncture treatment, which may help you reduce the amount of medication you take to control pain. Whether it's all in the patient's mind or not, studies do show that is an effective treatment for many patients.