Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that involves inserting very fine needles through the skin at strategic points on the body. It is most commonly used to treat pain, but is increasingly being used for overall well-being and stress management. If your acupuncturist prescribes herbs, it is important to discuss this with your doctor. Acupuncture can be safely combined with prescription drugs and other conventional treatments, but it is important for your primary care doctor to monitor how acupuncture treatments may be affecting your conventional therapies. The number of acupuncture treatments you need depends on the complexity of the disease, whether it is a chronic or recent condition, and your overall health condition.
An increasing number of insurance providers are covering all or part of the cost of acupuncture treatments, but these providers may have restrictions on the types of conditions they cover. Prior diagnosis is preferred to identify conditions that may require additional treatment in addition to acupuncture. Studies have also shown that acupuncture can be an effective treatment option for a variety of conditions, such as immune system problems, infertility, and the effects of menopause. Physical therapists often use dry needling as part of a broader physical therapy approach that includes other treatments. To determine the type of acupuncture treatment that will help you the most, your doctor may ask you about your symptoms, behaviors, and lifestyle. The safety and low cost of acupuncture make it a reasonable option for most conditions, even when its effectiveness has not yet been investigated through clinical trials.
Acupuncture has been used for more than 3,000 years in China to treat a wide spectrum of injuries and diseases. For example, you may only need treatment for a recent wrist sprain, while a long-term illness may require treatments over several months to get good results. The acupuncture doctor will tell you where in general you should perform the planned treatment and if you need to remove any items of clothing. The benefits of acupuncture are sometimes difficult to measure, but many people find it useful as a means of managing a variety of painful conditions. A randomized trial of trigger point acupuncture compared to other forms of acupuncture for the treatment of chronic neck pain.