Why People Are Choosing Acupuncture Over Opioids for Pain Relief
- 1 hr1 hour
- Michael Faraday Drive
The Western explanation: The needle stimulates a nerve, which sends a signal to the brain to release beta-endorphins. These chemicals work as the body’s own opioids, lowering pain thresholds. Another theory Trusted Source proposes acupuncture changes cells in connective tissue around the pressure points in lasting ways that lead to less pain. There is also evidence, according to a 2016 study Trusted Source, that stimulating the vagus nerve, which runs from the brain stem to the colon, may lower inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation is closely tied to chronic pain. States looking to cut opioid prescriptions have been experimenting with extending Medicaid coverage for acupuncture as another option for pain treatment.
1800 Michael Faraday Drive, Reston, VA 20190, USA