Having pain and not tried acupuncture yet? Here is what you need to know about acupuncture. Acupuncture is becoming mainstay treatment of pain release.

Pain is an inevitable part of life that can have a significant impact on one's quality of life. The experience of pain involves the transformation of pain stimulus into a nerve signal that is sent to the brain. The pain sensation and pain response are produced by integrating and processing this information in the brain. Several neurotransmitters, such as opioid peptides, γ-aminobutyric acid, norepinephrine, 5-hydroxytryptamine, and glutamate, are involved in pain modulation.

While painkillers can be effective in managing pain, they also have potential side effects such as addiction, drowsiness, and damage to brain function. Consequently, many people are turning to alternative therapies such as acupuncture, which is known for its few side effects.

Acupuncture has gained popularity as a method of pain management around the world. Originally from China, acupuncture has been shown to have positive analgesic effects in many studies. Numerous clinical trials have demonstrated that the neuromodulation of acupuncture can control pain and inflammation in various diseases. It has an excellent curative effect in relieving headaches, neuropathic pain, back pain, knee osteoarthritis, and more.

Several international clinical guidelines suggest that the effect of acupuncture on pain is comparable to traditional pharmacology or interventional technology. Due to its positive effect and superior safety, it is more acceptable to the general population. In 1997, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recognized that acupuncture alleviates pain. Modern research suggests that acupuncture stimulates acupoints and modulates neurotransmitters, producing analgesic effects.

A recent research paper analyzed the progress and research trends of acupuncture analgesia in the last 10 years, from 2011 to 2021. The study included 4,781 English articles in the bibliometric analysis, indicating that the publication of acupuncture analgesia research has more than doubled in the past decade, from 304 in 2011 to 687 in 2020. Of the 1,043 journals that published acupuncture analgesia research, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine had the largest number of publications (7.8%), followed by Medicine (4.8%) and Acupuncture in Medicine (4.8%). A total of 91 countries have published publications on acupuncture treatment for pain, with 32 countries publishing more than 20 articles. The top five countries in terms of the number of publications were China (1,577 articles), the United States (1,205 articles), South Korea (465 articles), England (330 articles), and Germany (258 articles).

In conclusion, pain is a common experience that can have a significant impact on an individual's quality of life. While painkillers can be effective in managing pain, they can have potential side effects that can be damaging to brain function. Acupuncture has been shown to have positive analgesic effects with few side effects. The increasing popularity of acupuncture as a method of pain management is reflected in the growing number of publications on acupuncture analgesia research. As more people seek alternative therapies for pain management, acupuncture is likely to continue to gain in popularity.
Menglong Zhang, et al Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2022; 2022: 1451342.

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