We sometimes go to extreme lengths when it comes to the relief of body aches and pains (especially of the chronic kind). From natural remedies and prescription medicines to physical adjustments and therapy, nothing is quite as wild as sticking dozens of needles all over the body to cure pain.
I mean, that sounds like it would be painFUL rather than pain relieving!
But this “needle therapy” is a very well-known treatment called acupuncture. In this article, we will talk about what acupuncture is, how it is different from chiropractic treatment, and give some insight into which treatment choice may be suitable for you.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an alternative medicine with roots in traditional Chinese medicine. It has been said to treat a wide variety of ailments but is used predominantly for pain relief. Acupuncture is often used alongside other more traditional treatment options to aid in speeding up treatment.
Traditional Chinese medicine believes that the body contains a flow of energy (chi or qi) that flows according to pathways called meridians. Pain in the body results from these qi flows being stifled or blocked. Applying stimulation to parts of these meridians “rebalances the flow” of qi in the nervous system, often believed to lessen pain.
Does it hurt? Generally, no. The needles used are hair-thin and most patients say it doesn’t hurt.
Needles aren’t the only thing that can affect meridians – heat, pressure, friction, suction (cupping), and even electromagnetic energy are different methods of freeing up our qi. Patients often report a feeling of energy or relaxation after an acupuncture session.
What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic treatments are targeted at the body’s musculoskeletal system and focus on the spine. According to chiropractic theory, when the skeleton is out of alignment, pinched nerves and stiff muscles caused by this misalignment can result, causing pain.
Treatments and pain relief often involve analysis of lifestyle, physical adjustments of parts of the skeleton, and long-term rehabilitation. Specialized equipment helps the chiropractor perform these adjustments safely and effectively.
Patients can see marked improvements in mobility and pain relief in as little as one session, although long term plans are often necessary for full recovery.
How does acupuncture differ from chiropractic?
Aside from the needles, the thing about acupuncture is that reports of its benefits are often anecdotal and inconsistent. Where one person feels significant improvement, another may feel minimal to no effect when being treated for the same ailment.
Chiropractic has more accredited results with many patients seeing remarkable physical differences post-treatment. I mean, it’s hard to argue against visibly fixed posture and those morning pains really going away.
Acupuncture might not provide the same holistic analysis of lifestyle, limiting the benefits to repeat treatments to continue pain relief. Where acupuncturists prescribe herbal remedies or supplements, chiropractors have access to prescriptions for pain relief and management.
Chiropractic vs. Acupuncture: Which is best for me?
The key thing to remember is that both chiropractic and acupuncture are alternative sources of healthcare that are used for pain relief.
Getting opinions from every available source of information is important for understanding the true cause of whatever is causing you pain. Some ailments can’t be cured by magic needles or a loosening of the joints.
Chiropractic may be a better option if you know that the pain comes from the skeleton or lifestyle choices.
Chiropractic may offer longer-term solutions in the form of rehabilitation and professional advice.
Acupuncture may be more suitable for people whose bodies are unable to take the often-strong pressure applied by chiropractors.
Acupuncture sessions can have other uses, such as for relaxation or detoxification of the body.
It is actually a good idea to approach both practices to determine the best path to relief. Patients often enjoy immediate relief after a treatment from either one, so there doesn’t seem to be much harm to try both!
One thing to consider is whether insurance covers for either option. If you must make multiple trips vs. one for a similar effect, the covered option saves big bucks in the long run.
Where can I get the best treatment for chiropractic or acupuncture?
Accredited chiropractors and acupuncturists are licensed by medical boards, so looking for certified professionals in the field is an important first step. Cutting corners by going for the most accessible treatment may lead to further complications; acupuncturists must be skilled enough to hit the right spots, and the equipment used must be sterile to prevent infection.
For experienced chiropractors in Victoria, Drs. Michael and David Black offer 37 years of professional, friendly, and effective service. With training from around the globe and constant updates in top chiropractic treatments, you’ll be in safe hands! Their practices are located in Armadale or Doncaster.