Beyond Opioids: Acupuncture for Pain Management
The medical credo, primum non nocere, compels us to consider nonsurgical, science-based, integrative medical options for pain, whether it originates from orthopedic disease, neurologic injury, trauma, or surgery. Acupuncture offers a spectrum of benefits for pain problems, working in ways that assist the body in recovery and the restoration of homeostasis, in contrast to the addictive and negative processes that pharmaceutical opioids engender. While it impacts the endogenous opioid system and other neurotransmitter pathways, acupuncture equals or outperforms pharmaceutical opioids for the treatment of pain based on clinical research. Furthermore, replacing opioids with medical acupuncture and related techniques lowers the risk of drug diversion by eliminating the need for narcotic prescriptions. Learn the ways in which acupuncture lowers pain and discomfort from myofascial, neuropathic, inflammatory, and visceral sources.
- 1. Identify the mechanism of action of acupuncture for myofascial, inflammatory, and neuropathic pain.
- 2. Compare and contrast the risks and benefits of acupuncture and opioids.
- 3. List the reasons to include medical acupuncture as first-line care in veterinary medicine.