Acupuncture needles in a wooden dish

Are There Long-Term Benefits of Acupuncture?

Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine is a nonsurgical, holistic practice. Here, acupuncture is an integral part of our treatment plans. Although relatively new to mainstream medicine in the U.S., acupuncture has been practiced in China and other parts of Asia for thousands of years. Our patients often ask about whether the positive effects of acupuncture are long-term and this blog addresses the issue. 

What is Acupuncture and How Does It Work?

Acupuncture is based on the principle that when Qi, the major energy source that courses through the body, is disrupted, pain and disease result, so reopening its pathways alleviates pain and inflammation and restores health. 

Qi normally flows along pathways (known as meridians) that have been carefully charted over centuries. There are more than 2,000 points at which Qi energy may be interrupted or unblocked by acupuncture. As the flow of Qi is restored, patients experience relief from migraines, chronic back pain, arthritis, and many other ailments.

The acupuncture treatment itself involves the insertion of tiny needles, slender as strands of hair, at designated points along the meridians. These needles are left in place for up to 20 minutes. This is a painless process during which patients relax and sometimes sleep.

How Long Do the Benefits of Acupuncture Last?

After several treatments, many patients feel improvement that may last for months or up to a year. While acupuncture is sometimes reported to offer permanent benefits, this is more likely to occur in cases with milder symptoms. There is a certain amount of controversy about whether acupuncture offers permanent results. In the end, this may be of little consequence to patients whose pain is relieved by acupuncture since treatments have no side effects and can be repeated as often as necessary.

What Types of Medical Conditions Does Acupuncture Treat?

The American Academy of Family Physicians reports that several studies during the last two decades confirm the efficacy of acupuncture as a useful treatment for, among many other conditions:

  • Constipation
  • Migraines
  • Menopausal symptoms
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that acupuncture is presently being successfully used to treat:

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Knee pain
  • Joint pain due to osteoarthritis
  • Joint pain due to breast cancer treatments

The Cleveland Clinic adds to this list:

  • Sports injury pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Headaches
  • Facial pain
  • Nerve discomfort 

Our highly skilled acupuncturists use several types of acupuncture to reduce or eliminate musculoskeletal pain in various parts of the body, often in combination with other therapies to accelerate the healing process. We find that acupuncture is often the key to successful treatment for patients who have been unresponsive to oral medications, physical therapy, targeted injections, and, in some cases, even surgical procedures.

Acupuncture is Now Accepted by Western Medicine and Covered by Insurance

Acupuncture is now accepted by western medicine as safe and effective and many insurance companies, including Medicare, now cover acupuncture for specific diagnoses.

The 21st century has seen acupuncture receive greater and greater acceptance by national and international medical organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO). It is now widely accepted that acupuncture:

  • Stimulates the release of endorphins
  • Speeds the relay of electromagnetic signals, releasing immune system cells
  • Triggers the release of natural opioids
  • Alters brain chemistry to cause the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones

Acupuncture treatment sessions are short and painless, require no recovery time, and are now covered by Medicare and many private insurance companies. 

Intractable Musculoskeletal Pain? Contact Our Acupuncture Experts Now

Our doctors are firmly committed to relieving our patients’ pain and restoring their function. Acupuncture is one of our most powerful therapeutic treatments for pain due to injuries and illnesses that affect bones, muscles, and joints. Contact us now to experience the positive, often long-term, benefits of acupuncture.