Medicaid Acupuncture

VA And Medicaid Are Using Acupuncture to Help Curb Opioid Use

Facing the opioid crisis, people are starting to fight back. On April 23, the federal prosecutors filed the first criminal charges against a drug company executive for pushing opioid to customers, ignoring red flags to maximize company revenues and his own pay.

As more people are becoming aware of the danger of opioids, acupuncture has been growing in popularity in the United States.

Medicaid Acupuncture

Short about Acupuncture

While the scientific evidence of acupuncture’s benefits is still widely debated, research from key Western studies suggests it can be used to manage certain pain conditions — especially back pain, neck pain, osteoarthritis pain, and headaches.

It’s also been used to treat a range of other conditions. As its popularity has grown, more people in the United States have begun turning to acupuncture when conventional medicine falls short.

A patient of mine had suffered from chronic low-back pain for a decade before she tried acupuncture in Gainesville. She’d already tried chiropractors, physical therapy, and medication. She was taking four pain pills a day. After just six visits her pain became manageable and she stopped taking the painkillers.

Research about Acupuncture

Western research has shown that acupuncture can be effective in managing pain. Exactly why it works is still unclear, though there are several theories.

The traditional Chinese theory behind the practice suggests the stimulation of specific spots prompts the body to release a flow of energy, or “qi,” which travels through channels called “meridians.”

The Western explanation of the effectiveness of acupuncture: The needle stimulates nerves, which send signals to the brain to release beta-endorphins. These chemicals work as the body’s own opioids, lowering pain levels.

Another theory proposes that acupuncture changes cells in the connective tissue around the pressure points in lasting ways that lead to less pain. This is indicated in the effectiveness of acupuncture treating scar tissues.

There is also evidence, according to a 2016 study, that acupuncture stimulates the vagus nerve, which runs from the brain stem to the colon. The stimulation may lower inflammation throughout the body and inflammation is closely tied to chronic pain.

Acupuncture and opioids

States looking to cut opioid prescriptions have been experimenting with extending Medicaid coverage for acupuncture as another option for pain treatment. Rhode Island, Oregon, and Ohio all have programs that extend coverage in part.

When Vermont commissioned a small pilot study on acupuncture for chronic pain in its Medicaid population, it concluded that 32 percent of people taking opioids for pain cut back.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has trained more than 2,800 providers of “battlefield acupuncture,” a protocol that involves the ear to relieve pain.

According to a 2018 paper on American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, doctors at the Gainesville VA center concluded that battlefield acupuncture has helped with headaches, acute and chronic back and musculoskeletal pain, and neuropathic pain.

Learn more about Guan Physical Therapy and Acupuncture Gainesville

If you are considering acupuncture for your chronic pain, you should come to see us for the following reasons.

  • The Guan family has used acupuncture to help patients for five generations and have gained tremendous of knowledge in more than 130 years of continuous practice.
  • We have unparalleled knowledge of the human body. In addition to being an acupuncturist, Dr. Guan is a UF educated and trained Doctor of Physical Therapy and have gone through the rigorous anatomy training in the Western medicine system.
  • We can combine acupuncture with physical therapy. Many people reported better results after receiving the combined treatments.

If you would like more information about acupuncture, please Contact Us.

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