The use of acupuncture as a treatment for pain is systematically increasing across America. We are proud to inform you that our chiropractic treatment team here at Village Family Clinic has provided acupuncture care services to our Hackettstown, NJ patients for years now and with great success. Some consider it better than powerful painkillers.
The Veterans Affairs medical system has utilized acupuncture to treat pain for several years. Some insurance companies cover it and we feel that it is only a matter of time before they all do. Some states currently offer acupuncture to patients who have Medicaid, an insurance program for the less financially fortunate. The states are mainly ones where many people have become sick or died from overdosing on opioid drugs. The opioid crisis is believed to have started with the misuse of painkilling drugs prescribed by doctors.
Many people became addicted to opioid drugs after seeking help to relieve pain. Acupuncture could be a way to help keep some patients from using opioids in the first place. For a long time in the U.S., acupuncture was considered unstudied and unproven. Federal researchers say there is evidence that acupuncture can help some patients deal with some forms of pain.
Acupuncture has been practiced in China for thousands of years. Acupuncturists put thin metal needles into specific spots in the ears or other parts of the body. They say needles put in these spots restore the flow of energy — called "qi" — through the body. This heals the body and eases pain. In government studies, 1 in 67 U.S. adults say they get acupuncture every year, up from 1 in 91 in 2008.
American veteran Jeff Harris was one of the first people to ask for acupuncture when veteran’s hospital began to offer it. "I don't like taking pain medication. I don't like the way it makes me feel," he said. Harris also did not want to risk getting addicted to painkilling drugs. Harris began acupuncture two years ago. The 50-year-old Marine Corp veteran said he hurt his back while training in the military in the 1980s. Today, he has pain down his legs and numbness in his feet. Acupuncture "helped settle” his pain." Another veteran, Harry Garcia of Connecticut, tried acupuncture for his back pain after years of using pain medications. Acupuncture “keeps pain down for up to 10 days,” said Garcia.
About ten years ago, the military and Veterans Affairs began using several different ways to treat pain, including acupuncture and yoga. A recent study says now two-thirds of military hospitals and other treatment centers offer acupuncture. While research continues, the willingness of medical insurance companies to pay for acupuncture is growing. California, Massachusetts, Oregon and Rhode Island pay for acupuncture for pain through their Medicaid insurance programs. Massachusetts and Oregon also pay for acupuncture as a treatment for drug abuse.