Recent studies are showing a marked decrease in the need for opioids after surgical procedures. Not only have researchers found acupuncture effective in relieving post-operative pain, they also concluded that it reduces the pain medication dosing requirements that patients need for pain relief, according to the Healthcare Medicine Institute. In addition, it reduces the bad side effects that medications can cause, such as nausea, sedation, dizziness, itching and urinary tract infections.
Results, published in their research entitled The Efficacy of Acupuncture in Post-Operative Pain Management: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, found that acupuncture reduces or eliminates pain through the activation of neurotransmitters and other modulators, including opioid peptides, norepinephrine, serotonin, and adenosine.
Here are some key findings to the research:
Acupuncture triggers the release of selective neuropeptides in the central nervous system, which promotes healing.
Acupuncture activates painkilling actions through both the peripheral and central nervous system pathways.
Acupuncture stimulates endorphin mechanisms for optimal pain-reducing responses.
Acupuncture reduces the dependence on opioid drugs for postoperative pain management as well as severity of pain.
Acupuncture reduces chronic lower back pain.
With 75% of patients experiencing moderate to severe pain after surgery, it has been the standard response to use medications such as morphine, fentanyl, and meperidine as pain controlling measures. However, these medications do pose a challenge, bringing on adverse side effects such as hyperemesis, nausea and gastrointestinal issues.
Some doctors are looking to take more customized approaches to pain management by reducing dependence on medications in order to bring about fewer effects associated with those medications. Researchers say that acupuncture is both safe and effective for the reduction of postoperative pain.
The recommendation, then, is for the patient to have a discussion with his or her healthcare provider regarding how pain will be managed after surgery. Health care providers should, in turn, involve the patient in managing and assessing their pain levels. No one is suggesting at this time to cut out all medication completely, as pain levels can be quite intense after surgery. However, researchers are suggesting that both pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic strategies should play an integral role in the management of pain.
Researchers also hope to integrate acupuncture into primary healthcare settings, utilized as standard protocol for pain management post-surgery in Michigan and indeed throughout the rest of the country.
Contact Metro Detroit Acupuncture
For more information on acupuncture and its reduction of opioid use post-surgery, call Metro Detroit Acupuncture today at 248-432-2846. Marino Moutafis, the founder and owner of Metro Detroit Acupuncture in Southeast Michigan, is a nationally certified acupuncturist and licensed by the Michigan Board of Acupuncture. Facing surgery soon? We can provide more insight into this issue during our consult.