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.
The use of acupuncture has increased among patients and doctors in America over the years. Some consider it better than powerful painkillers.
Acupuncture could be a way to help keep some patients from using opioids to treat pain
For a long time in the U.S., acupuncture was considered unstudied and unproven. There has now been a lot of research on acupuncture use for different kinds of pain.
Federal researchers say there is evidence that acupuncture can help some patients deal with some forms of pain.
It is quite effective as compared to no treatment and is effective for neck pain, migraines and a other kinds of pain problems.
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.
Jeff 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 deadness of feeling 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.
For more information on acupuncture and other comprehensive ways to treat pain, contact Life Chiropractic & Acupunture in North Bergen.