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Can Acupuncture Help Cancer Survivors with Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain is a common problem among cancer patients and survivors that can take a heavy toll on their lives. It’s been estimated that about 36-40% of cancer survivors experience chronic pain six months after treatment has ended. “Chronic” is defined as lasting more than three months.

Did you know that acupuncture can help with pain mitigation? Read on to learn how acupuncture for pain in El Cerrito can help improve you quality of life.

What Causes Chronic Cancer Pain?

The most common cause of chronic pain in cancer survivors is the disease itself. Cancer can cause bone fractures and joint degeneration; it can also damage nerves, muscles, and connective tissues. So, even if cancer has been treated, there is a chance are that pain may continue.

Most cancer patients undergo procedures like radiation and chemotherapy when they are receiving treatment. While these therapies are lifesaving, they can be incredibly harsh on the patient’s body.

How Can Acupuncture Help Cancer Pain?

For cancer patients who have survived but have developed chronic pain due to their treatments, acupuncture may help keep them comfortable. That’s why more and more cancer patients and survivors are receiving acupuncture treatment for pain relief and management.

Traditional Chinese Medicine explains pain as a blockage of energy along pathways called meridians. These meridians run throughout the body, connecting all major organs to one another and the skin’s surface. When a meridian becomes blocked or unbalanced, the pain occurs. Acupuncturists use hair-thin needles to stimulate specific points along these meridians in order to clear blockages, balance energy, and alleviate pain.

A recent study sheds light on two specific types of effective acupuncture that can help manage chronic pain in cancer patients and survivors – electroacupuncture and auricular acupuncture.

Electroacupuncture vs. Auricular Acupuncture: What’s The Difference?

In electroacupuncture, low-voltage electricity is passed between pairs of acupuncture needles that are inserted into the skin. The electrical current stimulates the needles, causing a gentle tapping sensation or muscle contraction.

Auricular acupuncture, sometimes called ear acupuncture, involves stimulating specific points on the outer ear to affect other body parts. Instead of inserting needles into the skin, this process may involve electrical stimulation, heat, or pressure. 

Electroacupuncture vs. Auricular Acupuncture: Which One is Promising?

A trial involving 360 cancer survivors who experienced chronic pain after the treatment or surgery. The study found that both types of acupuncture resulted in significant decreases in pain intensity, pain interference, anxiety, and depression among participants. However, electroacupuncture was more effective than ear acupuncture in reducing pain-related disability, depression, and fatigue. It also improved sleep quality more than auricular acupuncture did.

Should Cancer Survivors Consider Acupuncture for Pain Relief?

Compared to standard care, acupuncture has been shown to reduce inflammation around nerves and joints that have been damaged by chemotherapy or radiation therapy. In addition to improving the quality of life, research suggests that acupuncture may also help ease other side effects of cancer treatment, such as nausea and vomiting. Are you looking for an acupuncture clinic for effective pain management in El Cerrito? Anchor Acupuncture can help you relieve cancer-related pain and symptoms. Call our office at (415) 855-3112.

Amanda Moler is a licensed acupuncturist and certified fertility acupuncturist (FABORM), serving San Francisco, CA.  Her educational background includes receiving a bachelor’s degree in Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution from Antioch College in 2001 and in 2010, her master’s degree from American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In 2008, she also attended Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in Chicago, IL for education on acupuncture and oriental medicine. Asa Fellow of the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine, she has gained recognition for treating complex women fertility cases, providing guidance on painful side-effects of drugs, hormones, and maintaining the overall well-being of women. Follow Anchor Acupuncture and Amanda Moler on Facebook , Instagram, LinkedIn.