Based on a number of studies, dysmenorrhea, a condition that can cause painful pre-menstrual cramping, can be significantly reduced with acupuncture.
Caused by an underlying pelvic condition (secondary dysmenorrhea), dysmenorrhea may also be brought about by a pathology of an unknown cause (primary dysmenorrhea). In the United States, about 25% of women suffer from either primary or secondary dysmenorrhea. This condition cannot be effectively treated by using NSAIDS or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or any pharmaceutical painkillers.
Practiced in China for thousands of years, acupuncture has long been used to treat premenstrual pain. However, experiments to observe and prove its efficacy have only been performed recently. One such experiment that was featured in 2010 in the Evidence-based Complimentary and Alternative Medicine journal tested acupuncture on women who had been experiencing moderate to severe dysmenorrhea for a minimum of one year. NSAID therapy had no effect on their pain. All these women refused oral contraceptive therapy, a treatment that is usually recommended by doctors for this type of condition.
The conductors of the study found 13 out of the 15 women who participated in the study had significant lessening of their pain; they also were able to cut down on their use of NSAIDs after being given acupuncture treatment. This study showed that in relieving pain brought about by primary dysmenorrhea acupuncture in Overland Park appeared to be the most effective treatment in the study.
One other study that was published in 2011 in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine performed by scientists from the Shandong Academy of Chinese Medicine involved 80 participants who were all suffering from primary dysmenorrhea felt in three cycles of menstruation. No type of acupuncture treatment was ever given to these women before to help quell their dysmenorrhea. The scientists saw that preconditioning acupuncture treatment helped significantly lessen the duration and magnitude of their symptoms more so than immediate acupuncture or no acupuncture treatment at all.
Acupuncture is an important component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), a holistic type of healthcare whose philosophy sees the body as made up of interconnected systems that needs to be in balance to attain good health. Acupuncture is a natural form of treatment that has no side effects whatsoever in contrast to Western modes of treatments such as hormonal contraceptives that merely targets the symptoms (and not the underlying cause of the symptoms) and always carry adverse side effects.
Acupuncture traditionally involves the insertion of thin long needles into underlying body locations known as meridians. Acupuncture treatment is often combined with other TCM modalities like energy therapies such as Qi Gong, herbal therapy, and lifestyle and dietary changes.
Recently, acupuncture has become a very popular alternative treatment in Western countries due in part to the increasing number of research studies that proved its effectiveness. These studies have specifically demonstrated that this unique form of therapy is quite effective in treating most types of pain. Even more good news is that this treatment is now covered by a lot of private insurance plans and has even been endorsed as a legitimate form of treatment for various conditions by the U.S. military.
Being a scientifically supported treatment and endorsed by the National Institutes of Health for several types of conditions including pain and dysmenorrhea, acupuncture is a very safe and noninvasive type of treatment that is free of any side effects.