People are used to how medication works. You take a pill and get an instant result. Pain killers may dull or mask the pain, but they don’t address the underlying cause of the pain. Acupuncture works differently and while commonly people will notice an immediate improvement in pain sometimes it takes a few treatments to kick in. Look for reduction of intensity and frequency of each pain episode. During the course of treatment, the frequency, intensity and duration of pain decreases. It's also not uncommon that the size of the area that hurts starts to shrink.
People also notice that they are able to accomplish more throughout their day. Sometimes those closest to you may notice a difference before you do! This leads to increased feelings of happiness and reduced feelings of depression. In addition to pain relief you will see an improvement in the following areas: the quality of sleep, a feeling of well being, and an increase in the range of movement. Our bodies heal while we are asleep and improved sleep and energy are good signs you are starting to heal.
Acupuncture treatments build on one another. Depending on the reason for your visit, you may not necessarily notice a difference in your condition after each individual treatment. The main reason a treatment plan is created is to achieve that cumulative effect! Think about going to the gym. Each time you go is important, but where you see the most difference is after all those visits. The results are very visible!! Everyone is different, however, and one person may feel relief after one visit, and others may not notice until a few hours later or the next day. All bodies are different and will respond to treatment differently. If you ever have questions please ask your acupuncturist!
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Meaghan Massella, M.Ac, L.Ac, Dipl. Ac (NCCAOM) is an acupuncturist, business owner and mother of 2.