Pain Management

We use acupuncture, massage, Chinese Herbal Medicine, nutrition, and mind body medicine to relieve symptoms associated with acute and chronic pain. Chronic pain can be very debilitating for some people causing them to forgo activities they used to enjoy and even in some cases rely on others to do daily chores for them.

This can be tough losing independence and quality of life because the body is in too much pain to perform daily activities. Fortunately, acupuncture can relieve painful symptoms and is probably what it is best known for.


According to Chinese medicine acupuncture relieves pain by moving blockages of energy and blood causing a disharmony, which is perceived as pain. In contrast, conventional medicines reasoning for acupuncture’s success in pain relief is due to stimulation of nerves, muscles, and connective tissue by the insertion of the needles into specific points on the body. Research has shown that stimulating these points results in the increase of the body’s own pain killing chemicals such as endorphins, enkephalin, and endomorphin

Acupuncture is known to help in the pain relief of these chronic conditions:

The practitioners at Whole Family Health want to help you become pain free so that you can enjoy doing all the things you used to do. Acupuncture treatments vary from person to person and we will tailor them to fit your specific needs and goals. Therefore, your practitioner may use a combination of acupuncture and additional techniques to aid in your recovery.

Additional techniques include:

Electrical Acupuncture: Electrical stimulation of the acupuncture needle to further stimulate endorphin release.

Fire Cupping: A cup with a partial vacuum is placed on the area of concern to increase blood circulation in the muscles.

Moxibustion: The application of burning an herb called mugwort close to the surface of the skin to apply heat to a specific area to increase blood circulation.

Guasha: A technique that uses a rounded instrument to scrape the skin in order to move metabolic waste out of the muscle tissue.

Tuina: A type of massage used by acupuncturists to break down scar tissue to relax muscles and tendons and increase circulation.


Chronic pain can be caused by a number of different factors including injuries that never healed properly causing the body to produce excess connective tissue. Connective tissue helps the body to heal but unfortunately it can also cause the muscles to contract and shorten causing extended painful symptoms. Massage is able to relieve pain by softening and lengthening the connective tissue surrounding the injured muscle allowing the area to move smoothly again.

Chronic pain can also cause muscles to become tense and strained over long periods of time. Fortunately, massage aids in pain relief by relaxing tense muscles by breaking apart muscular waste deposits and increasing circulation in the problematic areas. Prolonged tension and strain on the body can interfere with metabolic waste elimination that can impede blood circulation causing muscle and nerve pain. When waste builds up in tissues they create trigger points and these then refer pain and other neurological symptoms to different areas of the body.

Another reason massage decreases pain is because when the body is rhythmically manipulated by human touch it sooths the nervous system and releases pain killing hormones such as endorphins. When the body is in a calm state it will dilate blood vessels increasing blood flow causing the muscles to voluntarily relax.

Massage therapy is known to help relieve pain in these chronic conditions:


Having a well balanced diet full of many nutrients can help with chronic pain symptoms because many foods contain pain-relieving nutrients. It is best to include foods that boost feel good serotonin levels, increase analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties.

When you eat foods high in tryptophan this increases the serotonin production in your brain helping you to feel less pain.

Foods that contain tryptophan include:

  • Whole grain rice and breads
  • Oats
  • Bananas
  • Mango
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chickpeas
  • Red meat
  • Turkey
  • Tuna

Foods that contain vitamin B6 have analgesic attributions by reducing the perception of pain by inhibiting pain signals from entering the brain.

Foods high in vitamin B6 include:

  •  Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Bell peppers
  • Asparagus
  • Bananas
  • Avocados
  • Watermelon
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Chicken
  • Beef

Foods that contain anti-inflammatory properties reduce redness, swelling, pain, and decreased motor function that is important in the recovery process.

These foods include:

  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Salmon
  • Herring
  • Tuna

Also, it is important to moderate the intake of animal protein in our diets. Animal protein from meats and dairy contain a fatty acid called arachidonic acid and this produces a prostaglandin PGE2. When there is an excess amount of PGE2 in the body it causes pain and inflammation to increase making chronic pain conditions worse.

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