Acupuncture for Pain

Woman leans forward as acupuncture needles are inserted in her neck and upper back

At the Center for Women’s Health, we’re committed to meeting the diverse health care needs of our patients, and one of the ways we do that is by offering treatment plans coordinated across teams of specialists.

This is so important for treating things like pain, where patient experiences can vary so widely. Pain can me mild to debilitating, temporary or chronic, and can occur in all different parts of the body for all kinds of reasons.

One of our specialists on treating pain is Yunpeng Luo, D.A.O.M., M.Med., L.Ac.. Trained and educated in China and the United States as a Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, he offers treatment for pain through acupuncture, as well as traditional Chinese herbs. 

Who can benefit?

Acupuncture can be used to treat all types of pain, including:

  • Headaches/migraines
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Pain during pregnancy
  • Acute pain from injuries or accidents throughout the body
  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture involves inserting needles into the skin at specific points on the body. The classical Chinese explanation for this process is that channels of energy run through the body and accessing these channels at specific points can help unblock barriers and improve energy flow. 

Modern scientific studies show that acupuncture may stimulate the nervous system, triggering the body to release chemicals and hormones that affect how we feel pain or influence other parts of the body's regulatory system. 

"Acupuncture is safe and can be very effective," says Dr. Luo. "New patients are sometimes nervous, but the needles are so smooth and thin that they rarely cause pain." 

A holistic treatment like acupuncture can be a great complement to other medical treatments patients use. Many patients Dr. Luo sees take pain medication but are looking for more pain relief. He works closely with these patients to help them achieve their goals. 

"Acupuncture can often decrease pain while also allowing people to take less medicine," says Dr. Luo. "Some patients can even use acupuncture to manage their pain without drugs."

What is the experience like?

When you arrive for your first appointment, Dr. Luo first discusses your pain and your goals. “I also go over your general health with you,” Dr. Luo says. “It’s important to understand your overall health because acupuncture is a very holistic approach to treating pain.”

After this discussion, Dr. Luo will recommend a plan for treatment and get started. Most acupuncture treatment plans include multiple sessions – at least four or five. The first few may be a week apart, then biweekly or monthly depending on your level of pain and how well the acupuncture is working.

Needles may be placed locally – where your pain is occurring – but they are also placed in other locations, based on Traditional Chinese Medicine’s meridian theory. For example, if you have migraine headaches, Dr. Luo may place a needle as far away as your foot.

Because each person’s sensitivity is very different, the number of needles used can vary widely, but 10 to 15 is average. “The number of needles isn’t the main factor for effectiveness,” says Dr. Luo. “Some patients respond to as few as two needles, other times I have used as many as 50 or 60.”

If you are looking for an effective alternative treatment, Dr. Luo may be able to help. Call 503-418-4500 to make an appointment. You can be sure that Dr. Luo will look at your health holistically. 

"I believe that the mind-body connection is very important," he says. "When treating patients, I always take a whole body approach."