July 14, 2024
Home » Unleashing the Healing Power of Acupuncture and Electroacupuncture

For individuals dealing with musculoskeletal pain, can incorporating acupuncture and electroacupuncture therapy provide beneficial results?


The upper and lower body quadrants are surrounded by muscles, soft tissues, and ligaments that allow the body to be mobile with feelings of pain or discomfort. Each muscle group has an important job providing sensory-motor functions like grasping objects, moving extremities, supporting the body in a correct posture, and stabilizing vertical axial weight. However, many people have adopted various habits from environmental factors or have been through traumatic injuries that can cause referred muscle pain in the upper and lower body quadrants. When this happens, it can lead to a life of disability, pain, and discomfort over time if it is not treated right away. To that point, musculoskeletal pain can also cause overlapping risk profiles with other comorbidities that can be pre-existing in the body. Fortunately, numerous treatments can help reduce musculoskeletal pain and benefit the body. Today’s article looks at two different non-surgical therapies, how each is beneficial to reducing musculoskeletal pain, and how effective they can help many people with musculoskeletal pain. We talk with certified medical providers who consolidate our patients’ information to assess how to reduce the pain-like effects of musculoskeletal pain with non-surgical treatments. We also guide patients on how these non-surgical treatments can help lessen the referred pain caused by various environmental factors affecting their musculoskeletal system. We encourage our patients to ask their associated medical providers intricate and important questions about incorporating non-surgical treatments into their health and wellness treatments. Dr. Jimenez, D.C., includes this information as an academic service. Disclaimer.


The Traditional Touch Of Acupuncture

After a long workday, do you feel soreness in your arms, legs, or feet? Have you experienced any symptoms of numbness or stiffness in the upper or lower portions of your body? Or do you feel muscle aches and pains after waking up in the morning? Around the world, many individuals have dealt with musculoskeletal pain at some point, which causes many people to miss out on numerous activities. Musculoskeletal pain is a multifactorial condition that any individual can develop over time. Some biological mechanisms contributing to the development of musculoskeletal pain can be heterogeneous, cardiometabolic, and systemic inflammation that can affect the body. (Dzakpasu et al., 2021) When many people are doing repetitive motions or have dealt with injuries, it can cause the various muscles to be overstretched, tightened, or weak, which can cause individuals to feel miserable and seek treatment. When people go to get treatment for their musculoskeletal pain, many people will tell their doctors about their pain experience and how it impacts their daily social well-being. By gaining information about how musculoskeletal pain negatively affects their lives, a multidisciplinary approach to pain management that emphasizes rehabilitation and non-surgical treatments can be the first step in effectively managing musculoskeletal pain. (Welsh et al., 2020)



Now, non-surgical treatments vary depending on the severity of musculoskeletal pain the person is experiencing. Since musculoskeletal pain is a multifactorial condition, many people could experience comorbidities that cause overlapping risk profiles that correlate with musculoskeletal pain, hence why many people incorporate non-surgical treatments since it is affordable and can be combined with other treatments. One of the oldest therapies that is still practiced today is acupuncture. Now, acupuncture involves the insertion of thin, solid needles into the body’s acupoints to restore the normal flow of energy through the body’s pathways. Highly trained professionals do acupuncture, and it is safe and effective for the person dealing with musculoskeletal pain. Additionally, acupuncture can positively affect the body as it can help change the pain perception of the affected muscle. (Kelly & Willis, 2019)


How Acupuncture Benefits Muscle Pain

Acupuncture can also provide beneficial results to individuals by emphasizing the mobilization of self-healing mechanisms to restore the body’s homeostasis to normal. (Wang et al., 2023) Some of the beneficial properties that people can experience with acupuncture include:

  • Provides natural pain relief by stimulating the release of endorphins in the affected muscle.
  • Reducing muscle inflammation in the affected muscle group area.
  • Improving blood flow circulation to decrease muscle stiffness and soreness.
  • Reducing stress and muscle tension in the affected area.

At the same time, acupuncture therapy for muscle pain can help reduce the inhibitory effects and modulate the feeling of pain, which then modifies central sensitization. (Zhu et al., 2021)


The Modern Twist Of Electroacupuncture

Now, electroacupuncture is a different form of acupuncture that uses the application of acupuncture needles and electric stimulation on the affected muscle. At the same time, when people are getting treated with electroacupuncture, their somatosensory afferent nerves provide pain relief. They are blocked to stop the pain signals from reaching the central nervous system. (Chen et al., 2021) This is because adding electric stimulation can enhance the therapeutic effects of the acupuncture points in the body. 


How Electroacupuncture Benefits Muscle Pain

Regarding reducing muscle pain, electroacupuncture is more effective as acupuncturists can help adjust the intensity of the electric currents on the affected muscle to ensure comfort. Some of the benefits that electroacupuncture provides include:

  • Enhanced pain relief as the electric current can stimulate endorphin release.
  • Muscle relaxation from spasms in the affected muscle group.
  • Increased the healing rate by stimulating deeper muscles.
  • Help enhance muscle strength and flexibility to improve functionality.

Electroacupuncture can relieve pain and even adjust the biomechanical properties of the extensor-flexor muscles to improve abnormal joint loading caused by musculoskeletal pain. (Shi et al., 2020)


How These Two Treatments Help With Musculoskeletal Pain?

When it comes to acupuncture and electroacupuncture, it all depends on the severity of musculoskeletal pain affecting the body. Many people prefer traditional acupuncture for acute musculoskeletal pain in a more holistic approach. In comparison, others might prefer electroacupuncture to reduce the chronic pain effects of musculoskeletal pain. However, both of these treatments are non-surgical. They can be combined with other therapies like physical therapy or chiropractic care to help stimulate the body’s natural healing factor and relieve musculoskeletal pain. When these two treatments are combined with other therapies, the affected muscles are strengthened and provide mobility function back into the extremities. When people start thinking about their well-being, they can utilize these treatments to reduce the comorbidities associated with musculoskeletal pain that is affecting them. Thus allowing them to make small, healthy changes to their routine and live pain-free lives.


Beyond Adjustments: Chiropractic and Integrative Healthcare- Video


Chen, L., Wang, X., Zhang, X., Wan, H., Su, Y., He, W., Xie, Y., & Jing, X. (2021). Electroacupuncture and Moxibustion-Like Stimulation Relieves Inflammatory Muscle Pain by Activating Local Distinct Layer Somatosensory Afferent Fibers. Front Neurosci, 15, 695152. doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2021.695152

Dzakpasu, F. Q. S., Carver, A., Brakenridge, C. J., Cicuttini, F., Urquhart, D. M., Owen, N., & Dunstan, D. W. (2021). Musculoskeletal pain and sedentary behaviour in occupational and non-occupational settings: a systematic review with meta-analysis. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act, 18(1), 159. doi.org/10.1186/s12966-021-01191-y

Kelly, R. B., & Willis, J. (2019). Acupuncture for Pain. American Family Physician, 100(2), 89-96. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31305037


Shi, X., Yu, W., Wang, T., Battulga, O., Wang, C., Shu, Q., Yang, X., Liu, C., & Guo, C. (2020). Electroacupuncture alleviates cartilage degradation: Improvement in cartilage biomechanics via pain relief and potentiation of muscle function in a rabbit model of knee osteoarthritis. Biomed Pharmacother, 123, 109724. doi.org/10.1016/j.biopha.2019.109724

Wang, M., Liu, W., Ge, J., & Liu, S. (2023). The immunomodulatory mechanisms for acupuncture practice. Front Immunol, 14, 1147718. doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2023.1147718

Welsh, T. P., Yang, A. E., & Makris, U. E. (2020). Musculoskeletal Pain in Older Adults: A Clinical Review. Med Clin North Am, 104(5), 855-872. doi.org/10.1016/j.mcna.2020.05.002

Zhu, J., Li, J., Yang, L., & Liu, S. (2021). Acupuncture, from the ancient to the current. Anat Rec (Hoboken), 304(11), 2365-2371. doi.org/10.1002/ar.24625


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Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Unleashing the Healing Power of Acupuncture and Electroacupuncture" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

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Specialties: Stopping the PAIN! We Specialize in Treating Severe Sciatica, Neck-Back Pain, Whiplash, Headaches, Knee Injuries, Sports Injuries, Dizziness, Poor Sleep, Arthritis. We use advanced proven therapies focused on optimal Mobility, Posture Control, Deep Health Instruction, Integrative & Functional Medicine, Functional Fitness, Chronic Degenerative Disorder Treatment Protocols, and Structural Conditioning. We also integrate Wellness Nutrition, Wellness Detoxification Protocols, and Functional Medicine for chronic musculoskeletal disorders. In addition, we use effective "Patient Focused Diet Plans," Specialized Chiropractic Techniques, Mobility-Agility Training, Cross-Fit Protocols, and the Premier "PUSH Functional Fitness System" to treat patients suffering from various injuries and health problems.
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