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Managing Pain with Acupuncture

Pain is debilitating.  Acute or chronic, searing or throbbing, sharp or dull: whatever its nature, physical discomfort drastically affects a person's quality of life. Here's the good news: you don’t have to live with your pain forever.  We're here to help.

Acupuncture treats all types of pain – from muscle pain to golfer’s and tennis elbow, from back or shoulder pain to sciatica, from foot pain to fibromyalgia.  Acupuncture can help.  For more on how acupuncture treats pain, visit my About Acupuncture page.

Acupuncture treats joint pain

A joint is that point at which two bones intersect and are supported by other types of tissue: tendons, ligaments, cartilage, bursae.  The components of a healthy joint work together to allow freedom of movement and flexibility.  Painful joints can result when direct injury, inflammation, infection, or degeneration (as in arthritis) affects any of these components.

Some causes of joint pain can affect any or all joints.  For example, arthritis, tendinitis or bursitis can each impact the healthy functioning of many joints, including the elbow, hip, knee, or shoulder.  Other diagnoses are specific to certain joints but may have counterparts in the others.  Jumper’s Knee, for example, is a form of tendinitis affecting the patellar tendon of the knee--it's specific to the knee, but is a member of the broader "tendinitis" family. 

It’s important to note that Lyme disease (a disease caused by a bacteria carried by ticks) can cause joint pain, particularly of the knees.  If your discomfort moves from one joint to another or if you have a recent history of rash or flu-like symptoms, you should be tested for Lyme disease to ensure the most appropriate treatment plan.

Acupuncture treats muscle pain

Muscle pain has multiple causes.  It often follows strenuous exercise.  It could be due to poor posture or sub-par workplace ergonomics.  Or it may be a result of stress--neck and shoulder pain, anyone?   No matter the root--and it's unlikely there's just one--at some point each one of us has had experienced muscle tension.  Neck tension and neck pain are some of the most common conditions treated by acupuncture and Chinese medicine.  In fact, I usually give all of my patients some manual therapy on their neck because everyone has neck tension from the busy lives we lead.  More broadly, at ATX Acupuncture, therapeutic manual therapy is an integral part of any treatment protocol for muscle pain.

Acupuncture treats acute injuries and sports injuries

Many insurance plans now cover acupuncture for pain

It is increasingly common for insurance benefits to cover acupuncture for pain relief. They do this because it works, and because it's cost-effective.  To find out if your insurance policy covers acupuncture for pain, please email me through the contact form, including your full name, date of birth, insurance provider, member ID, and group ID. 

How does acupuncture treat pain?

As I describe on the Acupuncture FAQ page, the body is traversed by a network of  meridians--think of them like the highways that criss-cross the country.  In addition to their breadth of coverage, these channels also run at five different depths in the body, ranging from superficial to deep.  When the qi (pronounced "chee") circulating in the meridians at any level becomes blocked, we experience pain.

Chinese medicine treats pain by removing these blockages to allow the qi to move freely.  Within this context I take a three-pronged approach to treatment.

1. I use acupuncture to open up the channels and move the stagnant qi.  You can think of the needles like switches on a railroad track, encouraging the qi to flow in a specific direction.  Acupuncture also calms the mind and relaxes the agitation that so often accompanies painful conditions.

2. I use herbal and nutritional medicine in a similar fashion, to encourage the free movement of qi in the body.  Specific herbal medicines might  be included in your formula because they have an analgesic effect, because they reduce inflammation, guide the formula to the specific area of concern (your shoulder, your neck, your low back), because they calm the mind, or because, as is the case in pain due to degeneration, they nourish the connective tissue.

3. Therapeutic manual therapy stops pain pain by relaxing muscles, softening fascia, reducing scar tissue, encouraging the flow of blood and lymph, and calming the mind.

What kind of pain does acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture treats a wide variety of pain conditions.  Click on any of the names to read more about how we approach treatment.  ​Under construction--coming soon!

  • Back and neck pain
  • Hip pain and sciatica
  • Knee pain
  • Ankle and foot pain
  • Shoulder pain, thoracic outlet syndrome
  • Elbow pain
  • Hand and wrist pain
  • Jaw pain and TMJ
  • Headache and migraine
  • Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Post-herpetic neuralgia

    A pain-free life is yours for the taking.  If you're reading to take control of your health, call us TODAY at (​207) 756-4301​ to schedule your first appointment or your free 15 minute consultation.  We're excited for you and what the future holds, and we can't wait to get started!


Alexa Gilmore

Phone (207) 756-4301

Fax (866) 566-0298

What's your body telling you?
Let's find out.

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Pain Overview - ATX Acupuncture in Portland, ME