Drug rehab and hospitals are exploring acupuncture therapy to treat patients recovering from opioid addiction in Providence, Rhode Island. This alternative to prescription painkillers is increasing traction among medical professionals as a way to combat the nation’s opioid crisis.
The Providence Veterans Affairs Medical Center joined local acupuncture clinics and drug rehab centers that populate Providence’s downtown area and the College Hill neighborhood in expanding acupuncture resources to treat patients with chronic pain and other medical conditions.
Although acupuncture services have been in use for the past few years, public interest has risen in recent months particularly since Medicaid began offering it for low-income patients. Since then, these clinics have seen an influx of patients referrals.
Rather than risk becoming addicted to medications such as oxycodone or hydrocodone, patients have requested their doctors to prescribe other forms of treatment. In response, physicians have prescribed non-habit forming therapies, such as yoga, cognitive behavioral, physical and acupuncture, to accommodate the needs of different patients.
The State of Rhode Island Department of Health reported that from 2014 to mid-2017, nearly 270 fatal overdose deaths. During this period, most parts of Rhode Island averaged less than 20 overdoses, with many towns and cities reporting less than five.
Officials commonly voice concern over how addictive opioid-based prescription medication share chemical compounds present in illegal narcotics such as cocaine and heroin. Prescription opioids specifically block pain sensors but have the ability to alter a user’s brain chemistry, making them more susceptible to developing a dependence.
The use of acupuncture started in China and has been around for centuries. In the early 1900s, Chinese doctors began examining acupuncture through a more scientific lens. Since then, modern medicine has influenced the practice and evolution of acupuncture through the development of new techniques and approaches to treat a multitude of medical issues and symptoms.
Acupuncturists say that when needles are inserted into specific areas of the body, energy called ‘qi’ travels more naturally through the body and can act as a catalyst for healing and reducing pain.
Some doctors claim that acupuncture has had positive effects on patients, including decreasing the amount of opioid relapses as a result of treatment. While the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine and other organizations champion acupuncture’s advantages in treating pain, stress, and other conditions, some medical professionals remain ambivalent about its effectiveness.
A 1972 study from Hong Kong first recorded… (Continue Reading)