Acupuncture Alters the Brain’s Management of Pain

Tuesday, 18 Aug 2009 10:22 AM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
The Chinese have used acupuncture for thousands of years to help manage pain, but exactly how it works has been a mystery—until now. Although scientists speculated that acupuncture possibly activates the body’s natural painkillers, there was no solid scientific evidence, and many experts believed its pain-relieving reputation was nothing more than a placebo effect.

Researchers at the University of Michigan used brain imagining to find evidence that traditional Chinese acupuncture actually affects the brain’s long-term ability to manage pain. Their study discovered that acupuncture increases the binding ability of mu-opioid receptors in the regions of the brain that process and control pain signals. Opioid painkillers, such as morphine and codeine, bind to these receptors.

“The increased binding availability of these receptors was associated with reductions in pain,” says Richard E. Harris, Ph.D., researcher at the University of Michigan Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center. Treating victims of chronic pain with acupuncture may make their opioid medications work better because the pain-relieving medication can attach to more receptors and increase their effectiveness.

Results of the study will appear in the September “Journal of NeuroImage.”

© HealthDay

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Comments
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Find Your Condition
You May Also Like
Around the Web
Most Commented

The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read Newsmax Terms and Conditions of Service.

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAXHEALTH.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved