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Eastern medicine could help brain injury pain relief

When an individual suffers a serious head injury, the results can be devastating. Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, can lead to severe loss of function in the areas of physical, cognitive or psychosocial ability. In many cases, Massachusetts victims of TBI are unable to return to their normal life, and require intensive medical care, rehabilitation and retraining to achieve an acceptable level of function.

Recent treatment efforts suggest that one tool in treatment of TBI-related issues may be an ancient Eastern medical technique known as acupuncture. Acupuncture uses tiny flexible needles to stimulate specific points in the body. It is often provided as a form of holistic medicine, and is used in conjunction with drug and physical therapy.

Acupuncture is being used to treat TBI sustained by military veterans returning from overseas combat missions. The treatment process has many in the medical community hopeful about the ability of acupuncture to assist patients with high levels of pain. One veteran who is receiving acupuncture therapy has reported a decrease in the pain level of his debilitating headaches that are the result of a TBI that let him with a blood clot in his brain. He has also experienced improvements in his relaxation, sleep and ability to cope with chronic pain issues.

While acupuncture is not a replacement for more traditional Western medical treatment, it can be a useful addition to a treatment plan. Acupuncture can also provide pain relief to Massachusetts brain injury patients who are not able to tolerate certain forms of narcotic pain medications. While the focus of this report was on veterans with TBI, the same positive outcomes could be experienced by victims of car accidents or other injuries that lead to traumatic brain injury.

Source: Tribune Media Services, "Acupuncture helping vets with traumatic brain injury," March 20, 2013

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