Acupuncture & Pain: Is Maintenance Enough 

 March 21, 2019

By  Steve Hoffman

Just about every patient asks me the same question when starting treatment: “How many treatments will this take.” I hate to say it because it sounds like a cop out, but it depends. And it depends on a variety of factors. One of those factors is how long the pain has been there. Typically, it takes one month of treatment for every year the problem has been there. So, if your problem has been around for 20 years, buckle up, you’re going to need almost 2 years of regular treatment. Another major factor in treatment planning is what your treatment goals are.

Treatment Goals

Your goals can be to eliminate the pain, or to reduce the frequency and severity of the pain (maintenance). After all, if someone is suffering from debilitating migraines twice a week that cause them to miss work and limits their ability to function, a reduction to twice a month would be considered maintenance. But that may be a huge win and enough for some patients. Will they have to continue with maintenance treatment to keep things under control? Yes, but one to two treatments a month should suffice.

Your Commitment to Healing

This may be the biggest factor in determining how long treatment will take and will factor in to your goals for treatment. It will also factor in to how often maintenance treatments are required. Are you willing to leave behind the things that made you sick in the first place? If you live the life of a Yogi or a Daoist priest, you are likely to lead a long, healthy life with few, if any, trips to the doctor. Our modern lives, however, are filled with stress, time pressures, too little exercise, too much crappy food, increasing isolation and poor coping mechanisms. All these factors can contribute to poor physical and emotional health and ultimately result in pain. Unless you take steps to leave behind the things that caused your pain in the first place and incorporate healthy habits, your treatment time will be longer, and the maintenance required to keep you feeling good will be more frequent. This is like owning a high-performance sports car, paying top dollar to get it running at peak levels and then taking it 4 wheeling. Odds are pretty good that you are going to have to take it right back to the mechanic. With acupuncture, if you change your habits and live a healthier life, maintenance treatments can be few and far between. Hey, I’ll be glad to take your money and treat you once a week if you are unable to make those changes, but I would much rather see you around town than see you in my office!

Elimination of Pain

Is it possible to eliminate pain? Depending on the cause, pain can be eliminated but this takes an even bigger commitment to incorporating changes into your life. So how long will treatment take? I tell all my patients that if I could get them better in one treatment I would. Some say that’s bad for business but if I could really eliminate pain in one treatment, I would have a line out the door from my office to Texas!

Princeton Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Our patients know just how effective treatments are for these and a host of other problems. Steven Hoffman, a New Jersey Licensed Acupuncturist and Diplomate in Oriental Medicine, will provide you with a thorough intake and evaluation and a clear, comprehensive diagnosis and treatment plan that will insure that your goals are met or exceeded. Do you want to move past these or other problems? We will help you thrive not just survive!

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