Pain, Sleep, Stress: 

 June 21, 2018

By  Steve Hoffman

Pain, stress and sleep often go together in a vicious cycle that can affect our lives in profound ways. For some, it is a pain syndrome that leads to lack of sleep, leading to stress that in turn exacerbates their pain syndrome. For others, insomnia can result in the body not healing itself, leading to pain, leading to further interruption of sleep and stress. Still others may have stress at the root of the problem. High stress can lead to both pain syndromes and lack of sleep.

How does this affect our lives? Moodiness, irritability, short temper, lack of fulfillment, lack of joy, withdrawal and reliance on substances to self-medicate are some emotional symptoms. Physical symptoms include heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Every part of the cycle can be addressed with the use of acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine. Acupuncture is safe, effective, has little to no side effects and is safe to use during pregnancy. Acupuncture can also address these issues at the same time.


As acupuncture for pain relief has become more mainstream, more studies have shown its effectiveness. A recent research study compiled the results of 29 studies involving close to 18,000 participants. The study showed that “Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain and is therefore a reasonable referral option.”[1] Acupuncture has been demonstrated to be as effective as NSAIDs and even some opioid pain medications for treating pain.[2]


Stress is endemic in today’s society and we often wear how much stress we can bear as a badge of honor. But stress can have real physical and psychological effects. Stress raises blood pressure and can cause cardiac disease. Stress also leads to behaviors to reduce that stress such as poor diet, smoking, alcohol or drug abuse. Psychological effects such as anxiety and depression can also result from stress. A recent study performed on animals showed that acupuncture blocked stress induced elevations of stress hormones and reduced sympathetic (fight or flight response) nervous system peptides.[3]


Lack of sleep can result in irritability, lack of focus and poor performance. But lack of sleep can also affect overall health leading to increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. The body also heals itself during sleep so without adequate sleep, pain syndromes often become chronic problem. A recent acupuncture study showed an improvement in not only sleep but also in mood over a four-week treatment period.[4]

If you or someone you know suffers from any or all these problems, breaking the cycle can improve your physical and psychological health. Princeton Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine offers a 30-minute consultation. Schedule one today, right from our website and we can discuss your unique problem and let you know what we can do to help.

[1] Eshkevari, L. (2013, March 14). Eshkevari publishes new study on acupuncture, stress. Retrieved from

[2] Xuan, Y. et al. (2017, January 12). Efficacy and safety of acupuncture on primary insomnia: a randomized controlled trial. Retrieved from

[3] Vickers, A., Cronin, A., Maschino, A. (2012, October 22). Acupuncture for chronic pain, individual patient data meta-analysis. Retrieved from

[4] Cohen, M. (2017, June 19). Acupuncture for analgesia in the emergency department: a multicentre, randomised, equivalence, and non-inferiority trial. Retrieved from

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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