Acupuncture for IBS: What You Need to Know

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic condition known by many names (spastic colon, irritable colon, mucous colitis, and spastic colitis) and is estimated to affect up to 20% of Americans. The abdominal pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea, and other symptoms associated with IBS range from mild to severe, and the worst cases can disrupt your daily life. 

There are different ways to treat IBS including medications, exercise, and probiotics, but a popular alternative therapy for this condition is acupuncture

If you live in Hagerstown, Maryland, and you’re looking for acupuncture treatment of IBS and other conditions, Dr. Chris Clark and Premier Spine and Sports Medicine specialize in medical acupuncture and many other treatments and therapies.

Let's explore how acupuncture works and how it can help this bowel condition.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a practice that’s been used in Eastern medicine for thousands of years to help with a variety of conditions through the use of needles inserted at key points in your body. In Eastern practice, the idea is to control the flow of chi (life energy) to relieve pain and help the body.

In modern medical terms, the acupuncture points serve as locations used to stimulate nerves, muscle, and tissue to boost the body’s natural painkillers. Acupuncture is used for a variety of conditions, including IBS, dental pain, headaches, migraines, labor pain, lower back pain, menstrual cramps, and respiratory disorders.

How does acupuncture work?

This method works by inserting thin needles in key parts of your body, depending on the condition being treated. Your condition also determines how you will be asked to lie (on your back, stomach, or side). There are acupuncture points all over the body. 

A single treatment can use between 5-20 needles (which may be heated or stimulated after insertion), and you may not even feel them until they reach the proper depth. Needles may stay in place on average between 10-20 minutes. 

The sensation after the treatment varies and can leave you feeling relaxed or energized. The number of treatments expected may vary, and acute conditions can take up to 12 sessions to treat.

How does acupuncture help IBS?

Acupuncture can help IBS through stimulating your nervous system in a way that releases chemicals and hormones that relieve pain, stress, and other symptoms. 

Studies into the effectiveness of acupuncture have yielded results ranging from improved overall quality of life to effective management of diarrhea, bloating, and stool abnormality. 

Acupuncture is a low risk solution for managing your IBS, and still leaves room for other treatment plans to be used. 

If you’re ready to see if acupuncture can help your IBS, call our office or book an appointment online with Dr. Clark and Premier Spine and Sports Medicine today.

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