Could acupuncture ease your bunion pain?

Eastern medicine has been a controversial subject in the Western world for a long time, but 3 million Americans have found that this age-old medicinal therapy can reduce pain in nearly everything – from migraines to bunions.

On pins and needles
It may seem counterproductive to stick needles into a part of the body that is already experiencing throbbing pain, but according to The New York Times, there is now sound proof that patients who experience chronic pain use this practice as an effective and popular treatment. There is also government data that suggests acupuncture is a growing therapeutic practice for children as well, according to the Times.

Acupuncture may look and sound like a complicated procedure, but when you get down to the nuts and bolts of this therapeutic practice, it is really quite simple. When you go to an acupuncture specialist, a trained professional will insert needles where bunions hurt the worst – your big toe. In theory, these needles with stimulate so-called acupoints that are widely believed to release pain-relieving enzymes. After a study of 18,000 patients, doctors are now recognizing that there could be sizable benefits in practicing acupuncture, which may mean relief for your bunion

This simple practice was dismissed as hippie nonsense when it was first introduced into the medical world decades ago. However, times are a'changing because this Eastern pain therapy is among the most widely-practiced forms of alternative medicine in the country, and acupuncture is now offered by many hospitals and insurance plans for those seeking pain relief.

What this means for your bunions
Since the root cause of bunions can come from different forms of arthritis, the Japanese have been using acupuncture on feet for centuries to relieve sore achy joints. According to Acupuncture Today, they even have a nickname for bunions: sugar toes. Until scientific research proved otherwise, many Eastern cultures believed that too many sweets were the main cause of bunion pain. The source explained that the first time can produce tenderness in the toes, but once the body responds to the acu-points, many patients have experienced pain relief.

Like many podiatrists who prescribe orthotics, acupuncturists agree that surgery can oftentimes be an ineffective, painful and costly option. Since acupuncture can be an effective pain reliever but can't slow down the growth of bunions, pairing these two alternative methods together could help you make your foot problems a distant memory.