We often head straight to the medicine cabinet to thwart an oncoming cold, relieve headaches, or ease the back ache that just won’t go away. But many times these drugs have unintended side effects. Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicinal practice that places small needles along specific points around the body to naturally restore balance and increase blood flow. It is often used in combination with chiropractic, and can effectively help treat a wide range of common ailments. Here are 10 common ailments that can benefit from acupuncture treatment.

1. Muscle and Joint Pain

Acupuncture is regularly used to treat muscle and joint pain, particularly lower back pain. In addition to relieving general neck and back pain, acupuncture can also help address pain associated with arthritis, bursitis, tendinitis, carpal tunnel, plant fasciitis, and other conditions such as Morton’s Neuroma. In many cases, acupuncture enables patients to reduce or eliminate pain medications, and sometimes even avoid surgery.

2. Chronic Pain

As with muscle and join pain, acupuncture has been shown to effectively help manage and reduce chronic pain stemming from conditions such as fibromyalgia. Acupuncture can be used to treat generalized pain, or target specific areas of pain. Treating chronic pain with ongoing acupuncture can further decrease a dependency on pain medications.

3. Headaches and Migraines

Headaches and migraines can be debilitating, and should never be considered “normal”. Acupuncture is known to effectively treat chronic migraines and other types of headaches by stimulating blood flow, activating the parasympathetic nervous system, and releasing muscle tension in the neck and upper back. Regular acupuncture treatments can reduce the frequency and severity of migraines, tension headaches, and sinus headaches.

4. Digestive Disorders

Good digestion and a healthy gut are keys to overall wellbeing. Combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise, acupuncture helps improve and regulate digestive function. It can help treat a number of digestive issues, ranging from irritable bowel syndrome and colitis to chronic heartburn and even food allergies. Nausea, diarrhea, and constipation are also treated using acupuncture. Many digestive disorders are linked to excessive stress and tension in the body. By relieving this stress, acupuncture supports improved digestive function and allows patients to more fully enjoy life.

5. Sports Injuries

Acupuncture’s effectiveness in treating joint and muscle pain is also good news for athletes. By stimulating the flow of blood and releasing trigger points in injured muscles, acupuncture can help minimize recovery time for sports-related injuries such as tendinitis, tennis elbow, sprains and strains, shin splints, and muscle soreness.

6. Stress Relief

Today’s fast-paced lifestyles have led to an increase in stress and stress-related illnesses. Acupuncture is a natural way to relieve stress and anxiety, and thus combat the root of many disorders including insomnia, muscle tension, and digestive problems. By alleviating stress, acupuncture helps jump start – and maintain – overall health and wellbeing.

7. Circulatory Disorders

Improved blood flow and increased circulation are hallmarks of acupuncture. Acupuncture treatment can therefore play an important role in treating circulatory disorders such as high blood pressure, hypertension, and poor circulation. By combining acupuncture with an active and healthy lifestyle, many patients can overcome circulatory disorders.

8. Skin Problems

If you’ve been battling skin problems without success, a series of acupuncture treatments could be just what your body needs. Traditional treatment options of skin problems often utilize harsh chemicals, ointments, and medicines that may or may not be effective. Acupuncture is a natural, less invasive option for treating eczema, acne, and dermatitis. Even tough to treat skin problems, like Psorasis, have been effectively treated with a combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.

9. Insomnia

A good night’s sleep is the foundation of a healthy mind and body. Unfortunately, millions of individuals suffer from insomnia and struggle to get the restorative and regular sleep that their bodies need. Insomnia is another ailment commonly linked to stress and anxiety. In addition to relieving stress and relaxing the mind, studies have shown that acupuncture may also increase the production of melatonin.

10. Allergies

Seasonal allergies – complete with running nose, sneezing, and watery or itchy eyes – are often treated using antihistamines or other medications. Acupuncture dilates the blood vessels and can help restore healthy energy throughout the body – both of which can combat allergies. For many patients, acupuncture is an effective long-term treatment for seasonal allergies.