Chronic illness is on the rise in America. According to the National Health Council, about 133 million people have a chronic health condition lasting longer than 3 months. That is 133 million Americans that miss out on fun, family, and life because of their chronic disease. These diseases can include – but are not limited to:
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Heart Disease
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Asthma

Sadly, our current healthcare model isn’t set up to deal with this constant increase in chronic illness. With chronic disease on the rise it threatens to steal the life expectancy of an entire generation and bankrupt our society. Chronic disease is an epidemic on the rise, consider these current facts:

  • 20% of children age 6-11 are obese
  • 600,000 Americans dies of a heart attack annually
  • 16-25% of Adults suffer with an autoimmune disease
  • More than 50% of American take prescription drugs
  • More than 40% of elderly adults take more than 5 prescriptions
  • The cases of autism has double since 2000
  • Depression is increasing every year
  • Nearly 10% of Americans have Diabetes and that is increasing every year
 (Source: Chris Kresser, Unconvential Medicine)

Pharmaceutical drug use has resulted in an opioid epidemic rather than providing a real solution. Medications don’t address the core issues of chronic disease which results in further dependence. Furthermore, these medications suppress our body’s natural response creating unwanted side effects. Many patients that I see dependent on medication soon discover they are on a merry-go-around of increased drug strength, medication side effects, and long-term consequences of medication use.

What is the better approach to managing chronic illness?

Your secret weapon is health professional who understands and is able to treat the underlying issue. You may be surprised to find out that chronic disease is relatively new. For generations we have lived in harmony with nature, remembering we are a part of nature not opposed to it.  Imagine a medication that was able to reduce chronic inflammation without side effects. You could use this medication easily without concern for long term damage. In fact the longer you used it the stronger it would be come. This secret medication actually describes acupuncture. From research we know that acupuncture for chronic disease relieves pain, reduces inflammation, and it restores physiological balance (homeostasis).

What types of pain and chronic illness does acupuncture treat from the research?

Acupuncture originated in China thousands of years ago and is currently being practiced throughout the world. Lack of research in the past lead to the misunderstanding of its use and made it controversial. However, today’s research has demonstrated with scientific authenticity that acupuncture is effective, especially in certain conditions, and additional conditions continue to be researched. Overall, acupuncture and Chinese Medicine when done by a trained professional is safe.

Some of the most compelling research has shown these specific conditions to be positively supported by acupuncture:

  • Seasonal and year-round allergies
  • Osteoarthritis in the Knee
  • Nausea and vomiting due to Chemotherapy
  • Migraine prevention
  • Tension and chronic headaches
  • Chronic low back pain
  • Post-operative nausea, vomiting and pain
More research is being done to prove the degree of effectiveness, but current studies show a high level of success with the following conditions when treated with acupuncture:
  • Back, shoulder and neck pain
  • Acute stroke and stroke symptoms such as insomnia, pain and spasticity
  • Mental health including anxiety, depression, PTSD, and schizophrenia
  • Plantar heel pain
  • Adult asthma
  • Insomnia
  • Cancer pain and fatigue
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Dry Eye
  • Hypertension
  • Sciatica
  • IBS (irritable bowl syndrome)
  • Smoking cessation (up to 3 months)
  • Pregnancy discomfort
  • Obesity

Can acupuncture help the opioid crisis?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that over 130 Americans die daily from opioid overdose. The financial cost of our opioid crisis, based on estimates from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is around $78 billion annually including the costs of criminal justice, treatment, job inefficiencies, and associated health care. Health care providers are being urged to provide non-pharmacy solutions, and acupuncture is one of the most prominent, evidence-based options available. Numerous studies have demonstrated acupuncture’s positive effect on reducing pain as well as inflammation from chronic illness. The evidence is so compelling that even the Centers for Medicare Services is now paying for acupuncture for chronic low back pain. 

The solution

Together, we will create a plan to reduce pain and we’ll get to the root cause(s) of your chronic illness. My expertise with modern functional medicine allows me to integrate the most recent research with a traditional approach. If you are struggling with a chronic disease your next step is to schedule a new patient appointment so we can get started today. 

Contact Dr. Mark VanOtterloo for an appointment or free consultation today.