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Serving Mpls., Saint Paul, Hudson and beyond

Transition to Health Transition to Health

1075 Hadley Ave. N. Suite 106 Oakdale, MN 55128

Debi Rene Weiss, LAc., Dipl.Ac., R.N., MaOM

Acupuncturist, Medical Herbalist, Holistic Nurse

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Don't suffer through another day - call Transition To Health for relief.

Chronic Pain

Pain is the most prevalent health condition among U.S. workers and the most expensive in terms of lost productivity. More than 6 in 10 adults over the age of 30 experience chronic pain.

body pain

U.S. health care expenditures for back and neck pain have risen to more than $80 billion a year.  


In addition to the costs of lost productivity, an estimated $64 billion per year is lost due to workers continuing to work, even though pain reduces their job performance.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 30th annual report on the health status of the nation, (Health, United States, 2006) identified pain as a prevalent complaint among those interviewed.  This led to a special section of the 2006 report dedicated solely to the condition of pain. Titled "Special Feature: Pain,"  this section of the report focuses on pain as it affects various locations in the body including the low back, head, neck, face and joints.


Low back pain was the most commonly reported of the four types of pain, the most common cause of job-related disability, and a leading contributor to missed work and reduced productivity.    



backpain migraine

The second most frequently reported chronic pain type was severe headache and/or migraine. "In 2004, 15% of adults reported migraine/severe headache and 15% also reported neck pain.


Adults 18 to 44 years of age reported migraine/severe headache pain almost three times as frequently as adults 65 years and older.


knee pain

Overall, the prevalence of severe joint pain increased with age. The knee was the site of joint pain most commonly reported, followed by the shoulder, fingers and hips.    


For a copy of Health, United States, 2006, including the section, "Special Feature: Pain," please visit www.cdc.gov/nchs/hus.htm.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders & Stroke (www.ninds.nih.gov) states:


“While acute pain is a normal sensation triggered in the nervous system to alert you to possible injury and the need to take care of yourself, chronic pain is different. Chronic pain persists. Pain signals keep firing in the nervous system for weeks, months, even years.


There may have been an initial mishap -- sprained back, serious infection, or there may be an ongoing cause of pain -- arthritis, cancer, ear infection, but some people suffer chronic pain in the absence of any past injury or evidence of body damage. Many chronic pain conditions affect older adults.


Common chronic pain complaints include headache, low back pain, cancer pain, arthritis pain, neurogenic pain (pain resulting from damage to the peripheral nerves or to the central nervous system itself).


A person may have two or more co-existing chronic pain conditions. Investigators are also studying the effect of stress on the experience of chronic pain.”


What is Chronic Pain?

What Are the Symptoms of Chronic Pain?

The symptoms of chronic pain include:

  • Mild to severe pain that does not go away after 3-6 months

  • Pain may be described as shooting, burning, aching, or electrical

  • Unrelenting feeling of discomfort, soreness, tightness, or stiffness

Pain is not a symptom that exists alone. Other quality of life issues associated with pain can include:

  • Fatigue, exhaustion

  • Sleeplessness, insomnia

  • Withdrawal from activity

  • Increased need to rest

  • Weakened immune system

  • Changes in mood:  hopelessness,

  • fear, depression, irritability, anxiety

  • Stress results from pain & aggravates pain

  • Disability and functional losses


Acupuncture Treatment of Chronic Pain

“Enough prescription painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to medicate every American adult around-the-clock for a month.”

CDC Vital Signs, November 2011


“Annually an estimated 3 million American adults receive acupuncture treatment and chronic pain is the most common presentation.”

JAMA Oct. 22, 2012, Vol. 172, No. 19



With so many Americans in pain, and growing dissatisfaction with conventional pharmaceutical treatment, acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment in the management of chronic pain.


The Journal of the American Medical Association published the report, Acupuncture for Chronic Pain:  Individual Patient Data Meta-analysis  (JAMA Oct. 22, 2012, Vol 172, No. 19).  The goal of this analysis was to determine the effect of acupuncture treatment for four chronic pain conditions:  back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, shoulder pain and chronic headache.


Upon analysis of 17, 922 patients in 29 randomized controlled trials, the report concludes:






“Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain

and is therefore a reasonable referral option.”






During your first acupuncture appointment we will discuss:

  •   How and when the pain started

  •   Location of your pain

  •   Quality of your pain – how you experience the pain

  •   What makes your pain better or worse

  •   How your pain impacts your daily living

  •   Treatments you have tried

  •   Medicines used and any side effects

  •   Your lifestyle

In treating chronic pain, we often recommend two acupuncture treatments per week for two weeks.  This allows for solid clinical evaluation of how your body responds to acupuncture and improves  your quality of life.


After four treatments, Phase 2 of the treatment plan will be established.  Depending upon the source of the pain, how long you have had the pain, and other therapies in use, a series of 12 treatments is common.  


After the initial series, many chronic conditions can be managed with monthly treatments or during flair ups.  



Quality of Life

Chronic pain takes a toll on one’s quality of life. That's true whether your pain is due to cancer, shingles, arthritis, injury, or any other cause.  Chronic pain can impact:

  •   Your ability to work

  •   Socializing with family and friends

  •   Regular exercise, leading to weight gain and muscle loss

  •   Keeping up with household and family chores

  •   Your mood, often losing interest in life

  •   Sound and restorative sleep

  •   Reliance on OTC and narcotic pain meds, alcohol

  •   Stress

At Transition To Health we utilize the Quality of Life Scale as one tool that can help us assess your pain as well as monitor improvement, deterioration, or treatment-related complications.  A copy of the scale follows:


The Quality of Life Scale:

Measure of Function for People With Pain

Developed by the American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA)





0   Stay in bed all day

    Feel hopeless and/or helpless about life



1  Stay in bed at least half the day.

     Have no contact with outside world.



2  Get out of bed but don’t get dressed

    Stay at home all day



3  Get dressed in the morning

    Minimal activities at home

    Contact with friends via phone, email



4 Do simple chores around the house

    Minimal activities outside of home two days/week



5  Struggle but fulfill daily home responsibilities

    No outside activity

    Not able to work/volunteer



6  Work/volunteer limited hours

    Take part in limited social activities on weekends



7  Work/volunteer for a few hours daily

    Can be active at least 5 hours a day

    Can plan to do simple activities on weekends.



8  Work/volunteer for at least six hours daily

    Have energy to plan one evening social activity during week.

    Active on weekends



9  Work/volunteer/be active 8 hours daily

    Take part in family life

    Outside social activities limited



10  Go to work/volunteer each day

      Normal daily activities each day

      Have a social life outside of work

      Take an active part in family life