ETCH treating pain beyond the pill bottle

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- East Tennessee Children's Hospital has it's first acupuncturist treating kids for pain. Acupuncture in addition to acupressure, music therapy and massage therapy are all ways the hospital is treating kids for pain as a part of their integrative treatment program.

Acupuncture needles are the size of a strand of hair which is why often times, patients don't even feel them being inserted in the skin. / Source: WVLT News

During the acupuncture treatment, the specialist will inert tiny needles in the arms and legs of the patient to relieve pain in those areas. Acupuncturist Jodie Manross says acupuncture is a natural way of treating pain from headaches, nasuea and anxiety. The best part about it, contrary to belief, is it doesn't hurt.

"It's not painful at all sometimes they will just feel a little zingy or their tummy will gurgle or they will feel a little tickle like Alexis did." said Manross. "That's it, they're very tiny and very surfaced but its an amazing way to help kids."

Manross says the needles are as tiny as a piece of thread or a hair on your head.

"About forty of my needles can fit into one hospital needle or a needle at your doctors office.", said Manross.

The hospital added treatments like acupuncture to their services to eliminate some of the bad side effects children have to deal with when taking medications for extensive periods of time.

"You don't want a five-year-old to be any more reliant on any medication, particularly pain medication." said ETCH Clinical Director Lorna Keeton. "We want them to be as functional as they need and want to be."

Keeton says treatments like this could be the first step to stopping the Opiod epedimic in East Tennessee.

"I think that the community at large is now willing to entertain that we've got to do better as far as treating pain beyond the pill bottle. ", said Keeton

Currently, the integrative treatments are not able to be funded by the hospital. Luckily, generous donors around the community have stepped up and are able to fund the program in the meantime. If you would like to donate to support the integrative treatment program you can find out more about pain and palliative care on the hospital's website.

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