Battlefield Acupuncture (BFA) is an innovative pain-relief treatment that’s often very effective in controlling acute and chronic pain. Developed by Air Force Colonel Richard Niemtzow, MD, in 2001, BFA was adapted from the ancient Chinese medicine practice of acupuncture.
Initially intended for use on the battlefield when pain medications were not appropriate, BFA is becoming increasingly popular in private practice as a clinically proven, drug-free solution for pain.
At the Pain Institute of Southern Arizona, our top-rated team of physicians and other pain management specialists often recommend BFA as one of our many tools used for pain-relief treatment. We’ve seen the results firsthand and are happy to provide a few details about BFA.
The basics of BFA
BFA is a non-traditional form of acupuncture. Unlike the standard acupuncture needles you may envision, BFA uses very small, dart-like needles that are topped with tiny gold studs. The entire structure is small enough that you could place several on the tip of a finger.
Once inserted at up to five known acupuncture sites in the outer ear, the needles remain in place for two to seven days and naturally fall out on their own. Pain relief is typically instant and can last several days.
Medical science continues to research exactly why and how acupuncture, including BFA, works. It’s believed that it may stimulate your nervous system to trigger the release of natural pain killers (endorphins) for short-term relief and longer-acting anti-inflammatory substances.
Regardless of why it works, there’s substantial clinical evidence that proves BFA can effectively provide varying degrees of pain control for about 80% of individuals who undergo treatment.
BFA is safe
When BFA is applied by a health care professional who has undergone appropriate training, it’s considered a safe therapy. Side effects are extremely rare, but it’s not recommended for pregnant women or individuals with a current ear infection.
The benefits of BFA
There are many advantages to using BFA for pain control.
While you may experience restrictions due to an injury that’s responsible for your pain, you won’t need to limit activities due to a drug effect.
There’s no potential for addiction and little to no risk of other side effects associated with BFA.
Many individuals prefer BFA because it relies on your body’s natural method of controlling pain.
BFA treatments are quick and painless, can be repeated as necessary, and may be used in conjunction with other therapies offered through the Pain Institute of Southern Arizona.
It’s always our goal at the Pain Institute to provide treatments that effectively reduce or eliminate your pain, increase your mobility, and restore the active lifestyle you desire. BFA is just one of the many tools we use to meet our goals, and it meets our high standards of providing safe and effective therapy to residents throughout southern Arizona.
For a thorough evaluation and expert opinion regarding your pain management, call one of our facilities located across southern Arizona today to schedule your appointment.