In Arkansas, nearly half of drug overdoses involve prescription painkillers, but some people are finding pain relief in a practice that dates back thousands of years.

A year ago, Gayle Marcks couldn’t walk without support because of severe scoliosis.

“She has chronic pain from time to time just because of the way her spine is,” Dr. Tyler Hicks, a chiropractic physician at Little Rock Chiropractic & Acupuncture said.

Marcks’ friend told her about acupuncture and dry needling.

“And I’m like, oh my gosh, life-changing,” Marcks said.

Dr. Hicks said acupuncture works on predetermined points of the body.

“But with dry needling, we’re going directly in a trigger point or a tender point on someone in hopes to restore function to that muscle and balance everything out,” he added.

Marcks expressed how the appointments made her feel after dealing with the pain of scoliosis.

“In between the acupuncture, and the adjustments, and then the dry needling, I’m like a new person,” Marcks said.

Dr. Hicks said acupuncture and dry needling are safe and effective treatments.

“It actually works really, really well for decreasing people’s pain and a lot of the time, they won’t need those opioids to mask the pain,” he said.

This is good news for Marcks, who knows all too well the downsides of prescription painkillers.

“Hydro, Oxy, and honestly, they never did anything for me at all,” Marcks said. “And I was terrified of getting addicted to them because I have a family member that was addicted to prescription pain pills.”

The treatments have kept Marcks off opioids for now and she said she hopes the same for the future.

“The pain relief is absolutely instant and it’s like I can breathe,” she said. “I’ll never take another opioid if I have any control over it.”

Some insurance providers cover acupuncture and dry needling. To find out more about the procedures, talk to your primary care physician.