Acupuncture for Back Pain – How Effective is It?

Approximately 8 out of 10 people will experience low back pain during their lifetime. Back pain is one of the main reasons people turn to professionals for medical treatment. It’s also the Number 1 reason people turn to acupuncture for back pain relief. Most of these individuals have found acupuncture delivered impressive results.

Acupuncture for Back Pain Treatment

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese therapy that is based on the concept of “energy” in the body. Treatment involves inserting ultra-fine needles at numerous pressure points. An acupuncturist will target “Qi” (energy) points during the treatment process. These are also referred to as meridians, with a few specifically benefiting nerve and muscle pain in the back.

Following are a few “Qi” points used to treat lower back pain :

  • Hand points
  • Foot points
  • Hip points
  • Stomach points
  • Lower back points
  • Back of the knee points

Meridian points for the upper back pain are typically different. Besides the upper back, these meridian points include the head, neck and shoulders.

Understanding How Acupuncture for Back Pain Works

It’s believed that the effects of acupuncture for lower back pain are caused by stimulating the central nervous system. This also invokes the release of chemicals into the brain, spinal cord and muscles. The chemicals have been shown to both encourage changes in the body that promote an overall sense of wellbeing and reduce pain. Additional theories propose that acupuncture works by doing the following.

  • Encouraging the release of the body’s natural opioids, chemicals in the brain that can reduce pain and improve sleep.
  • Speeding up the exchange of electromagnetic signals. This helps start the flow of chemicals like endorphins that help reduce pain. In addition, acupuncture can encourage the discharge of immune system cells in the body.
  • Changing the chemistry of the brain by altering the release of neurohormones and neurotransmitters. Neurohormones can impact the activity or functionality of the body’s organs. Neurotransmitters on the other hand can dampen or stimulate nerve impulses. By activating these meridians, regions of the nervous system can be stimulated to relieve pain. In addition, acupuncture can also provide pain relief for additional neuromuscular issues, including fibromyalgia, headaches, musculoskeletal pain, sciatica, post-surgery recovery and Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMG).

Backed by Research

Research has exhibited that acupuncture for back pain relief has shown great results. For example, a 2012 trial involving approximately 20,000 people who had experienced chronic pain were reviewed. It was found that 50% experienced improvement in their chronic pain issues. Two equivalent reviews carried out in 2013 reported results that demonstrated acupuncture for back pain relief to be a successful therapy. These studies were based on chronic lower back pain. The 2013 studies also showed promise that acupuncture could be better than most pain relief medications – it’s definitely safer.

Acupuncture is a safe procedure with minimal side effects. The success of acupuncture for back pain relief does depend on how it is administered which means it’s important to work with a highly qualified, professional CT acupuncturist.

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