What brings the majority of patients to initially seek out acupuncture? Back pain.
It has been estimated that a whopping 85% of the population suffers from back pain at some point in their lives, so it is no wonder why this is such a popular complaint.
Many of the patients complaining of back pain spend a lot of time sitting and working on the computer. When your body is in a static position for an extended period of time, this restricts blood flow, leading to chronic pain and muscle tension in the back. Other common causes of back pain include:
lack of regular exercise
herniated intervertebral discs
Standard treatment for lower back pain is over-the-counter pain relievers (NSAIDs), muscle relaxants, opiods, anti-depressants, or cortisone injections. The downside is that these medications provide only limited and temporary relief, and are unfortunately accompanied by undesirable side-effects such as liver damage, gastrointestinal bleeding, heart damage, drowsiness, and addiction.
Acupuncture for Lower Back Pain
Acupuncture has become the go-to treatment for people suffering with lower back pain because it is both a safe and effective option, for a number of reasons. Acupuncture activates the central nervous system, changing how the body responds to pain and reducing its debilitating effects, as well as encouraging nerve regeneration. Acupuncture stops pain by releasing your body's natural pain killers - endorphins and enkephalins (which are stronger than morphine). It also increases microcirculation, decreasing inflammation associated with muscle strain and disc herniations. Lastly, by improving blood flow to the strained and painful areas of the back, acupuncture allows healing to occur more rapidly and naturally.
Acupuncture has proven to be more effective than conventional treatments in the treatment of lower back pain. Researcher, Dr. Heinz Endres, states,"Acupuncture represents a highly promising and effective treatment option for chronic back pain. Patients experienced not only reduced pain intensity, but also reported improvements in the disability that often results from back pain -- and therefore in their quality of life."
Due to the varied nature of back injuries, different acupuncture points, procedures, and lengths of treatment may be needed to relieve pain. Standard acupuncture applied for lumbar strain had a total effective rate of 87.1% in one study, with these patients experiencing reduced pain frequency and intensity, increased range of motion, and improved neurological testing.
Electro-acupuncture, where a weak electric current is passed through the needles to constantly stimulate them, is particularly effective at treating back pain. Electro-acupuncture can get to the root of the most stubborn pain by increasing the production of anti-inflammatory cells and tissue-repairing collagen even more than standard acupuncture.
In clinical study, electro-acupuncture for lumbar strain had a a 93.3% effective rate. 23.3% of patients experienced no back pain for 2 years after acupuncture treatment.
For lumbar herniations, studies have shown acupuncture to have an 85% effective rate. Participants experienced significant reduction of leg, back, and waist pain, significant lumbar motor function improvement, and improved results with the straight leg test.
When starting acupuncture for back pain, a minimum of 12 treatments is recommended in clinical studies by licensed acupuncture physicians.
If you are suffering with acute or chronic lower back pain and want to avoid medications or surgery, let acupuncture be your solution! We can help you relieve your pain while helping you to heal naturally. Click here to schedule your FREE consultation today!
HealthCMI. "Acupuncture Alleviates Lower Back Pain and Inflammation." (February 9, 2016). Retrieved from http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1596-acupuncture-alleviates-lower-back-pain-and-inflammation
HealthCMI. "Acupuncture Reverses Lower Back Pain. (November 18, 2016). Retrieved from http://www.healthcmi.com/Acupuncture-Continuing-Education-News/1690-acupuncture-reverses-lower-back-pain