Acupuncture For Back Pain

Low back pain affects almost 8 out of 10 people at some point in their lives. Back discomfort is one of the most common causes for seeking medical help. It’s also the most common reason people seek acupuncture. According to studies, the good news is that acupuncture seems to be an effective treatment for persistent low back pain.


Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 2nd Dec 2021.

Acupuncture For Back Pain

A recent analysis of 22 acupuncture trials found that treatment relieved persistent back pain in the short term. It also revealed that individuals who underwent acupuncture had more pain relief than those who received a “sham” session. However, other research has shown that sham acupuncture may be just as beneficial as real acupuncture. Both real acupuncture and sham acupuncture are more successful than conventional therapy, according to this research.

According to the American Pain Society and the American College of Physicians, physicians should explore acupuncture as an alternative therapy for patients suffering from persistent low-back pain that hasn’t responded to traditional treatment.

How Acupuncture Appears to Help Back Pain

Acupuncture has a long history in China, dating back over 2,500 years. It involves the insertion of thin needles into specific physical locations. The body contains about 2,000 of these trigger spots, according to traditional Chinese medicine. Pathways or meridians link them, creating a Qi flow (pronounced “chee"). The stimulation of these locations is believed to rectify qi imbalances and enhance energy flow. This, according to practitioners, helps to alleviate pain and to improve health.

The effects are believed to be caused by activating the central nervous system. Chemicals may be released into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain as a result of this. These substances either affect how you feel about pain or cause physiological changes that make you feel better.

Acupuncture, according to specific ideas, works by:

  • Increasing the speed with which electromagnetic impulses are relayed. This may trigger the release of pain-relieving molecules like endorphins. It may also cause the body to discharge immune system cells.
  • The release of natural opioids is triggered. These are brain chemicals that may help with pain relief or sleep.
  • They are changing the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones to change brain chemistry. Nerve impulses are either stimulated or dampened by neurotransmitters. Neurohormones may influence the function or activity of a bodily organ.

Acupuncture Risks and Side Effects

The technique is usually safe when performed by a competent, trained acupuncturist. Serious adverse effects, including infections or pierced organs, are very uncommon. Acupuncture also has fewer adverse side effects than many other back pain treatments.

Points to Consider About Acupuncture

If previous treatments have failed and you’re thinking about trying acupuncture, talk to your doctor about it. Make sure your doctor is aware of any other medicines you’re taking. If you’re pregnant, have a pacemaker, or have any kind of implant, notify your doctor.

A licenced acupuncturist may be referred to you by your doctor. You may also ask the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture for a list of acupuncture doctors.

Find out whether your health insurance will cover acupuncture before you begin. Inquire about the number of treatments you may anticipate and how much they will cost.

Sources

  1. https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/guide/back-pain-and-acupuncture 
  2. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: “Aching backs get support from FDA, but not payors.”
  3. University of Maryland Medical Center: “Study Analysis Shows Acupuncture Effective for Treating Chronic Low Back Pain.”
  4. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: “Acupuncture for Pain.”
  5. The University of Chicago Medical Center: “Acupuncture.”

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