Acupuncture Treatment for Back Pain – Things You Should Know
Hurting your back is no laughing matter. It can be extremely painful and can take a very long time to heal, if ever at all. While there are plenty of surgical options out there for the treatment of back pain, not everyone feels comfortable going down that route. Some people prefer a more holistic approach. One such technique that falls under that umbrella is acupuncture. This article will take you through some of the most common causes and symptoms of back pain as well how acupuncture treatment can help to ease your back pain.
Acupuncture Treatment for Back Pain
If you are suffering from back pain and have tried various other techniques but just aren’t getting any real results, why not give acupuncture a try? There are great deals on health benefits when it comes to acupuncture. It may not be able to treat every condition out there but it can help with quite a few, including back pain.
Around 80% of all people will experience lower back pain at some time in their lives (2), hence why acupuncture treatment for lower back pain is becoming more and more popular across the world.
How can acupuncture help ease back pain?
There are many ways in which acupuncture can help ease back pain. Here are just some of them:
- Reduce inflammation.
- Provide pain relief.
- Reduce the need for medications.
- Improve muscle and joint mobility.
A little background information about acupuncture in general
The theory and practice of acupuncture have been around for a very long time. It was first used by the Chinese around 6000 BCE and is now a prominent part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Acupuncture involves inserting very thin needles into the body at certain points. Depending on where the needles are placed, depends on what symptom, ailment, disease, or condition is alleviated.
Even though it’s not based upon any scientific knowledge, acupuncture is still widely accepted as an alternative form of medicine. For that reason, it should therefore only ever be carried out by a qualified professional who knows exactly what they’re doing.
How Does Acupuncture Help to Ease Back Pain?
No one is absolutely certain how acupuncture works scientifically but it’s clear that it does. One explanation is that when the fine needles are inserted into various pressure points in the body, the nervous system releases chemicals into the brain and body. In Chinese medicine, energy points called “qi meridians” are targeted, some of which are directly related to the muscles and nerves in your back.
For lower back pain the most common qi meridians an acupuncturist may target are:
- Lower back points
- Stomach points
- Back of knee pints
- Hip points
- Foot points
- Hand points
For upper back pain the acupuncture points are located more towards the:
- Upper back
In terms of alleviating back pain, acupuncture is said to do the following:
This is helpful as these are the hormones responsible for sending messages to various nerve endings switching them on and off. Acupuncture is a way to stimulate some of those that can shut off the pain.
Stimulate the nervous system
This can help to encourage the release of natural pain-relieving chemicals from the brain, muscles, and spinal cord.
Trigger electromagnetic body impulses
These can help accelerate the release of endorphins, allowing the person to be able to handle pain better.
Release naturally produced opioid-like chemicals into the body.
Acupuncture may spark the release of pain-relieving chemicals that have similar effects to that of opioid painkillers.
What are the most common causes of back pain?
Back pain can be caused by a number of different factors; far too many to list here. However, there are some causes that are more common than others. They are:
- Lifting or moving something that’s heavy.
- Poor choice of footwear such as stilettos.
- Poor posture when sitting or standing.
- A slipped disc.
- Staying in the same position for a prolonged period of time.
- Spinal stenosis.
- Poor sleeping habits (i.e. too many pillows or the wrong type of mattress).
Some of these causes can be eliminated quite easily, such as replacing poor footwear or working in a poor posture. Others such as whiplash or fractures will take a little more nurturing.
What Symptoms are Typically Associated with Back Pain?
There are various different symptoms associated with back pain and these are likely to be different for each and every individual. More often than not the person will experience two or more of the following symptoms:
- A dull ache.
- Numbness in the arms or legs.
- A pain traveling from down the leg to the foot.
- Lack of flexibility in the back.
- Loss of bladder or bowel control (only in extreme cases).
- Decreased mobility
Hopefully, by now you will feel a little more clued up as to what acupuncture is and how it can be used as a treatment for back pain. It goes without saying really, but if you do decide to give acupuncture a go, please ensure it’s done by a qualified, professional acupuncturist. While there are many DIY guides online, do you really want to risk coming out of a center broke and in more pain than you went in? No. Do your research and go somewhere reputable. It will save you a lot of time, money, and possibly more pain in the future.
If you have any pre-existing medical conditions other than back pain or are pregnant, mention this to the acupuncturist when booking your appointment. Quite often this will be fine, but it’s best to be sure as some kinds of acupuncture have been known to stimulate labor and delivery. Lastly, make sure you address any concerns you have before you begin to ensure acupuncture is still the right option for you