Are you suffering from back pain? Have you listened about acupuncture? Can acupuncture help with back pain? No doubt, backache or back pain is the most chronic condition in which moderate to severe intensity pain is felt in the back. The most common underlying mechanisms include traumatic changes to the facets joints and discs, which can then cause secondary pain, the muscles, joints, and sometimes in nerves.
Almost 8 out of each ten people at some point in life experience back pain. Back pain is one of the leading reasons people seek medical treatment. But the good news is acupuncture is here to heal back pain. However, if you have never tried acupuncture before, then undoubtedly the whole concept can be challenging to wrap your brain around. How do small thin needles into body help promote healing sensation, as many of its followers claim it does? Well, if you ask a Traditional Medicine Practitioner to break this concept down, then they will tell you it all has to do with Chi (also spelled as qi). It describes as an energy current which is supposed to run through the human body via energetic pathways refereed as meridians.
Do you want to learn more about this procedure? Then continue reading this article.
Can Acupuncture Help With Back Pain? What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a medical practice that has been practicing for decades. It entails stimulating specific touch points on the body, and often with a needle penetrating the skin to alleviate pain and help to treat back pain.
It was developed years ago in China. Various studies conducted by scientists in the United States and Europe have found that acupuncture is the best and effective treatment in treating back pain and different other conditions.
Acupuncture and Back Pain
Undoubtedly, back pain or lower back pain is a common chronic pain issue. Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese physical therapy which has become a popular and well-research method for managing back pain.
How Acupuncture Appear?
It began in China more than 2,500 years ago. It is a healing treatment which involves penetration of thin needles at specific points on the human body. According to traditional Chinese Medicine, a human body has more than 2,000 points which are interconnected by pathways or meridians, creating a flow of energy called Qi (“Chee”). However, stimulating all these points can help correct the imbalance of energy flow, and also helps in improving overall health. TCM recognizes almost two meridians, 12 of which are linked to internal organs. Various scholars have drawn out over 400 points on the human body where these pathways can be manipulated.
So, can acupuncture help with back pain? Let’s find out!
How Does It Work?
Though not solidly proven, acupuncture has exhibited various commonly accepted effects to the body. It helps to stimulate the central nervous system— spinal cord and brain. Most patients report a scratchy sensation, feeling relaxed, or sometimes energized. But effects can vary, and it mainly depends on the individual who is being undergone this treatment.
During this treatment, metallic needles are inserted in the body, reaching from just braking skin surface up to 1 or several inches long. The longer acupuncture needles (like 5-9 inches) can be inserted in various areas, deep under skin or scalp. Mostly these needles are left in the body for duration 15-30 minutes. Many practitioners insert needles either in one direction or both, depending on the condition being treated. But these needles are inserted for 10 seconds only. After that, practitioners remove the same needle, which is used in the treatment of other points. In most cases, needles get warmed or electrically charged after insertion.
Here are some acupuncture points for lower back pain:
- Foot points
- Lower back points
- Knees’ back points
- Hand points
- Stomach points
- Hip points
However, the points for upper back pain are different and called thoracic back pain. These are usually found in the neck, shoulder, upper back, and on the head.
Can Acupuncture Help With Back Pain? What does Science say About It?
Well, it is not completed understood how needles can work on back pain. But below are various ways by which acupuncture is helpful for lower back pain.
Stimulates Nervous System:
When needles are inserted on the body, these stimulate and release chemicals from the muscles, spinal cord, and brain.
Releases Opioid-Like Chemicals:
Acupuncture also helps in releasing pain-relieving chemicals. These chemicals naturally occur in our body, and so have similar properties to opioid pain relievers like morphine, and hydrocodone.
Triggers Electromagnetic Impulses:
There are various electromagnetic impulses which can help speed the body’s capacity to handle pain, including the release of endorphins.
Various neurotransmitters in the body send messages regulating the on/off mechanisms of never endings. Acupuncture is known to stimulate some of that shut-off the pain.
So no matter how it works, several studies and researches on acupuncture for treating back pain have shown tremendous results with very less to no side effects.
According to a 2012 study, 20,000 different people with chronic pain were given the authentic acupuncture treatments, fake treatments, and to some no acupuncture treatment. However, those who received the real and authentic acupuncture treatment experience 50% improvement in their conditions.
Various studies from 2013 have also shown great support for acupuncture as a successful therapy for lower back pain.
Does Acupuncture Really Work?
According to several studies by the National Institute of Health (NIH), acupuncture works well on chronic pains such as back pain. It is also known for reducing the incidence and the severity of the headache and severe migraines. Therefore, according to NIH concludes, acupuncture is the best option for people with chronic pain.
What Should Know About Acupuncture And Back Pain?
Acupuncture is a safe medical procedure, so it is essential to avoid receiving acupuncture from someone not-qualified or certified. Some patients who have received acupuncture report soreness, and minor bleeding at puncture sites.
- If you undergo acupuncture procedure during pregnancy, then it can stimulate delivery and labor. So, it is necessary to talk with your acupuncturist first about your pregnancy.
- Similarly, if you are taking blood thinners, then acupuncture can pose some health risks. You need to discuss your issues with your acupuncturists before therapy.
- Before your treatment, it is important to interview your practitioner. Ask him what is involved in treatment, and how it will help in your condition with the cost involved. According to an estimation, a single session usually costs from $75 to $95 while the routine visits typically cost $50 and $70.
- So can acupuncture help with back pain? Well, various researches have been done, and several others are continued. Scientists still need some time to give a clear view of whether acupuncture is effective for alleviating back pain or not.
I hope you enjoyed reading this and if you have any questions about lower back pain or acupuncture, leave a comment below.