Acupuncture and back pain
Back pain (especially lower back pain) is a common chronic pain issue. Acupuncture is a physical therapy that has become a popular and well-researched method for managing this pain. We are excited to now offer acupuncture at Aberdeen Chiropractic.
Acupuncture Now Available In Winnipeg
Treatment consists of inserting needles at various points on the body and through the skin. Needles are not meant to cause pain, harm, or discomfort; in fact many patients barely feel anything at all when the needles are inserted.
A professional acupuncturist will target specific points for treatment called meridians, with some being of special benefit to painful structures in the back.
There are a few meridians that an acupuncturist may focus on for back pain that are actually not IN the back at all.
Some acupuncture points for lower back pain are:
- back of the knees points
- foot points
- lower back points
- hand points
- hip points
- stomach points
Points for upper back pain (also called thoracic spine or T-Spine pain) are often very different. These can be found on the head, neck, shoulders, and upper back.
By stimulating these points, parts of the nervous system are also stimulated to relieve pain. Acupuncture can also provide pain relief from other similar neuromuscular issues for which there may not be too many pain remedy options.
- musculoskeletal pain
- post-surgery recovery
- TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder)
Acupuncture and Science
There are a few ways by which acupuncture is thought to work for back pain:
- Stimulates nervous system. Trigger points stimulated by acupuncture could release chemicals from the spinal cord, muscles, and brain. Some of these are naturally pain-relieving.
- Releases opioid-like chemicals produced in the body. Along the same lines as the theory above, acupuncture may release pain-relieving chemicals. These naturally occur in the body and have similar properties to opioid pain relievers. (Hydrocodone or morphine are examples.)
- Releases neurotransmitters. These are hormones that send messages regulating the on/off mechanisms of various nerve endings. Acupuncture may stimulate some that shut off pain.
- Triggers electromagnetic impulses in the body. These impulses can help speed the body’s way of handling pain, including the release of endorphins.
Regardless of how it works, trials on acupuncture for treating back pain show great results with very little risk of side effects.
Some 2012 researchTrusted Source involved reviewing almost 20,000 people with chronic pain. They were given authentic acupuncture treatments, fake treatments, or no acupuncture at all. Those who received real acupuncture experienced 50 percent improvement in their chronic pain issues.
Two similar reviews from 2013 showed strong favor for acupuncture as successful therapy. These were specifically for chronic lower back pain.
One these studies expressed promise that acupuncture could be better than most pain medications.