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Does Acupuncture Help Back Pain

Application Of Acupuncture To Treat Low Back Pain

Acupuncture and lower back pain

Working adults represent 63% of the population and account for 72% of all low back pain health care visits.1 Low back pain has been identified categorically as acute, subacute, or chronic, depending on the onset, duration, and severity.1,2 Risk factors have included occupational posture, depressive moods, obesity, gender, and age, and risk is most likely affected by a combination of several of these variables.2 Low back pain is not a disease but rather a group of signs and symptoms that affects all age groups across the lifespan. It has been shown to be more common from age 35 to 55, with a higher prevalence in women.2,3

The World Health Organization anticipates that as the world population ages, the incidence of LBP will increase substantially and become 1 of the leading conditions for which the aging population will seek out medical intervention.2

Acupuncture may help improve quality of life as well as reduce lost workplace productivity through more effective and sustained pain relief.4,5 Stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues with the application of fine needles may lead to the release of endorphins and other neuro-humoral factors.6 The expected result is a change in pain processing between the brain and spinal cord.

Will Acupuncture Help With Sciatica And Sciatic Nerve Pain

Sciatic nerve pain is a very common nerve condition and can be an excruciating one. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. It runs from the lumbar spine down the buttocks and throughout the leg.

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is not any medically diagnosed disease. It is a collective of symptoms that affect the region of the sciatic nerve. It can have several causes and, thus, different methods of treatment. The sciatic nerve pain feels like a harsh tingling or numbing radiating down the buttock and leg.

In some people, sciatic nerve pain can lead to severe back pain. In others, it can be pain in the hip, foot, or leg. Sciatica can also exhibit minimal pain in people who only get numbing or tingling feelings in the nerves. This is called paresthesia.

What Causes Sciatica?

There can be many reasons leading to sciatica pain, but the most common health conditions contributing to it are:

Degenerative disc disease

Herniated lumbar disc

Lumbar spinal stenosis

These are just some medical conditions that can contribute to the growth of sciatic nerve pain, though it can be triggered by many causes.

How Does Chinese Medicine View Sciatica?

How Can Acupuncture Help in Sciatic Nerve Pain?

As the back, pelvis, and hip are all interrelated, the treatment involves each of these parts of the body. Acupuncture will also relax your muscles, stretch the tendons, and strengthen your muscles.

Acupuncture Points for Sciatica

It Releases Healing Chemicals And Natural Opioids

Acupuncture helps stimulate the central nervous system, which triggers the release of beneficial chemicals such as endorphins and serotonin into a patient’s muscles, spinal cord and brain. These chemicals work to lower and even eliminate a patient’s back pain, promoting overall wellness. It also helps release natural opioids within the body, and these chemicals specifically help to lessen any pain experienced. Because acupuncture treatment works to improve energy and restore a person’s biochemical balance, this option helps stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities and promotes both physical and emotional wellness.

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Is Acupuncture An Effective Treatment For Back Pain

Multiple scientific studies have shown that acupuncture provides as good or better results than standard routine treatment. Other research has shown acupuncture to be a valuable complement to conventional solutions, allowing patients to curb their use of pain killers. Acupuncture has also been studied in terms of work-related back pain and has been shown to result in fewer work days lost.

The American Pain Society and the American College of Physicians released guidelines in 2007 recommending acupuncture as a possible non-pharmaceutical option for patients with chronic low-back pain where standard self-care measuressuch as heat, light stretching, and analgesicsare ineffective.

Acupuncture has also been studied and shown to be effective in treating other pain-related conditions, such as migraines, arthritis, and labor pain. Above all, acupuncture treats the patient rather than treating the disease, so the effectiveness of your course of acupuncture will depend in part on the causes behind the pain and whether acupuncture is effective at treating those issues.

Does Acupuncture Really Work For Treating Lower Back Pain

What Does Acupuncture Treat? 5 Health Conditions That ...

Several studies point to the fact that acupuncture for lower back pain is often a very effective method of relieving pain, especially where other methods fail to produce results.

An article published in Acupuncture Today discusses a study where researchers concluded that a group of study participants receiving acupuncture treatment reported significantdifferences in their lower back pain at one month, three and six months intervals after treatments, compared to participants receiving placebo treatments. Several participants previously onsick leave returned to work and others returned to daily activities enjoyed before experiencing chronic low back pain.

In a 2011 News in Health article, the monthly newsletter published by the National Institutes of Health , Dr. Richard L. Nahin, from the NIH National Center for Complementaryand Alternative Medicine reported that multiple Well-designed studies show that acupuncture does potentially help individuals with chronic conditions, one of which is lower back pain. Hesaid that when researchers compare individuals receiving usual care to individuals receiving acupuncture that the acupuncture group Almost always does better.

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What Are Complementary & Alternative Therapies

Since acupuncture is a non-drug treatment, you can combine it with other safe therapies such as laser light therapy, heat therapy, or massage. Since you do not have to have a surgical procedure or take time to heal like after an invasive treatment, you can also complete your acupuncture sessions while you stay on track with your exercise plan.

Our Curavi light therapy belts are an excellent complementary therapy for acupuncture because they have no known adverse side effects and do not require the use of prescription medication. They are also safe enough to use with a variety of other non-surgical, non-pharmaceutical back pain treatments. Each device uses an innovative technology known as photobiomodulation therapy , formerly often referred to as low-level laser therapy for treating pain.

By wearing one of our three laser therapy belts for only 30 minutes per day, the medical-grade laser diodes will work to modulate pain and inflammation in your lower back, thereby reducing tension, tightness, and swelling. Choose from the CuraviUltra, which provides up to 420 mW of medical-grade laser light, the CuraviPlus, offering 800 mW of excellent coverage, and our premier device, the CuraviPro, providing you with 1000 mW of professional-grade coverage to relieve mild to moderate aches, spasms, and inflammation.

What Can I Expect From Acupuncture

Most people wonder what they can expect from their acupuncture appointments and treatment sessions. The good news is that you can find an experience that fits your unique needs and preferences. Acupuncturists work in a variety of settings, from alternative medicine clinics to primary care offices. Some people like to visit a relaxing, spa-like environment, while others are more interested in a provider that can give them a physical and offer acupuncture care at the same facility.

When you have acupuncture treatment, you can expect a solution for lower back pain that does not involve surgical procedures or prescription drugs. The therapy may also relieve other ailments that you have at the same time. Expect to attend several treatment sessions over an extended period. Most health insurance plans cover acupuncture to treat chronic pain and other conditions, making many providers affordable for their patients.

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How Does Acupuncture Work To Relieve Back Pain

Acupuncture is a type of an age-old healing practice of Chinese Medicine and a form of alternative medicine. When this technique is executed under professionals, thin needles are placed at a specific point in the body. These points are decided as per the area of the body, which is painful. But, to your surprise, acupressure can be done with your fingers at your home. Acupuncture is thought to spur the release of pain-killing chemicals and central nervous system to impart a sense of well-being in a person. It may trigger the release of opioids that can cause sleep and lessen pain. It may also change the brain-chemistry by altering the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones. While one may get an expert acupuncturist to resolve back pain, one can again do self-acupuncture at home.

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Acupuncture For Lower Back Pain Show More Pain Relief Better Quality Of Life And Disability Recovery

How Can Acupuncture Help Relieve Lower Back Pain?

Acupuncture was found to be effective in providing symptomatic relief of chronic low back pain in the meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials. The 2,678 patients experienced better pain relief, disability recovery and quality of life compared to not having any treatment at all.22.Xu M, e. . Acupuncture for chronic low back pain in long-term follow-up: a meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials. – PubMed – NCBI. Available at: .×

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What Does Acupuncture Feel Like

Acupuncture is done using hair-thin needles. Most people report feeling minimal pain as the needle is inserted. The needle is inserted to a point that produces a sensation of pressure or ache. Needles may be heated during the treatment or mild electric current may be applied to them. Some people report acupuncture makes them feel energized. Others say they feel relaxed.

Improper placement of the needle can cause pain during treatment. Needles must be sterilized to prevent infection. That is why it is important to seek treatment from a qualified acupuncture practitioner. The FDA regulates acupuncture needles just as it does other medical devices under good manufacturing practices and single-use standards of sterility.

Instead of needles, other forms of stimulation are sometimes used over the acupuncture points, including:

  • Heat


How Acupuncture Appears To Help Back Pain

Acupuncture began in China more than 2,500 years ago. It involves inserting thin needles at certain points on the body. According to traditional Chinese medicine, the body has more than 2,000 of these points. They are connected by pathways or meridians, which create a flow of energy called Qi . Stimulating these points is said to correct the imbalance of qi and improve the flow of energy. Practitioners believe that this helps relieve pain and improve health.

It’s thought the effects come from stimulating the central nervous system. This may trigger the release of chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals either alter the experience of pain or produce bodily changes that promote a sense of well-being.

Other theories suggest acupuncture works by:

  • Speeding the relay of electromagnetic signals. This may begin the flow of pain-killing chemicals such as endorphins. Or it may release immune system cells in the body.
  • Triggering the release of natural opioids. These are chemicals in the brain that may lessen pain or promote sleep.
  • Changing brain chemistry by altering the release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones. Neurotransmitters either stimulate or dampen nerve impulses. Neurohormones can affect the function or activity of an organ in the body.

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Conditions Acupuncture Can Help

  • Reducing headaches and migraines.
  • Reducing some side effects of cancer treatment like nausea and vomiting.

The American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the American College of Physicians both recommend acupuncture as a non-invasive treatment option for back pain. A small but growing body of research suggests acupuncture may be helpful for other conditions like menstrual pain and sleep disorders.

The true focus of acupuncture isnt just treating symptoms but identifying the root cause and achieving wellness in the whole person, reports Hokazono.

Acupuncture is the practice of helping the body to restore balance, he says. When we listen to the body then healing can occur.

In January of 2020, acupuncture for chronic low back pain was approved for coverage under Medicare Part B.

See more videos about acupressure and acupuncture from Seishiro Hokazono, LAC.

Scoliosis Pain And Acupuncture


I know that a chiropractor once tried to tell me I had scoliosis. It was a few years ago and I found it odd since I have used acupuncture treatment for scoliosis back pain with many patients and knew I didnt have it. Occasionally a client shares someone told them theyre back pain is caused by a curved spine. Their spine seemed fine. The truth be told we all have a slight bend in our spine.

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Is Acupuncture Backed By Science

Its not completely understood how acupuncture works. But, 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 could be 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.
  • 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 bodys 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 research 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.

What Does Research Say About Acupuncture

Acupuncture shows very positive results for treating back pain with little risk of side effects. A 2012 study involved 20,000 people with chronic pain. The subjects were given real acupuncture, fake acupuncture and no acupuncture at all. Those who received the real acupuncture treatments showed a 50% improvement.

Other researchhas shown that acupuncture clinically relieves chronic pain, and these effects persist over time. It is mentioned that the effects shown in this research cannot be explained by the placebo effect alone. It was also stated that acupuncture is a reasonable treatment option for chronic pain sufferers.

At Integrity Physio, we perform dry needle therapy, and if you would like to learn more about dry needling in Perth, contact our helpful staff today.

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Electroacupuncture For Back Pain

Electroacupuncture includes the application of electrical stimulation to acupuncture needles, and its mostly used when traditional acupuncture or other treatments have failed. However, practitioners sometimes decide to implement this method to deliver more visible results. Electroacupuncture is used to improve the electrical stimulus of specific physiological reactions and produce significant analgesic and anesthetic effects. One of the most prominent advantages of using this technique is the ability to set stimulation frequency and intensity and adapt them to the individuals condition. Recent studies have shown that EA produces greater lower back pain reduction than transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation .

Points To Be Addressed While Doing Acupuncture At Home


Since stress is also a significant reason for back pain, acupuncture shall also be done for relieving stress. The way it has to be done for managing stress and the associated back pain is listed below.There are three points to be addressed:

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  • The first one lies below the wrist on the side of your palm. Four fingers below your wrist, and between the two tendons, lies the point that needs to be pressed with your other hand’s thumb or fingers.
  • The second point that can be pressed to relieve stress lies between your eyebrows. This point is also known as the third eye. Let your index finger do the action in a circular motion.
  • The third point that can relieve stress lies in the sternum or the middle bony part of your chest between two nipples. Here the point can be pressed with the first three fingers of your hand in a gentle, yet firm way. The point here can be tender usually.

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Takeaway Tips By Dr Jyoti Sharma

  • It is advised to move your thumb or fingers in a circular motion while applying firm yet gentle pressure on the points.
  • The circular motion shall continue for five seconds at one point before moving to the next point.
  • When you are applying acupressure to relieve stress, apply pressure on each point for three minutes.
  • It is essential to listen to your body while using acupressure to them.
  • If any of the points are sore to touch, give that part of the body a break.

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Massage For Spinal Stenosis

Physical therapy is another effective treatment for spinal stenosis. Massages, corrective exercises, and alternative approaches deliver significant outcomes in pain reduction and retrieval of the ability to move seamlessly. Massage therapies eliminate pain and stiffness caused by stenosis. Although it doesnt focus on the spine itself, there are numerous modalities of massages that focus on the back and back muscles. By using different massage styles, therapists can relax the back and ease discomfort caused by stenosis or any other problem.

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