A Harris Poll released earlier this year found that approximately three out of ten U.S. adults currently suffer from chronic lower back pain. To put it another way, that’s an estimated 72.3 million people! Common treatments usually include prescription medications which bring their own complications and side effects into the picture. If you are looking for a drug-free alternative to your back pain, acupuncture could be the solution you have been searching for. So, does acupuncture treat back pain?
What the Research Says
According to the experts at WebMD, chronic low back pain is one of the conditions most touted by research suggesting acupuncture could be an effective treatment tool. WebMD also pointed to guidelines from the American Pain Society and the American College of Physicians who say “doctors should consider acupuncture as an alternative therapy for patients with chronic low back pain that’s not helped by conventional treatment.”
How It Works
If you have never experienced an acupuncture treatment, you might be wondering just how it works. First, your acupuncturist will take a detailed health history to determine the best course of treatment for your pain. They may also prescribe herbs and dietary changes to help your condition as well.
A typical treatment involves inserting thin needles at specific points on the body. These points help to connect the meridians throughout the body, thus making sure the flow of energy (also known as Qi) is balanced. Stimulating the various points (depending on your particular health concern and the severity of the pain) can correct any energy imbalances, thus relieving pain with little or no side effects. The medical experts at WebMD also believe that “acupuncture has fewer adverse side effects than many of the standard treatments for back pain.
Many people wonder how many treatments it will take to find relief. It all depends on the severity of the issue but typically six to twelve sessions are scheduled. Again, depending on the severity of the condition, sessions can be done once or twice a week and can last for 30 to 90 minutes. Less severe issues could require fewer treatments, but in severe cases, additional sessions may need to be scheduled to completely address the condition.
In general, the acupuncture points that focus on treating back pain are found on the hands, at the back of the knees, on the hips, stomach, lower back, and feet. Two of the most common points that can help relieve back pain are Liver 3 and Kidney 3. A 2019 study published in Pain Medicine measured the effects of acupressure as a treatment of chronic low back pain. Researchers found that “the relaxing and stimulating acupressure groups showed a pain reduction of 35% and 36%, respectively, which was greater than the care group. The stimulating acupuncture group also experienced better fatigue improvement compared to the care group.”
It’s important to note that your chronic back pain could be a sign that there are other issues and imbalances happening in your body. This is something your practitioner will consider as they conduct the health history intake with you before treatment begins. In addition to relief from your back pain, you may notice other positive side effects like improved digestion, better sleep and less stress and anxiety.
If you suffer from chronic back pain and are looking for a treatment option with little to no side effects, give us a call and make an appointment today!