Acupuncture for back pain

Helping back pain by visiting an acupuncturist

Back pain is now one of the common ailments people visit a healthcare professional about. A major shift toward jobs that require people to be sat down all the time has led to an increase in back related problems. A popular way to alleviate pain in the lower back is through acupuncture. Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical practice that dates back thousands of years. An Acupuncturist can treat a variety of conditions and in the UK alone there are nearly 3,000 British Acupuncture Council registered acupuncturists.

Many people advocate acupuncture as an effective treatment for their back pain and acupuncturists are seeing an increase in visits from back pain sufferers. Research shows that acupuncture is a safe and beneficial treatment for back pain and results can last for many months. Acupuncture also has very few negative side-effects giving the therapy another distinct advantage over traditional pain-managing medications.

Understanding back pain and how acupuncture can help pain relief

The spine is a complex system of bones, muscles, nerves and ligaments. The spine is capable of twisting, bending, flexing and absorbing shock. Most back pain stems from overuse, poor posture or lack of support. Injuries can be a result of lifting heavy weights or incorrect handling of a large object. Prolonged standing or sitting postures can also place negative strains on the spine or injury may occur from an awkward trip or fall. Back pain is usually felt in the lumbar region of the spine (the lower back). The pain can be immediate or take a period of time to develop. More serious back problems occur when the cartilage or bones in the spine (known as vertebrae) are displaced.

Vertebrae that have shifted out of position can cause nerve damage. A slipped disc is when the cartilage in-between the vertebrae bulges placing pressure on the nerves. Sciatica is caused by a disc pinching the sciatic nerve leading to pain down the leg and into the foot. These common back conditions can prove extremely painful and lead to a loss in mobility or reduced reflex response. Acupuncture is an effective way to help treat the symptoms of all these back problems.

Acupuncture uses fine needles that are inserted into the skin. The points at which the acupuncturist inserts the needles may not necessarily correspond to where the pain is coming from. For back problems, the needles may be inserted into the feet or ears. Acupuncture works along a system of lines in the body know as meridians. Chinese philosophy states that these meridians are linked to the organ system that regulates energy and healing. Energy in the meridians can become blocked by injury or disease and the needles unblock the energy channel helping to aid pain relief and recovery.

The effects of acupuncture on back pain

Acupuncture needles also stimulate deep sensory nerves that aid the release of endorphins (the pain killing chemical). Once endorphins enter the bloodstream, pain is eased and healing can take place. Acupuncture needles can give an anaesthetic effect that provides immediate relief from pain during the treatment and can last for some time afterwards.

Acupuncture helps to regulate circulation (blood flow and heart rate) and hormone release (response to stress and injury). Once these functions are balanced, the stress that back pain causes can be reduced benefiting physical and mental well-being. Acupuncture can help the back pain sufferer recover from their condition and get on with their life.


Article Submitted By:

Daniel Alexander, GoToSee Journalist

Date Published:
09/05/08

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