Acupuncture and Back Pain Relief

Back pain is a very common problem; one that will affect four out of five Americans at some time in their lives. In fact, it’s one of the top reasons people seek medical care. Unfortunately, back pain isn’t always easy to diagnose or relieve. Low back pain, in particular, can become a chronic problem.

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are very effective and may also be used together with traditional Western treatments to maximize your healing and recovery.

How Back Pain Happens

There are many possible causes for back pain, including strained muscles and ligaments, improper lifting, sudden movements, or traumatic injury. Other culprits can include arthritis, structural abnormalities of the spine, or bulging and ruptured disks. Depending on the specific diagnosis, back pain is generally treated with medications, physical therapy, chiropractic care, and in some cases, surgery.

A More Natural Approach

Practitioners of acupuncture and TCM view back pain another way. An acupuncturist will not only work to relieve your symptoms, but will also work to find and treat the underlying cause of your pain. In a study conducted at a Swedish hospital, doctors concluded that acupuncture provided long-term relief along with improvements in physical activity levels, better sleep, and the diminished use of pain medication.

Acupuncture and TCM are based on the concept that Qi, (pronounced “chee”) flows through the body channels called meridians. If Qi (vital energy) becomes stagnant, unbalanced, or deficient, then symptoms such as back pain, ache, and inflammation can occur.

  • Pain caused by sprains, strains, or trauma – this can be accompanied by stiffness and tightness and can become worse with rest. If it occurs often in the same area(s) it may reflect an underlying deficiency.
  • Pain caused by the cold and damp – this is generally worse in the morning and is exacerbated by cold or damp weather. This type of pain condition may be associated with numbness, swelling, and a sense of “heaviness.” Heat can improve this condition.
  • Pain caused by a deficiency – this is usually a chronic condition that presents with a “dull” pain and improves with rest.

Restoring Balance

Once your practitioner has determined the cause(s) of your back pain, he or she will create a specific treatment plan designed to address your concerns and boost your overall health and vitality. During acupuncture treatments, your practitioner will insert fine sterile needles into specific acupuncture points along the meridian pathways in order to restore the balance and flow of Qi. He or she may also perform acupressure or other types of therapy, based on your unique issues and symptoms.

Your practitioner may suggest some lifestyle changes and self-care techniques, especially if you struggle with chronic pain. These may include:

  • Improving your posture – Examine your posture in the mirror. Try to stand with your head up, shoulders back, and pelvis in a neutral position. When sitting, try to sit upright with your feet flat on the floor and your knees and hips level. Try to balance your weight evenly when walking and standing.
  • Exercising – Keep your back and abdominal muscles strong with regular exercise. Yoga and QIGong are both gentle and effective. Consider adding aerobic exercises as well to improve your overall health and reduce stress.
  • Managing stress – Stress can take a real toll on your health and contribute to muscle pain. Meditation or deep-breathing techniques can help you stay calm and relaxed. A massage is another great way to help relieve stress and loosen tense muscles.

More and more people are finding relief for both acute and chronic back pain through acupuncture and TCM. If you or someone you love is struggling with back pain, call today to find out how acupuncture can help.