Chronic Low Back Pain
Chronic low back pain is one of the most common reasons to go to the doctor as well as miss work. It decreases quality of life and causes people to avoid activities they would normally enjoy. Acupuncture is a very well accepted and safe method to treat chronic low back pain (1,2).
Acupuncture for Chronic Low Back Pain
Acupuncture is over 2000 years old, and has a long track record of treating back pain. Acupuncture needles are solid, there is no medication in or on the needle. It is not anesthesia that helps to reduce the pain. Acupuncture works by stimulating the body to heal itself. It does this through relaxing the back muscles, stimulating the release of anti-inflammatory chemicals, and regulating how the brain feels pain (3).
Chinese medicine and acupuncture theorize that there are underlying imbalances in the body which leads to chronic low back pain. A successful acupuncture treatment must be tailored specifically to what is going on with your back. Acupuncture needles are placed in specific points correct imbalances that can cause back pain.
Lower back pain treatment will most often be focused on the back. Needles will also be placed in other areas to stimulate movement of the energy and increase production of the energy.
What Causes Back Pain?
According to acupuncture and Chinese medicine, the two major imbalances which cause back pain are deficiency and stagnation.
An old acupuncture saying goes, “When there is no movement, there is pain. When there is movement, there is no pain.”
Stagnation is when there is not enough flow of energy through the back. Trauma, stress, or injury can cause the qi flow, or energy flow, in the body to slow down and gets stuck. When there is no flow, pain develops. Car accident, sports injury, and stress can lead to development of stagnation.
Deficiency is when there is not enough energy in body. The body needs qi, or energy, in order to function healthy. Gradual, slow, chronic onset of back pain can be a sign that there is not enough energy, or a qi deficiency.
Sometimes there is a combination of deficiency and stagnation. This can happen after a long period of time after an accident and not getting better.
Acupuncture therapy is individualized for each patient
During the initial acupuncture visit, there is generally an examination and assessment of the root cause of the back pain. The acupuncture treatment is individualized for your specific issues.
An effective acupuncture treatment may involve acupuncture and electro -acupuncture stimulation. Other therapies including acupressure or cupping are very helpful for chronic low back pain. For some people ear magnets or auricular acupuncture is very powerful for pain relief. The proper combination of these treatments leads to profound and long term pain relief.
Read More about Acupuncture for Chronic Lower Back Pain:
1. Sherman KJ, Cherkin DC, Eisenberg DM, et.al. The Practice of Acupuncture: Who Are the Providers and What Do They Do? Ann Fam Med 2005;3:151-158.
2. Berman BM, Langevin HM, Witt CM, Dubner R. Acupuncture for Chronic Low Back Pain. N Engl J Med 2010; 363:454-461.
3. Napadow V, Ahn A, Longhurst J, et.al. The Status and Future of Acupuncture Mechanism Research. J Altern Complement Med. 2008 September; 14(7): 861–869.
written by: Joseph Alban
Last Edited: 1/09/2012