How Can Acupuncture Help Back Pain and How Can You Ensure You’re Receiving Quality Treatment?

Did that last pickup basketball game with the guys leave you struggling to walk?

Maybe you hurt your back in a car accident.

Or possibly your back pain is simply one of those things that come along with aging.

While the anti-inflammatory medications have been taking the edge off, you’re wanting more pain relief — and long-lasting results. 

You’re considering trying acupuncture, but are wondering, “Does acupuncture help back pain?”

You’ve come to the right place. 

Here, we talk about how acupuncture can help back pain, and give you tips on how to find an acupuncturist you can trust.

Table of Contents

Does Acupuncture Help Back Pain?

If you’re wondering, “Is acupuncture good for back pain?” the answer is, yes.

Over 25 years ago, the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) publicized both the safety and effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment of a wide range of conditions. 

Not only that, but the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends acupuncture for over 100 conditions, including:

  • Back pain
  • Sciatica; and
  • Postoperative recovery 

How Does Research Support Acupuncture as an Effective Tool for Back Pain Treatment?

Research promotes the efficacy of acupuncture as a treatment for back pain, as well as pain in general. Take a look at the following three studies: 

  1. Acupuncture was shown to be an effective tool for chronic low back pain.
  2. Acupuncture was proven to be more effective in improving pain than no acupuncture treatment in a study involving 298 patients who were experiencing. chronic low back pain
  3. Acupuncture, when used in conjunction with other conventional therapies, improves overall function and relieves pain better than the use of conventional therapies alone.

Acupuncture is also covered by many insurance plans.

What Does Acupuncture Do for Back Pain?

Acupuncture is an excellent tool to help your body heal naturally. 

The acupuncture needles tell your body how to heal itself by communicating with your body’s own natural healing tendencies to bring your body back into balance. 

Acupuncture can help relieve your back pain by:

  • Reducing soreness
  • Reducing inflammation and swelling
  • Increasing your circulation; and
  • Relaxing your muscles and surrounding tissues

Reduces Soreness

It is believed that acupuncture works to release pain-relieving chemicals

This pain relief takes place when acupuncture needles are inserted into trigger points at various locations throughout the body. 

The chemicals, known as neurotransmitters, send signals to your brain to shut down the pain response, reducing the soreness caused by back pain.

Reduces Inflammation and Swelling

Can acupuncture help reduce the swelling and inflammation that are so common with low back pain? 

It can. Acupuncture helps back pain inflammation by fostering your body’s own natural ability to reduce pain and inflammation through the stimulation of electromagnetic impulses. 

As these impulses speed up your body’s natural process of healing, there is a reduction in inflammation and swelling in your back.

Increases Circulation

Acupuncture is an effective tool for increasing blood circulation within the body. Through the use of acupuncture needles, nitric oxide is stimulated. Nitric oxide is a key player in the regulation of localized circulation. The more nitric oxide, the greater blood flow and circulation your tissues will receive.

Acupuncture also stimulates the release of stagnant energy, by dilating constricted blood vessels that might be inhibiting your blood flow. At the same time, it enhances the removal of waste and the distribution of nutrients.

Relaxes Muscles and Surrounding Tissue

Can acupuncture help back muscle spasms and muscle pain? It can!

Trigger points are sensitive areas of tight muscles that can form after over-use or following an injury. 

Your acupuncturist releases these trigger points by finding the most tender spot within the tight band of muscles. Inserting an acupuncture needle into the muscle causes the muscle to contract involuntarily, releasing the trigger point. 

This release gets the muscle out of its shortened state, and into a place where it is: 

  • Soft
  • Elongated; and 
  • More relaxed

5 Benefits of Acupuncture for Back Pain

To better understand the benefits of acupuncture for back pain, it’s important to know that acupuncture is one of the oldest healing practices in the world, with origins dating back thousands of years to ancient China. 

Here are the top five reasons to try acupuncture for back pain.

#1: Acupuncture Is Gentle and Virtually Pain-Free

It is unusual for a patient to feel pain or more than a mild discomfort during an acupuncture treatment.

When the needle is inserted there may be a slight pinch, but most often, the patient is unaware that the treatment has begun.

Pain tolerances vary from individual to individual, however, and some people may feel slight pain once the needle has been placed, which is usually described as a throbbing or tingling sensation. These sensations are actually supposed to be felt during the treatment and are an integral part of the healing process.

#2: Acupuncture Has a Low Risk of Side Effects

As long as you are being treated by a competent certified acupuncturist who is using single-use, sterile needles, the risks of acupuncture are low. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates acupuncture needles, just like they do other medical equipment. This ensures that the needles are made using high-quality manufacturing practices and are held to high standards of sterility.

Side effects at the site of needle entry may include:

  • Soreness
  • Minor bleeding
  • Bruising 

Similar to massage therapy, patients may experience symptoms following treatment, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Muscle Twitching
  • Lightheadedness; or
  • Emotional Release

Be sure to drink plenty of water following an acupuncture session. This will help remove any toxins and prevents symptoms such as fatigue.

#3: Acupuncture Can Be an Effective Alternative to Pharmaceuticals

One of the great things about acupuncture is that it allows the acupuncturist to focus locally on the source of your pain. 

The acupuncture’s ability to target the source of your back pain can allow for more potent, targeted relief than you would get by taking a medication.

And when you compare the side effects of acupuncture to the side effects of pharmaceuticals, you’ll find that acupuncture carries much less risk for side effects. 

Plus, it isn’t going directly to the source of your pain. 

But does acupuncture help back pain in the same way pharmaceuticals do?

Yes. One recent study revealed that breast cancer survivors preferred acupuncture over pharmaceuticals for pain management. 

#4: Acupuncture Can Provide Long-Term Results

Since each person responds differently, it’s hard to generalize the long-term benefits of acupuncture.

Your long-term results of acupuncture will depend on:

  • You, as an individual
  • Your symptoms; and 
  • Your medical history

A person with mild symptoms may experience faster and more long-lasting relief than someone with severe symptoms.

This is because a patient experiencing intense pain will often require more treatments to release the tension that is stored in their body to see the expected results.

Patients with minor injuries or pain may experience significant relief after one session, whereas, a patient with severe back pain may take several sessions to experience long-lasting relief. 

#5: Acupuncture Helps the Body Heal Itself

Acupuncture points stimulate your central nervous system. This, in turn, releases biochemicals into your: 

  • Muscle
  • Spinal cord; and
  • Brain

As these biochemical changes take place, they stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities to provide back pain relief.

How Often Should You Do Acupuncture for Back Pain?

The number of acupuncture treatments you need to relieve back pain may range from one to five sessions. The frequency of treatments will depend on:

  • Your symptoms
  • Your rate of improvement
  • Your overall health
  • Your age (younger individuals tend to respond more quickly); and
  • Your medical history

Can Acupuncture Make Your Back Worse?

There are very few side effects to acupuncture treatments. Acupuncture should not make your back worse as long as you are working with a licensed and experienced acupuncturist.

How to Find a Reputable Acupuncturist

When you are seeking acupuncture for back pain, you must find a reputable acupuncturist. 

How is this done? You will want to:

Cascade Spine & Injury Center: Your Trusted Facility for Back Pain Treatment With Acupuncture

Are you suffering from back pain? 

Cascade Spine & Injury Center can help.

Our licensed acupuncturist, Michelle Waneka, is committed to providing dependable, result-oriented pain relief.

She offers each patient an individualized, comprehensive acupuncture treatment plan designed to the specific needs of a patient suffering from back pain. 

Michelle can identify and treat the source of your back pain, no matter how mild or debilitating it is.

Get in touch with us today to see how acupuncture can bring pain relief and healing to your back. 

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