Back pain is one of the most common conditions we see in the acupuncture clinic, but not many people understand exactly how it works. However, with most people experiencing back pain at some point in their lives, it is definitely worth knowing how acupuncture could help.
So, what does acupuncture do for back pain? Let’s take a look.
How Acupuncture Works for Back Pain
Acupuncture can help with a wide range of painful conditions including various types of back pain. Acupuncture helps to relieve pain in a number of different ways.
Firstly, it triggers the release of chemicals called endorphins. These are your body’s natural painkillers and they work in a similar way to morphine. Not only do endorphins help to relieve the symptoms of pain, but they also bring about a feeling of calmness and wellbeing. They are one of the reasons why most people feel so good after an acupuncture treatment!
Secondly, acupuncture can help to relieve inflammation. Most types of pain are a result of inflammation which is your immune system’s response to an injury or infection. Inflammation is useful as it lets you know there is a problem in the area and encourages you to protect it. However, when you have chronic inflammation and are suffering from pain on a daily basis, it becomes far more difficult to deal with.
Acupuncture also helps to improve blood circulation. This is useful when it comes to treating pain as it speeds up the rate at which helpful, healing chemicals can get to the area, and how quickly toxins are taken away.
Finally, acupuncture relaxes the muscles to release tension and stiffness. This is especially helpful if you have back pain due to muscle spasms. If you have trigger points, acupuncture can help to release these too. Trigger points are especially tender areas in a muscle, and are sometimes known as ‘knots.’
What Does Acupuncture Do for Back Pain?
Back pain, especially lower back pain, is one of the most well-researched conditions that acupuncture can help, meaning that there is plenty of evidence regarding what acupuncture can do for back pain.
One large review of studies conducted in 2015 found that acupuncture provided temporary but clinically relevant improvements in lower back pain and function. This means that if you have been suffering from back pain for a while, you shouldn’t expect a miracle cure. Many people need to have acupuncture regularly to keep their symptoms under control, but the aim is to get patients to a point where they need treatment as infrequently as possible.
It is normal to need acupuncture for back pain once a week in the early stages, but after a while you may be able to reduce this to once every couple of months. It all depends on your individual circumstances and there are no hard and fast rules surrounding acupuncture and back pain.
To find out more about what acupuncture could do for your back pain, give us a call and we will be happy to discuss the possibilities.