Acupuncture for Back Pain
Back pain is one of the most common health complaints in the US. According to statistics from the Health Policy Institute, 8 percent of US adults suffer from chronic back pain, and health care costs related to back pain total at an estimated $12 billion annually. A study entitled the Global Burden of Disease determined that low back pain leads to more disability than any other condition across the world.
Back pain is as difficult to treat as it is common. Because back pain generally results from a combination of problems, it can be hard to provide one single treatment solution for all cases. Muscle and joint issues linked with inflammatory diet choices, lifestyle habits and other external factors all result in complex instances of pain or discomfort that are hard to treat correctly.
Many people hope that taking over-the-counter medication like anti-inflammatory painkillers will treat back pain, but actually, these drugs only mask the issue, and don’t work to resolve its cause. To properly reduce chronic back pain, a holistic approach, like acupuncture, is far more effective.
How Acupuncture for Back Pain Works
When visiting a clinic for acupuncture to treat back pain, an acupuncture therapist will insert needles into various pressure points around your body. These needles are placed in precise locations to trigger the nervous system to release chemicals into the spinal cord, muscles and brain, which reduce the sensation of pain and alter the body’s response to pain.
A trained therapist knows the exact pressure points for most effectively relieving back pain. These areas include specific locations on the lower middle back, the back of the knee crease, the outer ankle, and the spot between the thumb and the index finger.
During an acupuncture session, you’ll be asked to lie still while the needles remain are left in your pressure points for up to 20 minutes. The acupuncture environment is designed to be tranquil and soothing, so you should not find it difficult to relax.
Proven Benefits of Acupuncture for Back Pain
There is plenty of scientific evidence to suggest that acupuncture is an effective method of relieving long-term and severe back pain symptoms.
For chronic lower back pain, study results have so far proved promising. One study found that acupuncture is more effective for pain relief and improved function when compared to no treatment or conventional therapies. Another report in the Archives of Internal Medicine pooled the findings from 29 studies looking specifically at chronic pain, and found that participants who received acupuncture experienced a 50% relief from pain overall.
The Future of Acupuncture for Back Pain
When back pain is one of the leading reasons for visiting an acupuncture clinic, the therapy is only set to become more widely recognized for the benefits it provides.
Last year, it hit headlines that Medicare will cover acupuncture for research on whether the treatment is effective for patients with chronic low back pain, which is a promising sign that the medical application of acupuncture will be more widely used in the future.