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Acupuncture for Back Pain: Expectations, Benefits & More

A close-up of someone receiving acupuncture for back pain.

Acupuncture for back pain can overcome many health issues. It can also help treat, chronic (long-term) pains such as arthritis, back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, headaches, migraines, sports injuries, jaw pain, sinus congestion, facial pain, neuropathy, and menstrual cramps.

Scientists don’t yet understand the exact healing factors of acupuncture and back pain therapy. However, many believe it involves a combination of mechanisms. For one, your body releases endorphins, which relieve pain. By stimulating your nervous system, you can control mood, pain, and other bodily functions. Additionally, it relieves stress and helps you relax.

Acupuncture for chronic back pain is historically a form of traditional Chinese medicine that involves inserting thin needles into the skin at specific points on the body. Each point influences key things like organs, emotions, and senses. Acupuncture can also help with anxiety, depression, insomnia, headaches, migraines, nausea and vomiting, menstrual cramps, fertility problems, smoking cessation, and weight loss.


Benefits & Patient Dynamics of Acupuncture for Back Pain

There are several benefits of acupuncture for back pain when it comes to your spine and intertwined nervous system. It can reduce inflammation and pain while increasing flexibility, or range of motion. As well as reducing muscle spasms, improving sleep, and boosting overall mood, it can also help you with relaxation.

The severity of back pain and its response to treatment determine how many acupuncture and back pain sessions are needed. It usually takes 6 to 12 sessions for most people to feel relief. In some cases, more sessions might be necessary, while in others, fewer sessions may be sufficient.

How much acupuncture treatment for back pain is needed can be influenced by the severity of the pain, the individual’s response to treatment, the cause of the pain, and the patient’s overall health. To create the right treatment plan for you, a qualified acupuncturist can assess your individual needs.


Acupuncture for Back Pain: What You Can Expect

If you receive acupuncture for back pain, you’ll lie on a comfortable table and be cleaned by the acupuncturist. They will then insert very thin needles into specific points on your back.

The needles may cause a slight pricking sensation and you may feel some warmth or tingling after they are inserted. The average acupuncture treatment lasts between 15 and 30 minutes, but sometimes more, depending on your condition.

After your first acupuncture and back pain treatment, you might feel relaxed and calm and your pain might subside. Acupuncture is most effective after a half-dozen — or up to a dozen — treatments.

In addition to mild bruising at the needle insertion sites, acupuncture can cause lightheadedness or dizziness after treatment. An allergic reaction to acupuncture can occur in very rare cases. Your acupuncturist should be informed of any side effects experienced after acupuncture.

The first time you receive acupuncture for back pain, getting a ride home is always a good idea. Try to rest for five to ten minutes before driving home if that is possible. Following each session, your practitioner may advise you to take it easy.


How Acupuncture for Back Pain Does the Trick

In order to understand how acupuncture for back pain works, researchers have developed two hypotheses. According to one theory, the needle stimulates pain-sensing nerves, which trigger the brain to release endorphins, which are similar to opium. A placebo effect, in which the patient’s thoughts release endorphins, is another theory regarding acupuncture.

Acupuncture therapy restores your Qi (pronounced “chee”) balance by pressing needles on acupuncture points throughout your body. The body contains hundreds of acupoints that compose the energy-carrying channels known as meridians. The insertion of needles releases endorphins, a natural painkiller and neurotransmitter produced by your body.

Causative factors for lower back pain caused by internal disorders can be quite complex, as various pathogenic factors are often present at the same time. After identifying the chief and secondary causes of chronic back pain, one can apply a corresponding acupuncture treatment.

Stagnation of Qi and Blood usually causes chronic lower back pain. Both herbs and acupuncture points can promote Qi and Blood circulation and relieve pain; however, acupuncture points in the local region are crucial to relieve pain. It is crucial to differentiate which channel is mainly involved when selecting acupuncture points to treat lower back pain. Your acupuncture for back pain treatment will not be effective without this step.

The causative factors of lower back pain are not easy to eliminate completely with acupuncture, despite the fact it can successfully control lower back pain. Chronic cases often require regular, ongoing acupuncture treatment for back pain.


Acupuncture for Back Pain: Easing a Group of Symptoms

Lower back pain is expected to increase significantly as the global population ages, becoming one of the most common medical conditions for which the aging population seeks acupuncture for back pain treatment. Working adults (ages 18 to 64), who account for 63 percent of the population, make the majority of low back pain health care visits.

Low back pain affects all age groups across the lifespan, as it is not a disease. The prevalence of this is higher in women between the ages of 35 and 55. Acute, subacute, and chronic low back pain can be classified based on onset, duration, and severity. In addition to occupational posture, depressive moods, obesity, gender, and age, a combination of these factors most likely affects the risk.

Acupuncture and back pain research is growing, but interpreting it is still a challenge. A well-trained practitioner may provide acupuncture to most people with low risks of side effects and some beneficial effects. You may want to try acupuncture if other treatments have not worked. The right acupuncture for back pain may not be acupuncture if it does not improve within six to eight weeks.

Studies have found that non-pharmacological interventions such as acupuncture for back pain can provide safer benefits than pharmacological or invasive treatments. In acupuncture trials, the harm level warnings were lower than those for spinal manipulation, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), a combination of opioids, or steroid injections.


Four Common Scenarios According to Acupuncturists

Acupuncturists who specialize in acupuncture for back pain diagnose patients within four common categories:

  • Symptoms of trauma, such as a car accident, may include local stabbing pain in the low back as a result of stagnation of blood.
  • People over 40 often experience kidney Qi deficiency. In addition to the kidney meridian, the spine, the low back, and the knees are all part of the kidney meridian. Joint pain and stiffness can occur when kidney Qi is weak. Western-style diseases of the kidney may contribute to the deficiency of kidney Qi.
  • The management of anger, emotion, and stress is another cause of back pain. Road rage, frustration, and things of the like often result from this. In this case, an acupuncturist might consider liver chi stagnation as the diagnostic pattern
  • Lastly, there’s always the chance of a wind-cold scenario. Cold temperatures tend to cause blood to stagnate, which can cause pain — especially if the wind is blowing. Cold climates or iced backs may put you at risk for wind-cold infection. This pattern is characterized by a tight and painful low back, low energy, and frequent urination.

Most Americans think about and pay attention to health through our Western medical system. It has only been in the last 30 years that holistic therapies — especially for neck, back, and other joint problems — have made their way into the mainstream. Acupuncture for back pain is one of these treatments.


What Makes Acupuncture Different

Unlike Western medicine, acupuncturists think differently. Chinese medicine takes the personality of the patient into account when prescribing a medicine or therapy. Westerners think in terms of that particular medicine or therapy for that particular problem. It’s an incredibly complex structure.

That’s why decades of development of acupuncture for chronic back pain has been making huge inroads across the nation as a well-respected alternative — if not a “go to” — for so many patients nowadays.


Wellness and Pain

A doctor who cares about your health and wellbeing is a better choice if you’re considering acupuncture for back pain. Wellness and Pain offers acupuncture therapy options. Our treatments include conservative treatments, minimally invasive procedures, and surgery. We can help you avoid and manage problems by providing lifestyle education and home care advice, and we can quickly relieve the conditions inhibiting your life by using state-of-the-art acupuncture treatment.

We customize our care plan to each patient’s medical condition and unique circumstances, aiming to reduce pain, improve mobility, enhance mental clarity, and improve overall health.

Covered by Most Insurances and Most Unions

Wellness and Pain accepts most major insurance plans. Here is a list of some of the major insurance plans we accept. If you do not see your insurance plan listed, please call our office to confirm.

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