22nd June, 2020
I think it’s pretty safe to say that most of us have experienced back pain at one time or another. Whether it’s been from a hard workout at the gym, lifting something incorrectly, staying on our feet too long or something else, we’ve all felt that deep ache in our lower back. But for about 16% of Australians (and that’s about 4 million people!) these back problems are an ongoing issue, and the incidence only increases with age.
What Causes It?
The causes of back pain can vary from fairly simple things like poor posture, being overweight, sedentary work, overly physical work, period pain, pregnancy to more complex conditions like herniated discs, disc degeneration, sciatica, or scoliosis. The 16% mentioned above does not include back pain caused by osteoporosis or osteoarthritis, so the prevalence of back pain is actually likely to be much higher.
How Can We Fix It?
Unfortunately it can take a bit of trial and error to find something that works for you, but thankfully there are many options we can try to relieve the pain. As you can imagine, everyone’s pain is different and responds differently to different approaches, so if something doesn’t work for you, don’t be too disheartened and try something else. There’s Chiropractors, Osteopaths, Massage Therapists, Myotherapists, Exercise Physiologists, as well stretching, applying heat and lifestyle changes. And of course, let’s not forget what I’m here to talk about – Acupuncture!
Acupuncture is yet another fantastic therapy to treat back pain. It’s probably the most common condition that I treat in clinic. It works so well because the insertion of needles helps to relax tense muscles, reduce inflammation and calm any aggravated nerves. A systematic review of 32 randomised controlled trials for acupuncture treatment of chronic non-specific low back pain found that acupuncture was superior to sham (fake) acupuncture in terms of pain reduction and improved function immediately after treatment . In another systematic review of 11 randomised controlled trials on acute low back pain, acupuncture was superior to NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) for improving symptoms . And, in a review of 16 systematic reviews (yes, you read that right – they do reviews of reviews!), it was found that acupuncture alone or when added to usual care provided short term improvement in pain and function for chronic low back pain and hence should be advocated in routine clinical practice .
So if you’re struggling with back pain, come in and see me for some Acupuncture in Mount Evelyn or Park Orchards and feel the relief for yourself. As always if you have any questions or concerns you can contact me here, or click on these links if you’d like to make a booking at my Park Orchards or Mt Evelyn clinics. Take care and I’ll see you in clinic or with my next blog!
 Lam M., Galvin R. et al., Effectiveness of acupuncture for nonspecific chronic low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Spine (Pjil Pa 1976). 2013 Nov 15;38(24):2124-38.
 Lee J. H., Choi T. Y. et al., Acupuncture for acute low back pain: a systematic review. Cin J Pain. 2013 Feb;29(@):172-85.
 Liu L., Skinner M. et al., Acupuncture for low back pain: an overview of systematic reviews. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:328196.