Experts believe that almost eight in ten people will experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. In fact, back pain is one of the main reasons people seek medical treatment, and some even look for alternative therapies including acupuncture. Acupuncture may be beneficial to those who have back pain.
A study conducted by Lizhou Liu for Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in 2004 demonstrated a link between acupuncture and the short-term relief of chronic back pain. It also revealed that acupuncture has positive long-term effects on some people’s pain, especially those who received several treatment sessions.
Guidelines from the American College of Physicians suggest that doctors should consider acupuncture as an alternative therapy for patients who suffer from chronic pain and whose condition has not improved through conventional treatments.
How Acupuncture May Help Back Pain
Acupuncture had been around for centuries, and it was first used in China more than 2,500 years ago. This procedure will involve the insertion of needles in specific points on the body called acupoints. According to TCM, the body has more than 2500 points which are connected by meridians, responsible for the flow of energy called Qi. Stimulating these points may help correct the imbalance of Qi. Once there is balance in our body, it is believed that our overall health may eventually improve, in turn reducing the extent of discomfort.
Acupuncture may have the potential to stimulate our central nervous system, which may trigger chemicals into the muscles, brain, and spinal cord. These natural chemicals can alleviate pain and produce bodily changes that promote a sense of well-being.
Practitioners also believe that acupuncture may speed the relay of electromagnetic signals, which can help the flow of pain-killing chemicals like endorphins. But, most importantly, it may help release immune system cells in the body, which could boost our body’s natural healing potential.
The release of natural opioids, a chemical in our brain, can lessen pain and promote better sleep. Changing brain chemistry may alter the release of neurohormones and neurotransmitters, which usually dampen or stimulate our nerve impulses. These natural hormones can also affect the activity and function of organs in our body.
Overall, acupuncture may be an effective alternative therapy that may help relieve pain. However, it must be conducted by a reliable and licensed practitioner. Check in with your local acupuncturist for an initial consultation to find out about their experience with lower back pain and how they may be able to help you.