Your job demands you to be seated in front of your computer for hours with very few breaks in between. It’s been quite a few years that you have been in the job. On one fine morning, when you try to get up from your bed, you can experience a burning sensation with a shooting pain in your back. It’s the onset of back pain owing to your long hours in your chair, and the faster you address this issue, the better for you. Healing back pain is easier now. You can undergo acupuncture for back pain, since it has gained immense popularity due to its effective results.
According to a study,
the world’s most common cause of disability is lower back pain with over 540 million people suffering from it.
Archives of Internal Medicine has a study published in it stating that lower back pain is better managed by treatment of acupuncture than usual care.
Acupuncture for Back Pain
Does acupuncture help back pain?
The traditional technique of acupuncture for back pain has proved to be quite effective. Insertion of needles at the acupoints generates the stimulation of energy channels under the skin(1). This flow of energy is responsible for curing all the ailments related to back pain. The various benefits that the technique provides to cure back pain are –
- Stimulation of the Nervous System – On stimulation, the spinal cord, muscles, and parts of the nervous system release a certain amount of chemicals. Some of these chemicals are responsible for providing relief from the related ache.
- The release of Neurotransmitters and Neurohormones – The role of neurotransmitters is to trigger messages with the help of certain chemicals or hormones. Acupuncture regulates the mechanisms of organs and the body with the release of these substances.
- The release of natural opioids from the body – The role of natural opioids in our body is to maintain sleep balance. They either increase or decrease the sleep in an individual. In this case, it helps in promoting sleep, thereby reducing pain in the aching back.
- Activation of electromagnetic impulses – They enhance the body’s ability to bear the pain and help release endorphins.
What are the Acupuncture points for Back Pain?
The acupuncture points for back pain that are mainly focused on by practitioners are –
- Points on the hands
- Points at the back side of knees
- Points on the hips
- Points on the stomach
- Points at the lower back, and
- Points on the feet
These points are responsible for maintaining a balance of the nervous system. Any hindrance caused during the flow of energy resulting in an improper imbalance could cause pain. Acupuncture for lower back pain is carried out by focusing the acupoints present at the lower back of your body. The points present at the upper back of the body are also used as a remedy for various other aching problems, such as – fibromyalgia, sciatica, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), etc. Acupuncture is also followed separately to get over with sciatica, by following acupuncture for back pain sciatica.
How many sessions of Acupuncture for Back Pain?
The number of sessions to thoroughly cure back pain through acupuncture generally vary. In most of the conditions, it is mandatory to complete the whole series of a session to gain maximum benefit from the treatment. But eventually, it depends on the condition of the patient as well as the analysis of the practitioner.
It is advised to have 6 to 12 sessions to complete the treatment. These sessions can be taken once or twice a week, and their duration lasts for 30 to 90 minutes per session. Small problematic conditions could take lesser time and frequency to get cured. , And as in severe cases, multiple treatment sessions are required. For people with chronic conditions, these sessions are induced further, even after the completion of optimal achievement.
What Are the Health Benefits of Acupuncture?
The major benefit which you’ll get from this technique is a big relief from the back pain itself. But the other benefits regarding the acupuncture for back pain are –
- Improves digestion – The therapy declines the intensity of the heartburn and maximizes the process of digestion. It has been proven that 75% of people out of the people on which a study was conducted, claimed to have reduced heartburn than before and had improved digestion(2).
- Helps relieve tenacious headaches – According to 22 studies conducted to see the benefits of acupuncture for headaches, the therapy helps people suffering from migraines and headaches due to tension. Chronic headache has also been a reason for which people who seek acupuncture to get a cure.
- Helps deal with stress – Acupuncture for back pain has resulted in curing stress of the mind and consciousness of an individual. The release of neurochemicals through this technique helps in getting relief from pain which indeed helps in releasing the mental stress of the patient.
- Helps patients deal with side effects of radiation – It is proven that the procedure helps in lessening the intensity of side effects caused by radiation emitted in the cancer treatment. It is not helpful for eradicating the side effects, but it surely reduces the intensity of the side effects.
- Helps in making medicines effective – In some cases, it has been found that use of acupuncture points for lower back pain has been useful to enhance the effectiveness of certain medications. In China, it is believed that a small amount of fluoxetine combined with this technique is effective for treating depression as medication. The procedure enhances the capability of medicines to deal with nausea, weight gain, depression, and declined sex drive too.
What to Expect When You Take Acupuncture for Back Pain for the First Time?
First, you are made to lie on a treatment table.The practitioner then will use alcohol to swab a few areas of your body before inserting the needles on accurate acupoints. The number of needles required, and where and how they need to be inserted depends on the condition and location of your back pain.
The acupuncturist will leave the needles inserted at the respective places for several minutes to an hour, and he’ll try to adjust them from time to time to maintain a proper energy flow between the points. He may also warm or electrify the needles to do so. If the practitioner uses electricity, then you might experience a tingling sensation. However, the electrical impulse generated should be mild.
Precautions to Be Taken During Acupuncture to Treat Back Pain
Before going for an acupuncture session to treat back pain, one should take care of the following precautions –
- In the case of back pain due to pregnancy, women should consult a doctor prior to going for an acupuncture session. The procedure enhances and stimulates the chances of labor and delivery. As such, a consultation with the doctor is mandatory. Always choose a certified and professional acupuncturist to perform the sessions. If the acupuncturist is not a skilled person, then he might cause damage to your body with his practice.
- The needles used in the procedure should always be sterilized beforehand to avoid contracting infections. They should be stored at a sterilized place before and after use. Broken needles should not be used for the practice.
- Consult a doctor before attending any acupuncture session if you run on blood thinners, certain medications, use a pacemaker, or have any type of implants in your body. In these cases, it is always necessary to consult a doctor first about your condition.
Side-effects of Acupuncture for Back Pain
Acupuncture for back pain has a lesser number of side effects than other measures used to treat lower back pain(3). The chances of having acupuncture for back pain side effects are:
- The acupuncturist who conducted your sessions might not be a licensed professional in his field. In these cases, you could experience soreness at the back and bruises due to the improper insertion of needles in your body.
- If unsterilized needles are used, they can cause skin infections or spread bacteria and other microbes in your body through the bloodstream. That’s why it is mandatory to use sterilized needles.
- The procedure can be ill-fitted for the people having blood or bruise disorders and who are under the influence of blood thinners and other such medications.
If you are suffering from intense back pain and want relaxation from this disabling ache, then you should go for an Acupuncture therapy. The fact that this centuries-old method is still used to treat chronic back pain is a testimony for its effectiveness. However, a talk with your physician and acupuncturist is mandatory to assess your condition and decide if you should go for it or not.