In the never-ending quest to end our collective misery, today I’m here to answer the question: what about acupuncture treatment for back pain? By the way, my Mom thinks this is the answer to all my problems even though she was only treated with acupuncture for edema (just a few visits) over 25 years ago. She is far more adventurous than I ever will be. Just to clarify, it’s not the needles that bother me…it’s the sitting still and relaxing (God forbid).
Of course, whether acupuncture will help is going to be another possibility that is patient-dependent. It may help some and not others which is typical of most back pain relief treatments. So once again, I will cover what is important to know about trying acupuncture to relieve back pain but refer you to your medical professional for assistance in deciding if it’s right for you.
10 Important Things To Know About Acupuncture For Back Pain
1) The practice of acupuncture is over 2,500 years old and is centered around balancing the body’s vital energy (Qi). Since it is derived from ancient Chinese medicine, it is considered to be an alternative therapy which can be used alone or in conjunction with other traditional methods for back pain relief.
2) Acupuncture is believed to work: by stimulating the central nervous system which releases naturally occurring opioid peptides in the brain that act as an analgesic; through the release of endorphins (our natural painkiller) with the strategic placement of the acupuncture needles and by activating the hypothalamus and pituitary glands that secret hormones which improve the immune system, lower the sensation of pain and help organs function properly.
3) Acupuncture is recognized (by various studies) as a potentially helpful treatment for low back pain (including sciatica) and osteoarthritis as well as many other conditions such as headaches, menstrual cramps, chemotherapy-related symptoms, fibromyalgia, dental pain and so on.
4) The treatment involves strategically inserting very thin metallic needles into certain points on the body. While there are over 2,000 of these points in the human body, each treatment will focus on 1-20 points (usually not located at the pain site). The needles are left in for 15-30 minutes per session and can be performed with electrical stimulation or a Chinese herb burning process called moxabustion as well.
5) Believing that acupuncture will work seems paramount since key studies have shown that people who received actual acupuncture and simulated acupuncture treatments both showed the same level of improvement. Don’t be so surprised. I say this is where faith meets medicine. If you don’t believe, you won’t relax…if you won’t relax, nothing will work…if you believe there’s hope, you’re mind and body may de-stress just enough to heal itself!
6) Acupuncture is not considered painful in any way by most patients. In fact, many people do not even feel the needles at all. Most accounts describe it as a “tingling” feeling.
7) In the United States, the needles used in acupuncture treatments are FDA-approved, must be sterile (from an unopened package) and discarded as hazardous waste for each patient.
8) In general, acupuncture is considered a safe alternative medicine treatment with little potential for side effects for most people when administered properly.
9) The Acupuncturist you select should be qualified and licensed according state regulations. Since there are some risks involved in acupuncture treatments, it’s important to select a practitioner with a proven background.
10) The cost of acupuncture varies based largely upon services offered and geographic location. Some insurance companies do cover acupuncture treatments so check with your carrier but pay particular attention to any limitations on the policy.
All right, I’ve done the research but I’m still not sure that acupuncture is right for me. What about you? I do have another MRI scheduled for next week and depending on what the doctor tells me to “try” next, I may consider acupuncture instead. Do you have any words of wisdom or encouragement or anything at all to say today? Please share in the comments section below.
Until next time,
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