Four Ways Acupuncture Helps Back Pain

Back pain is the most common problem I treat in my clinic.

And no wonder: 8 out of 10 people will experience it at some point. It is the third most common medical problem.

50% of people forced to stop working do so because of back pain. Most cases referred to me by orthopedists have been for back pain because they know acupuncture can offer relief when conventional approaches fail.

Acupuncture relieves back pain 4 ways:

  1. It stimulates the production of endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers. Natural in this case means none of the side-effects of drug therapy.
  2. It reduces the transmission of pain signals to the brain. Studies using MRIs have also shown an increase in the activity of pain-killing receptors in the brain.
  3. It increases circulation in the problem area, which promotes healing and helps reduce muscle tightness.
  4. It deactivates trigger points, overly sensitive spots in the muscles and fascia that cause local pain or which refer pain to a different part of the body. Trigger points are often involved in cases of chronic low back pain. Trigger point therapy is an area I have specialized in.

I see more cases of chronic back pain. Many acute cases clear up on their own in a couple of weeks, but if not, I advise trying acupuncture. Or if there is an acute flair up of a chronic condition. Even an acute case can heal faster after a treatment or two.

How Many Treatments Are Necessary?

This depends on the cause of the pain, its severity, and its duration. Some people will respond to acupuncture more quickly than others.

It is not uncommon for patients to experience some relief after 1 or 2 treatments. I generally suggest a trial of 4 treatments for chronic back pain.

Based on the progress, it is easier to tell how many more treatments will be needed, if any. It could be more that 10. If the pain is gone before the trial of 4 is finished, all the better.

Sometimes periodic maintenance treatments are recommended if there is a permanent structural problem.

Many of my back pain patients have generously contributed testimonials. I invite you to read some of them.

For more information, see my longer article, “Do the Chinese get back pain?”