60-80% of Americans will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. According to the American Council on Exercise, back pain is the most common disability for persons under age 45 and is often recurrent. Chances are you have had some back pain yourself.
Back pain can be chronic or acute, and pain ranges from achy and occasional to severe and constant. For either situation, the ancient technique of acupuncture can help. In fact, back pain is one of the most common ailments acupuncturists treat and has a very high efficacy rate.
Acute back injuries may be due to muscular strains or structural issues such as a bulging or herniated disk. Acupuncture improves the circulation of blood and qi at the site of injury, thereby reducing pain and inflammation, and promoting the healing process.
Chronic back pain is often due to degenerative structural conditions such as bone spurs or curvature of the spine. In such cases, acupuncture cannot reverse these structural changes, but in conjunction with physical therapy, it may be part of an effective maintenance program. Acupuncture reduces inflammation and therefore, has a pain controlling effect.
Many patients are surprised to learn that needling the hands and feet can be the most powerful approach to treating the back. Acupuncture employs a channel system that runs the entire length of the body, as some of the most powerful acupuncture points in the body are located below your knees and elbows.
Depending on the cause and severity of a patient’s pain, a variety of techniques may be employed. In addition to needles, cupping is a common form of treatment. An alcohol-soaked-cotton-ball is used to burn oxygen out of a glass cup, which is then placed on the body forming suction on the skin and drawing our blood stagnation. This treatment softens and heals the tissue.
In addition, Chinese herbs can also be an important part of treatment for back pain. There are many powerful anti-inflammatory herbs that reduce pain and promote healing.