Acupuncture as an Effective Treatment for Chronic Back Pain

“Can acupuncture reduce my back pain, and is it safe?”. That’s a very common question we get at the Baldwin Wellness Center. Acupuncture is indeed an effective and safe way to help relieve your back pain—when the treatment is administered by a trained and licensed acupuncturist. It is worth talking to your doctor about trying it for your particular back pain-related symptoms.

Common Cause of Back Pain

Lumbar muscle strains and sprains are the most common causes of low back pain. Many “weekend warriors” experience injuries and pain from trying to tackle large home projects, such as painting the exterior of their home or doing their own landscaping.

The lower back is susceptible to strain because of its weight-bearing function and connection in movements, such as twisting and bending. Muscle strain is caused when muscle fibers are over-stretched or torn. Inflammation is common at the site of injury, usually accompanied by pain with movement. Muscle cramping or spasms can occur, as well as decreased function and/or range of motion.

Acupuncture should not be a “last resort” treatment option.

Acupuncture has been an integral part of Chinese Medicine for over 4,000 years. Today, as people are becoming more aware of alternative treatments—and seeking pain relief options that do not include medication—acupuncture seems to have jumped to the top of many people’s radar.

While over-the-counter or prescription pain medications may offer some relief, the relief is temporary and does not treat the underlying issue(s) or cause of the pain. Medication may mask the pain to the point that a person continues to do a certain activity that may worsen their physical situation.

How Acupuncture Works

The modern scientific explanation is needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain, including endorphins, enkephalin (a type of endorphin) and other neurochemicals. These natural chemicals may either change the pain experience or trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones that influence the body’s own internal regulating system. This can bring about a normalizing effect on neuroendocrine (nerve and hormone) function. The improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture results in stimulating the body’s natural healing abilities, and in promoting physical and emotional well-being.

Pain relief is a common reason why patients seek acupuncture therapy.

Most patients come to see us for pain relief. Neck and back pain are the most common conditions. Since acupuncture is usually sought out last after more conventional medicine has not achieved the desired result, many of our patients are surprised at how effective this method of treatment can be. It’s a very rewarding experience to see our patients able to either be pain-free or living with less pain!

For anyone who may be thinking of acupuncture as a modality of treatment, we say, “make it your choice, not your last resort.”

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