Most of us will experience a form of back pain at some point in our lives. As a matter of fact, back pain is one of the main reasons people seek out medical treatment. It’s also the #1 documented reason that people have acupuncture. The good news is acupuncture for back pain has been shown to be a highly effective treatment for most problems, including lower, middle and upper back pain, sacroiliac joint pain and sciatica.
Acupuncture for Back Pain Relief
Acupuncture can help improve quality of life by providing effective and sustainable pain relief says Samantha Jacobs of CT Acupuncture. By stimulating the nerves located in muscles and various other tissues with ultra-fine needles, acupuncture releases endorphins and neuro-humoral factors. This practice affects pain control between the brain and spinal cord. In addition, acupuncture has been shown to be effective in reducing inflammation by encouraging the release of immunomodulatory and vascular factors. Acupuncture can also increase local microcirculation. Consequently, the practice helps treat joint movement and muscle stiffness, helps heal bruising and reduce swelling. Research has also found that acupuncture for pain relief also helps reduce the use of medication for back problems which provides a non-addictive, cost-effective treatment over an extended period of time.
Following are some of the most common problems treated by acupuncture for pain relief.
Upper, Middle, and Low Back Pain
There are numerous causes of back pain, including some that are self-inflicted as a result of a lifetime of bad habits (posture, sitting at a desk all day, etc.). Other back pain triggers include muscle strains, accidents and sports injuries. Even though the causes can be different, in most cases, they share the same symptoms. Persistent stiffness or aching anywhere along the spine. Symptoms include localized, intense pain in the neck, the upper back, or lower back, especially after engaging in strenuous activities. A chronic ache in the lower or the middle of the back is also a symptom typically brought on after standing or sitting for extended periods.
Sciatica pain is the result of an irritation of the sciatic nerve, caused by a compressed nerve in the lower spine. The pain can range from mild to chronic. While “sciatica” is often mistaken for general back pain, it’s not just limited to the back. The sciatic nerve, the longest in the human body, extends from the lower back, through the buttocks, along the legs, ending just beneath the knee.
Sacroiliac Joint Pain
Acupuncture effectively treats pain that originates from the sacroiliac joint, a problem that is known to be a primary cause of low back pain. The sacroiliac joint is attached to the sacrum (the lowest portion of the spine) and linked to the pelvis. There are several factors that contribute to sacroiliac joint pain, including pregnancy and a different leg length. Acupuncture can be very effective when it comes to decreasing local inflammation and calming the tension and trauma that surrounds muscles in the area. Sacroiliac joint pain has been compared to sciatica pain.
Back Pain Risk Factors
The risk factors of back pain include age, gender, obesity, depression and occupational posture, and is often influenced by a combination of a number of these variables. Low back pain isn’t a disease rather a class of signs and symptoms that can affect all ages across a lifespan. Back pain is more common between the ages of 35 and 55, with a higher frequency in women.
While the evidence for acupuncture for back pain has been to some extent inconclusive, there’s a growing number of studies that are offering clinical support for the advantages of using acupuncture for back pain and a long list of other conditions. If you’re suffering from back pain, ask your physician about acupuncture. Chances are good that they’ll even have an acupuncturist referral for you.