Nearly every single person will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Sometimes minor and sometimes very severe. Even minor back pain can slow you down and chronic back pain can completely alter your life.
It is no surprise that Back Pain is the #1 reason people seek acupuncture treatment. Many studies and meta-analysis have concluded that acupuncture offers more relief than usual care. Guidelines from the American Pain Society and American College of Physicians say doctors should consider acupuncture as an alternative therapy for patients with chronic low-back pain that’s not helped by conventional treatment. As a successful treatment for low back pain, acupuncture is an excellent option compared to prescribing opioids for pain management.
So how does inserting a bunch of tiny needles relieve back pain? We understand now that these needles, when inserted properly, trigger the release of chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. Acupuncture points that are inserted directly near the area of pain help with circulation and promote a decrease in inflammation locally. Sometimes your acupuncturist doesn’t need to treat the local area, there are many other points that can be used to increase the release of pain-killing endorphins and natural opioids produced by our own bodies to lessen pain.
Really interesting research work is being down to examine how the brain responds to acupuncture and how the regulation of neurotransmitter and neurohormone release may play a significant role in helping reduce chronic pain. Neuroimaging studies of acupuncture show actual changes in the prefrontal cortex, insula, cerebellum, primary somatosensory cortex, and the anterior cingulate cortex. There is a significant correlation between improved clinical outcomes and these changes in the brain which produce pain relief.
In summary, it seems as though acupuncture can treat pain locally very well. But it is the effect that acupuncture has on the brain which makes it a superior treatment for improving chronic pain. When someone has been in pain for a long time, the brain needs to recalibrate for the body to completely “heal” the pain.
Acupuncture is an excellent treatment option for mild, moderate, or severe back pain. Whether it is acute, or you have chronic back pain, acupuncture can help you decrease your pain levels and improve your quality of life. If you have any questions about acupuncture for back pain, please reach out to us at Triangle Acupuncture Clinic in Raleigh at 919-854-7311 or Chapel Hill, 919-933-4480.