Acupuncture for Back Pain
Acupuncture is commonly used,
alongside moxibustion & cupping, to treat back pain
It provides short-term relief & seeks to address the root cause
to help resolve the pain long-term
What is back pain?
Most back pain is due to a reduction in the circulation of blood & fluid in the area, affecting the muscles, joints & nerves. This can be for a variety of reasons: some physical - such as a local injury - and some psychological - such as stress and emotional issues. Back pain also sometimes includes sciatica.
Chinese medicine theory is that blood & fluids travel through the tissues in circulations called jingluo 經絡 - which translated means 'Channels and Network Vessels'. Symptoms are understood as manifestations of disruptions within the physiology of these Channels and Network Vessels, caused by issues that have their root on a physical, mental or emotional level.
Could acupuncture for back pain work?
During your Initial Consultation & Treatment we go through your medical history and combine these with Chinese medicine diagnosis to develop a treatment plan.
Alongside discussing the specific symptoms, diagnostic techniques such as Channel palpation, pulse & tongue diagnosis are used to identify issues within the local and systemic circulations.
Acupuncture uses fine metal needles, in specific points, to stimulate the physiology along these circulations, strengthening them where it has become weak or clearing it where it has become congested or blocked, helping restore the mind and body's normal physiological function.
How does acupuncture for back pain help?
- Providing pain relief - by stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, acupuncture leads to release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord (Pomeranz 1987, Zhao 2008).
- Reducing inflammation - by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Kim 2008, Kavoussi 2007, Zijlstra 2003).
- Improving muscle stiffness and joint mobility - by increasing local microcirculation (Komori 2009), which aids dispersal of swelling and bruising.
- Reducing the use of medication for back complaints (Thomas 2006).
- Providing a more cost-effective treatment over a longer period of time (Radcliffe 2006, Witt 2006).
- Improving the outcome when added to conventional treatments such as rehabilitation exercises (Ammendolia 2008, Yuan 2008).
How much treatment do I need?
Treatment is recommended about every 1 to 2 weeks, while you have symptoms, and then, as health is restored, you may be advised to have treatment from time-to-time, to keep your system healthy.
Where do the needles go?
We generally use a combination of ‘local’ and ‘distal’ points. ‘Local’ points are on located near the site of any issues we wish to address. ‘Distal’ points are on your arms and legs, below your elbows and knees, that influence the circulation through the entire length of the Channels and Network Vessels.
I will always discuss what points I am going to use first and make sure that you feel comfortable.
About Rick Mudie
BSc (Hons), BSc (Oriental Med), MBAcC
Rick is a member of the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC). He is a Course Leader, Clinical Supervisor and Lecturer at The International College of Oriental Medicine (ICOM), the UK's oldest acupuncture college.
He is a traditional Chinese acupuncturist with over 20 years clinical experience.
Read more about Rick.