Does acupuncture for low back pain work?

I’ve got good news for you. Yes, acupuncture has been shown to reduce low back pain. In a study of 18,000 patients, acupuncture successfully treated patients in four pain categories. The study participants had either shoulder, osteoarthritis, headache, or back pain. The treatments also outperformed the “usual care” group. Simply put, the treatments outperformed medications or rehabilitative exercises.

In research, acupuncture is well known for its pain-relieving benefit. As an example, the Centers for Medicare Services (CMS) has recently concluded that medicare will start covering acupuncture treatment for chronic low back pain. Unfortunately, acupuncturists cannot bill for medicare services as a medical specialist. Hopefully, that will change one day soon. 

Why is acupuncture a good option for treating conditions? Generally, acupuncture works by increasing circulation, stimulating the release of cytokines and by relaxing muscles. As a result, this decreases inflammation and also stimulates the release of endorphins – your body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals.

Top five reasons for low back pain

If you suffer from low back pain, you are sadly in the majority. In fact, over 80% of all Americans complain about low back pain. Consequentially, both men and women can have discomfort equally. Back suffering is so common that a recent survey found most adults had symptoms as recently as the last three months.

Low back pain is something a lot of people experience, and it can happen for different reasons. Here are the top 5 causes of low back pain:

  1. Muscle Strain: Sometimes, we can hurt our back by straining our muscles. This can happen if we lift something heavy or do a lot of physical work.
  2. Spinal Problems: Your spine is like the backbone of your back, and if there are problems with it, it can lead to back pain. Issues like herniated discs or problems with the vertebrae can be a cause.
  3. Pinched Nerves: Nerves run through your back, and if they get irritated or pinched, it can be really painful. Conditions like sciatica can make your back hurt a lot.
  4. Injuries: Falling or getting into accidents can injure your back. Even minor accidents can sometimes cause long-lasting back pain.
  5. Poor Posture: How you sit, stand, or even sleep can affect your back. If you have bad posture, it can strain your back over time and lead to pain.

Remember, if your back hurts a lot and it doesn’t get better with rest or home remedies, it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor. They can help figure out the cause and the best way to make your back feel better.

When discomfort is minimal, rest is always a good option. Additionally, symptoms may reduce with the use of ice or heat. However, if the discomfort becomes worse it is best to seek medical attention. As a general rule, when discomfort lasts more than 4 weeks your condition is considered chronic. For these conditions, a good medical specialist can help you determine the root cause.

What you can expect from treatments

Chronic back sufferers respond very positively to acupuncture. Unlike most pharmaceutical medications, acupuncture won’t damage your organs with long term use. Also, it doesn’t have the addictive quality that opioid prescription medications have. This is important for those prone to addiction or long-term dependence.

Acupuncture is a really great short-term and long-term strategy for back pain management. For short term relief, it is completely normal for patients to have pain reduction from just one treatment. For long term relief, the patients who tend to do the best complete a series of treatments and include appropriate physical exercise.

Your Chronic Low Back Pain Plan

Step 1 — schedule an appointment: Concerned about the costs? Visit this page to find out more about the cost of treatments.

Step 2 — get a plan: Not all back is the same. We develop an individulal plan just for you at your initial appoinment.

Step 3 — follow the plan: Easier said than done. Every tried to diet? Not so easy right? We’ve got tons of experience helping patients while providing amazing treatments.

Curious about me? Maybe we haven’t met yet. You can learn more about Dr. Mark VanOtterloo DAOM by using the link provided. Thanks for considering us as your partner in health!

Additional Relevant Blog Articles

Recommended supplements for patients with chronic low back pain