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Treat your Back Pain with Acupuncture

By Maureen Lamerdin O.M.D.

Back pain is the second most common reason patient’s visit a doctor and approximately 80% of the US adult population will suffer an acute episode of disabling back pain in their lifetime.

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are very effective in treating back pain naturally.

According to a recent study published in the Archives of International Medicine, people suffering from chronic low back pain who received acupuncture fared better than those receiving only conventional care.

Another study conducted by researchers from the University of Regensburg in Germany, found in trials among 1,100 patients with chronic lower back pain which has lasted for an average of eight years, 47% of those who received acupuncture showed significant long-term improvement compared with 27% of those given conventional treatment. 

Perhaps the most important finding to date of acupuncture’s use to treat lower back pain is from Otzi the Iceman, a 5300 year-old frozen corpse found in a glacier on the border of Italy and Austria in 1991. According to scientists, Otzi used a form of acupuncture for osteoarthritis of his lumbar spine. 

Acupuncture treats, most forms of back pain. In TCM, acupuncture treats, both the “symptom and the root” of back pain. This means that the pain symptoms are relieved while the root cause of the pain heals. Acupuncture reduces pain and inflammation associated with disc disease, neuralgia, sciatica, muscle strain, spinal stenosis, compression fractures, misalignments, arthritis, surgery and trauma. Simultaneously, acupuncture, restores, normal parasympathetic nerve impulses to the affected regions, such that the body is capable of producing the normal chemistry for the healing of internal tissues and nerve fibers. The National Institute of Health confirms the success in an important US government report.

The “root” in Chinese medicine and western medicine are looked at differently. TCM treatment is given on the basis of the patient’s pattern and not simply on the basis of their named disease. A practitioner diagnosing the pattern(s) takes into account all the patient’s symptoms, not just the ones that are specific to their major complaint. In fact, the TCM practitioner gather so much information, the patient may not see the relevance of it all.

In medicine, back pain can arise from disharmonies such as:

Stagnation type pain that is often linked to sudden, stabbing, severe pain and related to sprains, strains or trauma. It can be accompanied by stiffness and tightness and become worse with rest if it occurs often in the same area(s) it may reflect an underlying deficiency.

Cold, damp obstruction type pain that is generally worse in the morning and exacerbated by cold or damp weather. This type of pain condition may be associated with numbness, swelling, and a sense of “heaviness”.

Deficiency type pain that is usually a chronic condition that presents with “pain” and improves with rest.

Once a practitioner diagnosis which pattern is affecting the patient, they will devise a plan and perform usually at least 10 sessions of acupuncture over 5-10 weeks followed up by maintenance care. They will also make recommendations on improving posture, exercising, and managing stress.

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