Did you know that a most people seek complementary therapies such as acupuncture due to lower back pain? According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 8 in 10 adults are at risk of developing lower back pain. The prevalence of the condition is expected to get worse, courtesy of an aging population. This calls for an inexpensive, safe and effective treatment for lower back pain.
Research shows that acupuncture can help with various types of pain. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is especially useful for lower back pain. Some studies even suggest that acupuncture is more effective than pharmaceutical medication such as Ibuprofen. Read on for an evidence-based review of acupuncture for lower back pain.
Lower Back Pain
According to TCM, the most effective solution starts with defining the problem. How do you define lower back pain? Are there different types of lower back pain? What are the causes of lower back pain? This section will describe the characteristics, causes, and conventional treatment for lower back pain.
The lower back is comprised of 5 vertebra. Lower back pain is caused by mechanical damage or degeneration of the bones, discs, and joints in the spine. Causes of lower back pain include:
- Strains and sprains
- General disc degeneration
- Traumatic injury
- Skeletal irregularities
- Arthritis and other inflammatory diseases
Both men and women can be affected by lower back pain. It can range from a sharp and incapacitating sensation to a dull and constant ache. Lower back pain may be acute (a few days), subacute (4-12 weeks), or chronic (persists for more than 12 weeks). Conventional treatments include pharmaceutical medication such as NSAIDs, opioid analgesics, and antidepressants. However, most of these drugs are highly addictive, with adverse side effects. Recent developments show that the opioid epidemic is spreading rapidly in Australia. So is acupuncture a safe and effective alternative?
How Does Acupuncture Work for Lower Back Pain?
When it comes to TCM and acupuncture, pain is a symptom. To facilitate a deeper state of wellbeing, acupuncture practitioners also look at the root cause of the health issue. According to TCM, pain (including lower back pain) is due to a blockage of energy (Qi).
Acupuncture helps relieve lower back pain by:
- Reducing inflammation
- Stimulating the release of endorphins, hence providing pain relief.
- Improving circulation leading joint mobility and muscle relaxation
- Improving the effectiveness of conventional treatments such as exercise and nutritional supplements
What happens when you visit an acupuncture clinic such as Centre of Balance in Hamilton? An experienced acupuncturist will perform tests to determine the root cause of the lower back pain. Expect personalised questions about your medical history and even your emotional state – all factors that might disrupt Qi. After determining the underlying issue, the practitioner will use various needling techniques. The mostly painless needles help stimulate acupoints which promotes the flow of Qi and the body’s natural healing process.
Numerous medical studies have shown the effectiveness and safety of acupuncture. One comprehensive study in the Archives of Internal Medicine stated that acupuncture showed more promise than conventional treatments in treating lower back pain. The randomized clinical trial by researchers from the University of Regensberg, Germany, involved 1162 patients in 340 outpatient medical facilities. They concluded that “effectiveness of acupuncture, either verum or sham, was almost twice that of conventional therapy.”
The conclusion of the study above was supported by a systematic review published in The Clinical Journal of Pain. Lee et al. (2013) compared nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) to acupuncture for the treatment of lower back pain – based on findings from 11 randomized trials. The authors conclude that “acupuncture may be more effective than medication for symptom improvement.”
Acupuncture Treatment at Centre of Balance Hamilton
Do you suffer from lower back pain? Are you reluctant to seek conventional treatments due to the risk of side effects? Experienced acupuncture practitioners at Centre of Balance Hamilton are ready to provide treatment which may relieve your lower back pain and improve your general wellbeing.
Haake, M., Müller, H. H., Schade-Brittinger, C., Basler, H. D., Schäfer, H., Maier, C., … & Molsberger, A. (2007). German Acupuncture Trials (GERAC) for chronic low back pain: randomized, multicenter, blinded, parallel-group trial with 3 groups. Archives of internal medicine, 167(17), 1892-1898.
Lee, J. H., Choi, T. Y., Lee, M. S., Lee, H., Shin, B. C., & Lee, H. (2013). Acupuncture for acute low back pain: a systematic review. The Clinical journal of pain, 29(2), 172-185.
Our offer to you
Fill in our online questionnaire for free – and save the $135 it would cost you to do this detailed medical history in person with a practitioner. You can request a phone call from a practitioner after they have read your online form, or just book the 30 minute initial exam for $40. So, call us on 07 846 7956 to book, or fill in the questionnaire now.