Acupuncture For Back Pain

If you’re suffering from back pain, acupuncture can help. Whether your back pain is severe and hard-to-treat or a nagging ache, acupuncture for back pain is the next best step for all forms of pain, including pain after surgery. It isn’t just about managing back pain. Research that included 20,000 acupuncture patients has shown that people’s pain improved more and they stayed better when compared to standard treatments.

Acupuncture can help:

  • Resolve the problems that cause your pain
  • Reduce your reliance on medications
  • You avoid surgeries
  • Speed your recovery after surgeries

Here’s what you should know about acupuncture as an essential solution for back pain.

Why is acupuncture for back pain so important?

Back pain is the world’s leading cause of disability, affecting people from every background across the globe. Consider these statistics:

  • An estimated 80% of people in the U.S. will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives
  • Back pain costs the U.S. between 100 and 200 billion dollars a year (including direct medical costs and lost wages/productivity)
  • U.S. workers miss 149 million days of work annually due to back pain

Beyond these numbers, back pain is such a devastating condition because it is very challenging to diagnose and treat. You might be able to say where it hurts, but only 10% of people who present with acute or chronic back pain receive a concrete diagnosis.

This means that many people who experience back pain turn to ever-stronger pain medications and even surgery to find relief. An estimated 24% of people prescribed opioids for chronic back pain end up developing opioid use disorder.

And surgery? Estimates vary, but between 10 and 46% of patients who receive surgery for lower back pain develop failed surgery syndrome.

Acupuncture for back pain is so important, and the possibility of eliminating or reducing the opioid use and failed surgery is so great, that in 2020, Medicare announced that the program will begin covering acupuncture for back pain.

Acupuncture for pain management is an essential medical specialty to reduce the impact of back pain on patients and the healthcare system.

How can acupuncture for back pain help?

There is extensive, conclusive research behind the use of acupuncture for pain resolution and management, especially for back pain.

Modern science has found that targeting specific points in the body with acupuncture pins acts as a nociceptive stimulation that leads to the activation of the nerve-endocrine-immune systems. This activation helps the body to begin to heal at the sites of injury and pain. Effectively, this means it increases blood flow and circulation to injured areas. It changes the electrical current that is the foundation of our biology.  That’s how acupuncture releases endorphins to ease pain, release muscle tension, and change cellular processes so the body can heal.

Here’s what the research says about specific back pain conditions.

Acupuncture for pinched nerve

In addition to helping relieve the dizziness associated with cervical vertigo, acupuncture can be used with other treatments to relieve the pain of pinched cervical nerves.

Acupuncture for sciatica

A review of studies found that acupuncture for sciatica was more effective than medications and invasive interventions for reducing pain intensity and the body’s pain threshold.

Acupuncture for herniated disc

Acupuncture relieves herniated disc pain more effectively than invasive treatments, like medications or lower back traction.

Acupuncture for spinal stenosis

Degenerative spinal stenosis in the lower back can cause excruciating pain. When combined with other treatments, acupuncture improved pain and neuropathy scores for patients with spinal stenosis and helped manage the underlying cause of pain.

How often should you do acupuncture for back pain?

Because each person’s body is unique, there are no hard-and-fast rules for how often you should do acupuncture for back pain.

When thinking about health care, there are two routes: catastrophic care or preventative and maintenance care. It is like owning a car. If people didn’t get the oil changed, engine tuned, and tires rotated, there would be a lot of broken-down cars on the side of the road. We always educate our patients that they have better choices.

Our functional medicine approach at The WellBridge Clinic guides our patients through three treatment stages for back pain:

  1. Symptom management or relief care:  This is the acute stage of pain, when our team is focused on finding relief from symptoms. During this period, you may have more frequent visits to help you find relief. You’ve heard of muscle memory.  Well, sometimes our backs get a “bad” muscle memory.  Our job here is to change that pattern and create a new one.
  2. Corrective care: During this stage, our goal is to fix any underlying dysfunction, with symptoms becoming less frequent and less severe. During this time your body is developing a new habit: muscle tension is relaxing, joints are lining out, and pain levels are better, longer.
  3. Maintenance care: Once you are feeling better, we move into maintenance with reduced frequency of visits. Each visit will be more like a wellness “tune up” to keep you at your optimum health so you don’t backslide.

In the first stage, you may see your acupuncturist once or twice a week to manage symptoms, working towards maintenance care of once every month or two. The frequency of visits will be different for everyone. At our Portland acupuncture clinic, we focus on finding the best treatment plan for your unique situation.

Learn more about acupuncture for back pain

At The WellBridge Clinic, we want to help transform your life with comprehensive, research-based therapies that provide pain relief. Working with your other healthcare providers, our goal is to build exceptional relationships with our patients through modern, science-based care.

If you are looking to achieve a life with less back pain and without surgery or the side effects of prescription medications, The WellBridge Clinic can help.

We practice functional medicine and acupuncture for back pain that can help you feel better. Get in touch today.

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