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  • Carol Braverman

Acupuncture For Low Back Pain Relief

Acupuncture for low back pain relief

Acupuncture works well for many types of lower back pain and is probably 60% of what we treat on a daily basis, so we can state with confidence in the majority of cases that acupuncture works well for low back pain relief.

Let's start with an anatomy 101 lesson: your back is made up of soft tissue (muscles, ligaments, tendons) and bone, blood vessels and nerves. There are also several organs located deep to the low back, which is important to consider when diagnosing the root cause of pain.

Some causes of lower back pain are:

  1. Strains to soft tissue

  2. Disc herniations

  3. Vertebral fractures

  4. Inflammation of the periosteum at the facet joints

  5. Disc degenerations: osteoarthritis, stenosis, spondylolisthesis

  6. Referred pain from kidney or gallstones

Your low back pain can run the spectrum from feeling dull, achy, sharp, radiating, or electrical (from nerve compression), any of which can be accompanied by numbness and tingling and/or weakness.

How does western medicine treat this? Diagnostic tests will identify the location and nature of the problem using technology: x-ray, CT scans, MRIs, or myelogram. If the problem is not severe, the course of treatment for mild low back pain is rest, medications (NSAID, anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxer), ice and heat packs, and physical therapy exercises.

We use your diagnostic test results to know what we’re dealing with. This information allows us to deploy appropriate treatment methods that will in general improve circulation and reduce inflammation locally.  Acupuncture stimulates the body’s natural signaling, so on average people start to feel better after 2 to 3 sessions, though some find relief after the first session.

Movement is an important part of therapeutic treatment to speed recovery, and we recommend gentle exercises to maintain core strength, walking if possible, and doing some qigong or gently yoga to work the range of movement in the affected area.

In addition to straight-up acupuncture, your low back pain issue might call for massage, cupping, gua sha, electroacupuncture, topical pain-reducing herbs, infrared heat, passive stretching, and injection therapy.


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