In short, yes, acupuncture can definitely help with your back pain. One of the most common causes of back pain is sprains and strains in the lumbar muscle, because the lower back is more susceptible to strains due to twisting and bending. When the muscle fibers are over-stretched or torn, a strain or sprain has occurred. Inflammation usually accompanies these strains and is noticeable through pain when you try to move the area, as well as cramping and decreased range of motion.
If you feel a burning pain, this is usually an indication that there is a nerve involved, whether it be a tight muscle aggravating a nerve, or a nerve being pinched by your spine.
Reasons for Back Pain
Back pain can be caused by any injury to a muscle, ligament, tendon or bone in your back. The most common causes of back pain include a muscle being overworked- this leads to compromised blood flow to the area as well as tension. Another common reason is some form of damage to a connective tissue (AKA a strain or sprain). The difference between the two is that a sprain is defined as damage to a ligament, while a strain is damage to a muscle. The last of the most common reasons is damage to the ribs or bones of the spine.
Patients can usually pinpoint their pain or injury to one of the following:
- RSI (or Repetitive Stress Injury)
- A Sports Injury or Car Accident - (Musculoskeletal Injury)
- Poor Desk and/or Sleep Ergonomics (Sleeping or Sitting Habitually in a Way that Causes Stress to your Back)
- Nerve Impingement (Radiculopathy)
- Herniated Disk
- Osteoarthritis or Spondylosis (Disk Degeneration)
How Acupuncture Can Help Relieve Your Pain
Many people turn to over the counter drugs to help with their pain, finding that it only provides them with temporary relief instead of helping to actually correct the problem. Don’t wait until the pain is unbearable to look for other alternatives- acupuncture has been a tried and true method of helping those in pain for thousands of years. If it wasn’t effective, it most definitely would have lost its momentum in the pain relief field by now.
So, you’ve chosen to give it a shot to help relieve your back pain, and you’re wondering, “how exactly does this all work?” The long thin needles acupuncturists insert into your body are placed at precise points depending on your injury or what you need treated. These needles are placed at points that are connected to the nervous system, to then trigger a response from it.
Your nervous system will respond promptly to the messages the needles are sending from the areas in need of treatment. The needles show the brain and your nervous system what areas are in need of treatment and more attention. Once the message is received, your nervous system will release a flow of endorphins and enkephalins, your body’s natural painkillers. Other neurochemicals are also released that influences your body’s own internal regulating system. This means that it can stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities by bringing about a normalizing effect on your nerve and hormone function with biochemical balance. Acupuncture will then also increase the blood flow to the injured or painful area to promote healing through increased circulation. Lastly, it relaxes the surrounding muscles in the area to further decrease the pain.