Can acupuncture help with back pain?

If you’re experiencing upper back pain, middle back pain, lower back pain or traveling symptoms to your extremities, consult your physician. He or she can diagnose the cause of your symptoms and recommend a back pain management or treatment plan.

During the course of your treatment, you may also explore alternative therapies to treat your back pain, including acupuncture. Methods that are outside the medical mainstream lack the evidence to be fully supported by physicians, but many patients do report finding lasting relief from alternative treatments. By learning more about how acupuncture is performed and how it is believed to help with chronic back pain, you can better work with your doctor to make an informed decision about your care.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture for back pain is rooted in traditional Chinese medicine that is believed to work with the body’s flow of energy. The procedure involves inserting thin needles into strategic parts of the body, known as trigger points, which stimulates the nervous system to release endorphins and opioids — the body’s natural pain relievers.

Traditional practitioners of acupuncture believe this procedure can be used to balance the body’s flow of energy — also known as the body’s qi or chi — to treat various medical issues, including back pain. Other practitioners believe the trigger points are areas that stimulate nerves, muscles and connective tissue to increase blood flow and promote healing.

What causes back pain and how can acupuncture help?

The spine consists of ligaments, muscles, tendons, vertebrae and discs. Linked together, these parts hold up the body, protect the spinal cord and absorb the stress exerted on the body from everyday movements like walking, bending and twisting.

As we age, however, our bone strength and muscle elasticity decreases. The vertebrae’s protective discs begin to lose fluid and flexibility, decreasing their ability to act as shock absorbers. Over time, our back becomes susceptible to injury or conditions like spondylosis, degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, spinal stenosis and other conditions. These spine conditions can cause nerve compression, which can then result in acute or chronic back pain.

Back pain acupuncture may help to reduce acute or chronic back pain while improving mobility and flexibility. During an acupuncture procedure, patients usually have thin needles inserted along meridians — the channels through which the body’s energy flows — which is believed to balance the flow of energy. Patients often use acupuncture and other alternative methods like herbal remedies to complement a more conventional treatment plan. When doing so, it is important to stay in close partnership with your primary doctor to ensure your treatment is compatible with other therapies and your overall health.

Minimally invasive treatment options

While acupuncture and other conservative and alternative options may be an effective treatment for pain, some people with chronic pain may require surgical treatment.

If you have been struggling with chronic neck or back pain and have not found the relief you’ve been hoping for from weeks or months of nonsurgical care, Laser Spine Institute may be able to help you. Our minimally invasive spine surgery has helped more than 75,000 people find relief from chronic neck and back pain.

Our minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization procedures allow patients to experience a shorter recovery time^ and lower risk of complication compared to traditional open spine surgery.

Find out if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive surgery by contacting us today and asking for your no-cost MRI review.*