With the acupuncture needles in place, the back pain patient rests for several minutes. The wires are part of the electrical stimulation used in the treatment. Most patients say the needles are painless and they find the treatment very relaxing.
Millions of people suffer with low back pain, and it is one of the top reasons people seek medical treatment. Back problems are also, by far, the primary reason for appointments with acupuncturists. But does acupuncture really help these patients?
Many Research analyzed dozens of studies from around the world on acupuncture for low back pain.
“For people with chronic low back pain, this analysis shows that acupuncture is clearly effective in providing considerable pain relief,”
“The research also showed that acupuncture provided true pain relief. The benefit was not just due to the placebo effect.”
Researchers conclude that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic low back pain. A randomized, controlled trial was performed at the Dongzhimen Hospital in Beijing, China with a group of 60 participants. Acupuncture effectively decreased patient pain levels and reduced days missed from work due to low back pain. Back Points
Another study of 236 patients published in the Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain concludes that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of low back pain. A total of 14 acupuncture treatments were administered over 4 weeks in this randomized trial. The researchers concluded that acupuncture has “beneficial and persistent effectiveness against CLBP (chronic lower back pain).”
Another study investigated the effects of distal acupuncture on low back pain. Distal acupuncture involves acupuncture point selections from areas that are not located in the affected region. For this study, a single acupuncture point, LI4 (Hegu), was chosen. A group of 187 patients with chronic low back pain received 18 treatments at LI4 over a 7 week period in this controlled clinical trial. The patients demonstrated significant relief from low back pain.
LI4 is located on the dorsum of the hand, between the 1st and 2nd metacarpal bones at the midpoint of the 2nd metacarpal bone, at the high point of the thenar eminence and distal to the transverse carpal ligament. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture is applied to this point for the treatment of many pain related conditions including headaches, jaw pain, eye pain and toothaches. Nearby, another well known set of distal points on the hand, Yaotongxue, are often used by licensed acupuncturists for the relief of pain due to acute low back sprain
Patients with low back pain have many options for treatment including medication, chiropractic care, physical therapy and back exercises.