Lower Back Pain Sufferers Turn to Acupuncture for Relief

Study finds acupuncture to be more effective than standard medical treatments.

It has been estimated that up to 80% of the population will suffer from back pain at some point, with the lower back as the most prevalent location of pain. The most common origin of this condition is injury to the muscles, ligaments, and joints, but it can also result from osteoarthritis, a herniated disc, or a myriad of other disorders. Lower back pain is also a problem that worsens exponentially, as sufferers are more likely to walk or move in ways to avoid pain, thereby causing soreness in areas that were not previously affected.

With so many people turning to alternative therapies for medical conditions these days, it’s no wonder that many with lower back pain are investigating the ancient technique of acupuncture as a possible treatment option. Acupuncture is the procedure of inserting and manipulating filiform needles into various areas of the body to relieve pain or for therapeutic purposes. In recent years, acupuncture has been gaining in popularity as an alternative to traditional medical intervention. It is most often used in those with chronic pain conditions, including (but not limited to) arthritis; back, neck, knee, and shoulder pain; carpal tunnel syndrome; and sciatica.

The benefits and effectiveness of acupuncture are becoming more widely understood, and the practice is gaining acceptance on numerous fronts—from patients themselves to the traditional medical community. Last year, the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society released a joint statement endorsing acupuncture as a nondrug option for clinicians to recommend when standard treatments for lower back pain do not work.

However, a recent study has shown that acupuncture is actually more effective than standard medical treatments. This study, sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, found that a seven-week course of acupuncture helped many patients ease the pain of chronic lower back pain.*

The patients who volunteered for the study all ranked their chronic low back pain as at least a three on a scale of zero to 10. Researchers divided the patients into several groups. Some received the usual care for their back pain: medicine and checkups at their doctors. Other groups got acupuncture.

While only 40% of the usual care group saw improvements, around 60% of the acupuncture group improved. As researcher Dan Cherkin, a senior investigator at Group Health Center for Health Studies in Seattle, explains, “The people who got acupuncture were more likely to do better.”

Furthermore, those in the acupunture groups were also more likely than usual care patients to have improvements in their condition after a year of treatment (65% as opposed to 50%, respectively).

If you have been suffering with lower back pain, consider Monmouth Spine and Rehabilitation Center for Acupuncture. Our facility provides skilled New Jersey Certified Acupuncturists with years of experience and knowledge to get you started with acupuncture therapy.

*This study is published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

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