Debilitating, disruptive pain!
Oh, the pain! Upper back pain, lower back pain, middle-of-the-back pain! Many of you know how it feels. You may even have experience with the one-legged balancing dance of trying to put on your shoes while your back is throbbing and threatening to throw you to the ground.
According to the American Chiropractic Association, 31 million Americans suffer from lower back pain at any given time, 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lives, and it is the third most common reason for doctor visits.1
What causes it?
Back pain is not an actual disease (though it is commonly referred to as such) but rather a myriad of symptoms caused by several underlying factors such as injury, posture, moods, obesity, and age.2 But very often, lower back pain is the result of something undeterminable, which makes treating back pain very difficult.
How can I treat back pain?
You can find numerous “top ten” lists of how to treat both temporary and chronic pack pain. Interestingly enough, what you’ll find missing from these lists are chiropractor visits. What you WILL find for a valuable treatment option on these lists, more often than not, is acupuncture! For example, see Prevention.com’s 10 Effective Ways to Find Lower Back Pain Relief, According to Doctors.
There are the usual methods of dealing with back pain such as heat and ice packs, anti-inflammatory medications, using shoe supports, practicing better posture while both standing and sitting, regular stretching, and even yoga. Utilizing a combination of these methods can help lessen pain temporarily.
Because there are many types and causes of back pain, it’s hard to know what will be effective. Take this example: aside from sciatica (nerve pain), one of the most common reasons women suffer from lower back pain is because of overly tight tendons that stretch from the hip to the lower back. Stretching out the hip with specific positions can often eliminate lower back pain in five minutes. However, this is only one small example of a type of chronic pain. Discovering what actually causes back pain for most people remains elusive.
Acupuncture is the answer.
More and more people are turning to acupuncture to treat their back pain than ever before and that’s because acupuncture is able to reduce chronic back pain no matter where it stems from. And in a recent study by Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, it was found that acupuncture is more effective than the usual care!3
Acupuncturists help alleviate back pain by restoring overall balance to the body. In Eastern Medicine, it is understood that the Yin and the Yang have individual expressions within the body, each controlling different functions and elements. The needles used in acupuncture stimulate nerve endings which in turn help to establish balance between the Yin and Yang. Any type of imbalance could be blocking the “Qi” (energy/life force) from flowing freely, and blockages create pain. Acupuncture helps the blockage to be removed by restoring balance so that the Qi can flow as it should throughout the body.
“Acupuncture treatment is to achieve balance,” says Dr. Ko from 120 Acupuncture of Studio City, Los Angeles. “The great principle of acupuncture is moderation. Acupuncture can treat all kinds of back pain.”
Since acupuncture needles are traditionally placed on the back as the patient lies on his/her stomach, people with chronic back pain sometimes fear the additional sting of needles in the area that is already sensitive to pain. Dr. Ko stresses that acupuncture needles will not aggravate the existing back pain.
“In the old days, the needle was thick and it hurt a lot but in modern times, the needle is thin and it stings a bit when it goes in, and it does not hurt after it is in.”
Another benefit to acupuncture is that the same treatment is used for all types of back pain. While medical professionals will try to treat different types of back pain through different methods, acupuncture is all-encompassing.
“The basic treatment method is the same. Only the number of needles varies depending on the treatment area of the body,” states Dr. Ko.
Pain Medications Are Problematic.
As with any type of ailment that causes bodily pain, one possible caveat of western medicine that many people fall victim to is drug addiction. Severe back pain may be temporarily alleviated through prescription drugs. These drugs are often addictive and cause greater harm down the road. While it may be necessary in extreme cases, most back pain sufferers can avoid the treacherous road of prescription medications by scheduling several months’ worth of acupuncture appointments.
“Medicines or injections provide temporary relief from pain,” Dr. Ko reminds us. “Acupuncture treatment relieves pain by 90-99%.”
Chronic back pain sufferers are advised to look into recurring acupuncture sessions to reduce or eliminate back pain. As with any severe pain, one treatment will not work. One stretch, one yoga class, one day of practicing good posture, one day with shoe arches – the effects would be minimal. As with any treatment, regular adhesion to a plan is suggested. A weekly or biweekly acupuncture session plan for at least six months is recommended.
If you are in the Los Angeles area, Dr. Ko. of 120 Acupuncture in Studio City will be happy to discuss holistic treatment plans to conquer your back pain. Give his office a call at 818-980-7979.
1“Back Pain Facts and Statistics”, American Chiropractic Association, https://www.acatoday.org/Patients/What-is-Chiropractic/Back-Pain-Facts-and-Statistics
2Priority Diseases and Reason for Inclusion”, World Health Organization, https://www.who.int/medicines/areas/priority_medicines/Ch6_24LBP.pdf
2“How effective is acupuncture for chronic back pain?”, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Reasearch Institute, https://www.kpwashingtonresearch.org/live-healthy/all-articles/live-healthy-2014/how-effective-acupuncture-chronic-back-pain