Acupuncture has been around since the time of ancient Chinese and Asian cultures, and although it was mostly used to treat pain and inflammation, it’s since been adopted as a form of medical treatment in western cultures.
Without getting too technical, acupuncture helps to reduce inflammation in the body. It’s used to treat everything from sciatica to headaches to arthritis. It’s a natural method of pain relief that many patients enjoy.
Since acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to treat things like migraines, stomach issues and even fertility issues. It’s also become a popular method for those suffering from lower back pain.
It’s become so popular, in fact, that many health insurance companies cover it and some employers even offer it to their employees as an option they can take advantage of while they’re out on disability.
Here’s what you need to know about acupuncture and lower back pain.
How Does Acupuncture Relieve Lower Back Pain
Acupuncture is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine that aims to remove pain and treat bodily issues by inserting needles into a specific area of the body that has an issue.
During the acupuncture treatment, needles are placed into those areas and they’re gently moved around.
The patient is awake the entire time the needles are placed. While it can be a bit uncomfortable, many patients report that it actually feels good once the needle has been inserted.
This traditional Oriental medicine targets the pressure points of the body. So when you have lower back pain, the needles are inserted into an area of specific nerve clusters.
As the needles stimulate these pressure points, the nerves in the body react by sending pain signals to the brain. The brain processes these signals as physical pain and sends messages to the body to produce its own natural painkillers.
This is why many patients say that acupuncture doesn’t just help to relieve the pain they’re experiencing, but also helps to relieve the stress they feel while they’re experiencing it.
To help you better understand the science behind it, here are three major theories involved when relieving your lower back pain using acupuncture.
Release of Neurotransmitters
Acupuncture triggers the release of neurotransmitters that aid in reducing pain.
There are certain neurotransmitters in the brain that are released when a certain area of the body is stressed. These neurotransmitters send signals to the brain and tell it to release pain-killing chemicals in the body.
By stimulating these specific pressure points in the body, acupuncture causes these neurotransmitters to be released and in turn, pain relief is produced.
Release of Enkephalins
Enkephalins are a special type of protein that is produced in the body that serves as neurotransmitters to the brain. They have the ability to reduce both your pain and your perception of pain by inhibiting the afferent pain fibres
The release of these special proteins is triggered by the insertion of acupuncture needles. According to studies, there is an increase of enkephalins in the hypothalamus and striatum during acupuncture treatment.
Accumulation of Endorphins
Endorphins are one of the body’s natural pain relievers.
They work to change the way pain is perceived by the brain. Endorphins attach themselves to the same areas of the brain that feel pain and tell the brain to shut down pain receptors and reduce pain.
Releasing endorphins also affects the part of the brain that enforces serotonin, a chemical in the brain which is mainly involved with mood. This is why patients feel relaxed and at ease during the entire acupuncture treatment.
When it comes to lower back pain, acupuncture and dry needling is definitely something to consider. It’s a great alternative to many of the more potent medications out there that treat pain, such as opioids. Whether it’s used in conjunction with other forms of treatment, or as a standalone option, acupuncture has helped thousands of patients relieve their back pain.
Whitehorse Physiotherapy offers acupuncture in Whitehorse that is designed to help with a wide range of pain issues, from chronic pain, to headaches, and neck and back pain. Let us help you find relief from your lower back pain. Book an appointment with us today