Conditions Treated » Back Pain
Acupuncture for Chronic and Acute Back Pain
Back pain or low back pain is not a specific disease, it is a symptom that may occur from a variety of different processes. Many people suffering with low back pain, despite a thorough medical examination, are told there is no specific cause ofthe pain that can be identified.
• Nerve root syndromes are those that produce symptoms of nerve impingement often due to a herniation (or bulging) of the disc between the lower vertebrae. Sciatica is an example of nerve root impingement, Spinal stenosis and Spinal degeneration are also examples.
• Trauma/Injuries: Car accidents and sports injuries cause spine injuries such as sprains and fractures can cause either short-lived or chronic pain. Sprains are tears in the ligaments that support the spine, andthey can occur from twisting or lifting improperly. Fractured vertebrae are often the result of osteoporosis, a condition that causes weak, porous bones.Less commonly, back pain may be caused by more severe injuries that result fromaccidents and falls.
• Musculoskeletal pain syndromes: produce low back pain and include myofascial pain syndromes and fibromyalgia.
• Other Acquired conditions and diseases:
Many medical problems can cause or contribute to back pain. They include scoliosis, which causes curvature of the spine and does not usually cause pain until mid-life; spondylolisthesis; various forms of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis; and spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column that puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. While osteoporosis itself is not painful, it can lead to painful fractures of the vertebrae. Other causes of back pain include pregnancy; kidney stones or infections; endometriosis, which is the buildup of uterine tissue in places outside the uterus; and fibromyalgia, which causes fatigue and wide spread muscle pain.
• Infections and tumors: They are not common causes of back pain, infections can cause pain when they involve the vertebrae, a condition called osteomyelitis, or when they involve the discs that cushion the vertebrae, which is called discitis.Tumors, too, are relatively rare causes of back pain. Occasionally, tumors begin in the back, but more often they appear in the back as a result of cancer that has spread from elsewhere in the body.
Although the causes of back pain are usually physical, it is important to know that emotional stress and diet can play a role in how severe pain seems and how long it lasts. Stress can affect the body in many ways, including causing back muscles to become tense and painful.
How can acupuncture help back pain?
Treatment begins with thorough orthopedic testing to determine a correct diagnosis for your specific symptoms. The acupuncturist will then insert very fine needles in acupuncture points that can be located anywhere on the body. In subsequent visits, your acupuncturist may apply electo-stimulation to certain needles. Your acupuncturist may perform Tuina which is treatment specific massage to the painful area. Sometimes your acupuncturist may apply Cupping or Moxa to the area.
Western Theories on the Effects of Acupuncture on the Nervous System