Back pain affects a huge number if Irish people, with 68% of adults experiencing back pain at least once a week, and over 50% living with back pain for over 5 years. Most sufferers have lower back pain. Early back pain treatment is important, for if it goes untreated, there is a 33% chance it will remain for over a year, and a 20% chance that sufferers will be out of work for over 3 months
What causes Lower Back Pain?
Lower back pain is not usually caused by a serious injury, but by sprains, minor injuries, or a trapped nerve. It often occurs during pregnancy, and can also come on due to stress. Often, from an acupuncturist’s viewpoint, the cause of the pain is blood trapped in muscles. The inability of the blood to circulate freely causes this pain.
How effective is acupuncture for Lower Back Pain?
Recent research has proven acupuncture to be 74% more effective in relieving pain and increasing mobility than physiotherapy, medication and advice on exercise. This makes it one of the most effective therapies for lower back pain treatment.
How does acupuncture work for Lower Back Pain?
Put simply, acupuncture relaxes muscles and blood vessels in the back, allowing trapped blood to be cleared from the affected area, which reduces the pain immediately. Once the trapped blood has been flushed out, fresh blood is free to nourish and heal the injured area.
Modern research has shown some of the ways in which acupuncture helps treat lower back pain:
- Provides pain relief – acupuncture has a gentle stimulating effect on nerve endings in affected muscles. This releases endorphins, which are the bodies natural pain killers.
- Reduces inflammation – by relaxing the blood vessels, toxins which cause inflammation can be cleared away.
- Improves flexability of the spine and muscle function – by increasing local blood circulation, swelling and bruising are reduced.
- All of these benefits have been proven to reducing the need to use pain killers for lower back pain.
How many treatments are needed to relieve lower back pain?
Most people feel pain relief and increased mobility immediately after the first treatment. Generally, the longer the pain has been there and the more severe it is, the more treatments are needed. Usually, 3 to 6 treatments will be enough for most conditions of lower back pain.
What is involved in a treatment?
It’s not all about needles! Although acupuncture plays a big part in the treatment, Chinese medical massage (Tuina), cupping, and herbal ointments are also used to ensure the best possible result. A treatment lasts for about 1 hour, and includes a consultation.
Acupuncture treatment (1 hour) €60
 HTA Spotlight: Acupuncture for back pain. Research by the University of Regensburg
 (Pomeranz 1987; Zhao 2008)
 (Kim 2008, Kavoussi 2007;Zijlstra 2003)
 (Komori 2009)
 (Thomas 2006)