Acupuncture treats back pain
NHS sponsored research, as part of a Health Technology Assessment (HTA), found that acupuncture was more effective in reducing back pain than conventional healthcare (Thomas et. al. HTA vol.9: no.32 (2005)).
Back pain is one of the most common reasons that people seek medical attention.
It is estimated that 80% of us will have back pain at some point in our lives.
Poor posture, lack of exercise, over exertion, disease and trauma are the most common causes and can lead to acute or chronic conditions.
What causes back pain?
Back pain is usually felt when the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the spine become stressed, or when the nerve-rich facet and intervertebral joints become distorted and irritated due to muscle spasm and weakness, excessive tension or trauma. Joints can become inflamed, and can put pressure on the surrounding nerves which exit through the vertebral column. As the nerve pain continues the back muscles can react by continuing to spasm thus causing further distortion and compression, or inflammation between the joints. This sets up a 'pain cycle' which can lead to more chronic conditions if left untreated. A simple muscle strain can lead to joint distortion which can result in chronic nerve pain.
In more severe cases the intervertebral discs can become herniated ('slipped') and put pressure on the nerve branches which exit the spinal column. Pain is then felt locally but also, as with sciatica, across the hip and may radiate down the leg and the sciatic nerve.
How acupuncture treats back pain
Acupuncture and shiatsu can help reduce and eliminate the cycle of back pain, and prevent recurrence and a more chronic condition developing. Treatment aims to relieve muscle spasms, and reduce inflammation, and allowing the back to relax and realign itself. This helps to increase the blood and energy supply to the joints and restore normal movement. Diagnosis will identify the primary cause and then treat to strenghten the underlying weakness or clear any blockages involved, and help prevent a reccurence of the problem.
Research has shown that acupuncture stimulates the body to release its natural supply of steroids and endorphins. Steroids reduce inflammation and endorphines are the body's natural painkillers. Acupuncture can help prevent a reccurence of back pain and avoid the need for long term medication and any potential side effects and, in more serious cases, surgical intervention.
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