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Relieve Back Pain with Acupuncture

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Not Just Pins and Needles

The purpose of acupuncture is to stimulate your body’s chi or flow of energy. This Chinese practice takes a holistic approach to healing by connecting the mind, body and spirit. Placing needles in the body may not sound significant, but there are documented instances of acupuncture treating various health problems from back pain and stress to Ménière’s disease.

Treatment Preparation

Prior to an acupuncture treatment, you should compile a list of your back problems. This will enable you to describe your pain, specifically where it occurs on the back, how severe it is and when and how much it occurs. These details will help the acupuncturist to treat your specific needs, and if you continue to record your back issues, you can determine whether there has been an improvement.

After Your Session

Some individuals feel energized after a treatment while others may feel like taking a nap. It’s beneficial to listen to your body, because maybe some sleep or relaxation is something your back needs, especially if your pain is a result of too much physical activity.

Acupuncture helps balance the body, so you may notice differences in the way you feel. You may also be more conscious of your back issues. For example, the tension in your shoulders could be due to your poor posture while typing at the computer or it could be from an increase in stress.

Until Next Time

Even though acupuncture is a powerful alternative therapy, you have to do your part to experience optimal results. For example, in between your acupuncture visits, try to eat more balanced meals. Also, do some low- impact exercising or at least some stretching to circulate your blood flow.

The benefits of acupuncture are wide and far-reaching. You may experience less back pain, and you may also become more connected to your body. If you can determine why your back pain occurs, you will be better equipped with how to prevent or reduce the problem.

Add a Comment13 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Interesting discussion here regarding the efficacy of acupuncture. Acupuncture, like an other treatment modality, will not be efficacious for everyone. Placebo effect works in all forms of treatment, including surgery. Denying people a solution for their disease and/or pain because you happen to not believe in a treatment is arrogant and self-centered. If surgery works for you then do it, if getting in a sauna works, then do that, if sticking needles in acupuncture points works, then...leave people alone to do what works for them. What people need to understand is that healing/cure is not only physiology, but also the interaction of the patient with the treatment modality and healer. All of medicine is placebo on some level because medicine is a form of symbolic influence. A white coat can "cause" hypertension. In fact the bigger the pill, the more placebo. A shot has more of a placebo than a pill, and a surgery has more of a placebo effect than a shot....only if it means something to the patient. Take non-westernized person who has never been to a doctor before and give a shot for a cold and they would think the doctor is a quack. Take that same person and take them to their traditional healer for their cold and they'll feel and get better. The mind, feelings, beliefs will always have an influence in healing. This is why people are so passionate about their particular medical beliefs. Just know that even empirical rationalists are using their pre-determined beliefs when going to the doctor.

February 9, 2010 - 5:12pm
EmpowHER Guest

Yes it is just pins and needles.

December 9, 2009 - 6:29pm

OK, "anonymous", I have a few notes for you. 1- The military is now using accupuncture as a treatment for pain. 2- My orthopedic surgeon suggested accupuncture as a theraputic routine for pain from a car accident. 3- Personal experience, take it or leave it, I've had only one accupuncture treatment while I was on active duty in the military. I was amazed at the results. Do you think the military system would allow a treatment plan that wasn't researched? Ha, think again.

September 23, 2009 - 6:46am
EmpowHER Guest

None of the studies linked are actually studies. One seems to be a post-study explanation of statistical methods used and the other is a single paragraph that seems to be the conclusion of the study. No details anywhere.

September 3, 2009 - 10:18am
EmpowHER Guest

Acupuncture may not work for everyone, but if someone has tried traditional treatment to no avail, then why not try. That's what I did. Had a serious back injury, couldn't work, sleep more than 1-2hrs at a time, couldn't walk without pain and more. Went to several doctors, nothing helped at all. After 6 months, I was desperate. My chiropractor had an accupunturist on staff. What did I have to lose, but a few bucks. She was extremely thorough. Immediately after the treatment, I felt so much better for the first time in months. I walked home with no pain and slept the whole night through. I went back a few times. To this day I am extremely grateful. I am not 100 % healed, but I can function normally and live most days without pain or discomfort.
Like I said, it may not work for everyone, but it can be a miracle for someone else.

Placebo can and does work for many people and certain problems, but you cannot generalize in such a way. The whole purpose of the medical profession (including alternative medicine) is to treat each patient individually. The same treatment may not work for different people. Our bodies all react differently to different things.

Anonymous, Acupuncture has been used along with herbs to treat many ailments since ancient times. Just because you don't believe in it or there is no "proof" to your satisfaction does not mean it is garbage. You obviously do not know anything about medicine at all. A lot of current and popular medications are actually derived from plants and herbs used in alternative medicine. There can be a balance between Western and Eastern medicine, Ancient and Modern. Everything there is in modern medicine was new and experimental at one time. What is so wrong about trying something that does not involve an invasive procedure or several medications, something that may work? Absolutely nothing. Why should I consult my Dr. about a treatment he has not studied and may know absolutely nothing about? I can understand that certain medications and supplements may counteract each other or cause problems, that's fine, but if I choose to have needles stuck into my skin, that is my choice. Alternative medicine and Modern medicine can coexist if people let it.

August 22, 2009 - 12:27pm
EmpowHER Guest

Many people actully do benefit from placebo as well.

July 10, 2009 - 9:47am
EmpowHER Guest

I've heard about those studies that say that acupuncture is no better than a placebo. They were doing something wrong in that study, maybe trying to treat the wrong type of back pain?
I returned to school for a few years when I was in my 30's and started to develop back pain. Stretching exercises, chiropractic and massage definitely helped it feel better, but it wouldn't go away. I tried a series of acupuncture sessions (about once per week for about two months) which totally cleared up the problem. I didn't even need any chiropractic adjustments afterwards to 'adjust' things back into place.
Every few years I return for acupuncture treatment for some reason or other, and am still happy with the results it produces.
The most *important* thing about acupuncture is to find a good practitioner! Remember, it's usually just one person trying to interpret the patient's problem and make a diagnosis and decide on treatment. If any one of, or each of these, is off then the treatment won't be (as) effective. You have to make sure the acupuncturist knows what the problem is. If you don't know a good acupuncturist, chances are that someone you know has been and can recommend someone.
People can argue back and forth about the effectiveness of it, but as you can tell from the article and comments, many people really *do* benefit from it. You'll never know unless you try it.

July 8, 2009 - 7:42am
EmpowHER Guest

I apologize if my comment has struck a nerve. As for the anonymous bit, it really doesn't matter what my name is my face or my academic accreditation (okay maybe a bit for sentence structure and various other grammatical issues, thank god firefox has a spellchecker). But again, reiterating back to my original posts (it's the 3rd one). Which examples you've given (if indeed it is you Marina, since you're also an anonymous poster nobody can verify offhand) are all first hand experiences. Not a double blind clinical trial of the effects of acupuncture on medical problems such as back pain. And in no way accepted by anyone looking for reliable information.

I could link http://www.nih.gov/news/research_matters/may2009/05182009backpain.htm

That reference while not properly formatted is acceptable as a credible reference in most academical settings, even though there's still some question as to how much the funding of the study influenced the parameters. But that's another discussion. Notice the 3 treatment groups, including the one without any actual acupuncture (just perceived acupuncture), saw a relief from chronic back pain? That's some decent evidence. But you've done your research and it only took me 5s on Google.

May I draw your attention to the last two paragraphs of the article.
"However, the finding that real acupuncture produced no greater benefit than simulated acupuncture raises important questions about acupuncture’s mechanisms of action." AND "This adds to the growing body of evidence that there is something meaningful taking place during acupuncture treatments outside of actual needling."

I am not a person with an interest in neuroscience or psychology well other than a fleeting one and should be taken with a gain of salt so big it is likely to eclipse the Moon. But it all sounds like it's in our heads. The method itself doesn't work but the pain lessens because they perceive it might work. Or some other unknown process takes place. The mind is beautiful isn't it? Not my field though.

Just because he/she is a doctor/prof/whichever type of authoritative figure doesn't mean they're right whenever they're saying something. Which is why studies are created carried out and repeated by independent observers to verify claims and understand processes.

I realize this has put you on the spot and can be a bit of a blow to your credibility. That's okay. One of my profs once said, what are you 20? plenty of time to do whatever you want. Or something to that effect. He had 3 diplomas in different disciplines before settling for what he does now. My point is even if you have setbacks there's plenty of time to fix them if there's a will behind it.

So learn from mistakes, tricky part is to get over your ego which is telling you "f--- this guy he's making me lose credibility and money. Don't listen to him." etc etc. I don't care about you, I care about the things you say and everyone hears. The Ego is never a good idea to be involved with. It always makes you invent new enemies when they're not really there, and makes you keep doing the same mistakes over and over.

PS -- I dislike this culture of infotainment. It was nothing personal, however it is very important to see who wrote what and why. Motivation has a great impact on the type of writing you do. But back on my original point, infotainment is in my opinion conceptualized by trying to treat a very complex and difficult problem in 5 paragraphs no more than 1000 words. It is impossible and truthfully very dangerous. I especially LOVE the little dischlamer so small that I've missed it the first 2 times I read the article.

"We value and respect the experiences of all of our ..." Incorporated very well in the site with neutral font as to not stand out too much. But I'm ranting and I'll leave it as this.

Again, sorry for the hit. I hope you can rebound and write blog entries which are worthy of academic praise. Or at least a B+.

June 15, 2009 - 8:37am
EmpowHER Guest

Regardless of how much money I charge for my services, I take time to research my topics and I am a professional. Not only do I have personal experience with acupuncture (I receive treatment every two weeks), I have also interviewed my acupuncturist as well as other alternative health care professionals.

My acupuncturist has told me incredible stories including one about a patient who had Ménière’s disease and how acupuncture enabled her to manage the symptoms and eventually become free of vertigo and headaches. The tips I provided in my article are a result of interviewing my acupuncturist as well as research from medical journals.

I agree that with any health advice, it's important to be cautious and do your own research too. Please take note that the article "Anonymous" referenced states, "As for therapies, acupuncture has been shown to help certain conditions, and yoga, massage, meditation and other relaxation methods may relieve symptoms like pain, anxiety and fatigue."

I take my writing seriously, and I always try to provide the most up to date information with supportive sources. It's unfortunate that "Anonymous" had to attack my credibility.

Marina Hanes

June 12, 2009 - 12:52pm
EmpowHER Guest


Is currently my first response to any and all remedies which have no shred of evidence. A lot of natural remedies have been propped up by hearsay and personal stories which again offer no evidence. Please, before you decide to undergo any kind of therapy no matter how mild sounding consult your physician. If that is not possible try and find evidence that these treatments work and it's not just a surge of endorphins after X treatment that is just as well done with a sugar pill and call it the cure to every illness. The mind has a powerful short term (normally) effect on how you feel and the power of suggestion has been exploited by people trying to sell things for thousands of years most likely, if not 60-100 in recent history.

Evidence for any treatment/therapy can be found in medical journals. Don't be scared to do a little digging in what you're reading. If you find a site which claims X effect try to find multiple sites that do this as well. If none of the sites look like they have any shred of M.D. oversight on the article try to open a dialogue with the people claiming such effects and ask them where/when/how. If their evidence is not from a scientific study which you can find online it's most likely bunk and you're better off with a good bath and warm cup of tea (or whichever other beverage you prefer).

Another way to check on the facts is see who wrote the article. In this case, Marina sells her writing services for $10 for a blog entry such as this. Just because there are links to M.D. articles on the page, does not mean the article is genuine and should be taken as fact.

And last, if you wish to empower women and human beings in general, PLEASE for the love of God stop giving them the fish and teach how to use a fishing rod. Especially when you've never fished before and bought it from the market.


June 12, 2009 - 11:31am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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