Arthritis, joint pain, chronic pain, and most especially lower back pain, are some of the most common reasons why patients seek-out acupuncture treatments. For a lot of these people, Chinese medicine and acupuncture have been extremely beneficial in the relief of their pain. The question is, will it work for you?
Chinese Medicine and Pain
Joint and/or musculoskeletal pain, in Chinese medicine, is referred to as bi syndrome. Bi means blockage or obstruction In Chinese medicine terminology. The blockage will present with symptoms manifesting qualities that cause the person to feel hot or fixed, stabbing or achy pain. Some sufferers may experience some relief with rest while others may favorably respond to exercise or movement. A lot of joint or musculoskeletal disorders are set up into a subcategory of bi syndrome. The correct combination of herbal remedies and acupuncture treatment is ensured when a correct diagnosis of the kind of bi being experienced by the patient has been made. This helps alleviate and clear out the blockage of blood and qi in the problem area.
The local areas where the inflammation and constriction is found are known as trigger points. Acupuncture works to deactivate and eliminate these points. The pain pattern of each patient may dictate the point where the acupuncturist places the needles.
The use of both acupuncture and other forms of Chinese natural medicine facilitates healing in two ways:
1. First, pain is relieved by acupuncture’s ability to resolve stagnation, local congestion, and inflammation.
2. After the restoration of local circulation, the next task is to nourish the muscular structure, discs, and tendons to return the patient to a more subtle and mobile state.
Practitioners of Chinese medicine believe that certain muscles can ‘throw off’ patterns of pain in certain parts of the body not affected directly by inflammation or constriction. A qualified acupuncturist is well versed in the techniques of trigger point deactivation and is more than able to identify these patterns. He/she then will place needles both distal to and nearby the painful area. This strategy gives the acupuncturist a way to tap on the meridian system of the patient’s body to treat local pain while at the same time addressing power currents deep within the body to resolve the origin of the back pain.
Studies Supporting Acupuncture’s Viability as a Treatment for Back Pain
The AIM or Archives of Internal Medicine recently published a study showing acupuncture’s superiority over allopathic treatment in relieving back pain. Sponsored by the NIH (National Institutes of Wellness) the study had 638 participants who were all suffering from back pain, and were divided into three groups. One group received no acupuncture but continued to receive conventional treatment (physical therapy or medications), one group was given placebo treatment in which the skin was stimulated but not pierced and the final group received real acupuncture.
Seven weeks later, the group that was treated with real acupuncture experienced more significant and greater improvement in their back pain compared to the group that continued their conventional therapy and the placebo group. Even the placebo group experienced significant positive results.
The results of the placebo group raised questions about the workings of acupuncture, and what it is about the therapy that sets off recovery. Around 60% of the people in the real acupuncture treatment group experienced improvements compared to the 39% of the usual-care group.
Why Use Acupuncture for Treating Low Back Pain?
It’s believed that around $40 billion is spent each year in the US for healthcare treatment of back pain and that practically 85% of all Americans will experience this condition at least once during their lifetime. Anyone who has experienced this exhausting chronic ailment knows that good and safe modalities are needed for back pain. Acupuncture is truly a cost-effective and secure option for people seeking relief from their conditions.
Being a chronic pain specialist myself, I’ve literally spent hundreds of hours training with Chinese Medicine practitioners and acupuncturists to find out how to get the most out of these treatments in order to relieve, over the long-term, the pain suffered by my patients. There are still a lot of people who are skeptical about other types of treatments for back pain, but now, there’s growing evidence that acupuncture and Chinese medicine can be a potent way of alleviating pain and providing a long-term successful treatment regimen to keep patients pain-free, happy, and healthy.