Acupuncture for low back pain

acupuncture for low back pain

Background on acupuncture for low back pain

Low back pain is one of the most common reasons that people seek out acupuncture.  It is one of the most common complaints heard by healthcare practitioners overall. It can be debilitating and scary. A new study from the from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that acute low back pain can become chronic if not treated properly.  Thankfully, acupuncture is one of the primary treatments recommended by doctors for low back pain. In 2017, the American College of Physicians issued guidelines advocating that patients choose natural therapies like acupuncture over pain medications.


What causes low back pain

The source of low back pain can be difficult to pinpoint. Sometimes, the cause is obvious after an injury. It can also be due to lifestyle habits like sitting or sleeping position or repetitive movements. In addition, structural issues often play a role, though they may not correlate to the level of pain someone experiences. Structural conditions include degenerated or herniated discs, spinal stenosis, scoliosis, and arthritis. Muscle strains and spasms can cause low back pain along with pinched nerves. Kidney stones, gallstones, and constipation can also cause low back pain. Many people are surprised to learn that low back pain can even arise from emotional challenges.


Types of low back pain

Some people experience low back pain in a very specific location. Often, the pain may start in one area and radiate to another area. This is common with sciatica, where the pain can radiate down the hip and leg. Other people experience a general nonspecific kind of pain. The feeling can be a dull ache, or even a numbness, tingling, stabbing, or burning sensation. This information helps an acupuncturist know how to treat the pain and get to the source of the pain.



How acupuncture can help low back pain

Just as every person is unique, there is no one size fits all treatment for low back pain. The acupuncturist will work with a patient to understand the details about their back pain, including when it started, how it started, what it feels like, and what makes it feel better or worse. The acupuncturist will also review the patient’s overall health history and listen to any additional concerns. This, along with diagnostic information from listening to the patient’s pulses and looking at the patient’s tongue, will give the acupuncturist a good idea of what is going on from an energetic perspective. The acupuncturist will then create a customized treatment to address the energetic imbalances.


An acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatment for low back pain will most often involve needles. Depending on the nature of the pain, a far-infrared TDP lamp may also be used on the back. There are a variety of liniments made from Chinese herbs that may be applied to the back to help with pain, and these can be taken home for continued application. Gentle movement, like easy walking, is often recommended to continue to encourage blood and energy flow through the lower back.


Ear seeds for low back pain

Ear seeds can also be very helpful for lower back pain. An ear seed is a small sphere placed on an acupuncture point on the surface of the ear that is held in place with adhesive tape. It works by exerting a gentle pressure on the acupuncture point. There are specific points on the ear that correspond to the lower back. A patient can wear ear seeds for up to five days. They are a great way to continue treatment at home. Ear seed kits are also available for people who are afraid of needles. You can learn more about ear seeds in my blog about ear seeds.


Want to talk about how acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help your low back pain? I’d love to hear from you. Reach out and email me through our website or call or text 910-622-4269.


About the Author

Ericca Burke is the owner of HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine where she provides acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatments in Wilmington, NC. Click this link to read more about Ericca. 


About HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine in Wilmington, NC

HAVEN Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine is an acupuncture and Chinese medicine practice located in Wilmington, NC just minutes from beautiful Wrightsville Beach. Click this link for contact information and directions. Click this link for a listing and description of services offered.