Most back pain is muscular in nature. Muscle pain perpetuates what is known as the pain cycle, a phenomenon of which the back is particularly susceptible. In the pain cycle, pain causes a muscle to spasm, which may distort the discs, joints and nerves of the spine. This spasm leads to further pain, leading to further spasm, which compounds the original problem.
Acupuncture can be very helpful in the reduction or elimination of back pain by breaking the pain cycle, reducing recovery time and preventing a chronic condition from developing. Why? Acupuncture treatment addresses the pain cycle in two ways:
It causes the body to produce natural steroids, which decrease inflammation.
It promotes the production of natural endorphins which kill pain.
By reducing acute back pain, acupuncture may also reduce the chances of chronic back pain from occurring. It can help avoid the need for costlier and more invasive surgical procedures. And if back pain can be significantly reduced with acupuncture, it also lowers the need for painkillers or other medications that can either cause unwanted side-effects or prolong a patient’s condition.
A large, rigorously designed clinical trial reported in May 2009 found that actual acupuncture and simulated acupuncture were equally effective in treating acute low back pain-and both were more effective than conventional treatment-for relieving chronic low-back pain.