Acupuncture for Back Pain & Sciatica
Back pain or sciatica can affect you at any age, and most people will suffer from it at sometime in their lives. Acupuncture treatment will relieve your pain, and also treat its root cause.
A mixture of acupuncture, cupping and moxabustion will improve the flow of Qi and blood circulation to the affected area thus improving mobility and reducing pain. Additional points will be used to strengthen your core energy.
Acupuncture was proven to be more effective for improving chronic back pain than no acupuncture in a study by the University of Berlin.
Acupuncture treatment gives you pain relief in many ways, and reduces the need for medication. This is achieved by:
- Stimulating nerves to release endorphins. This alters the pain processing in the brain and spinal cord (Pomeranz 1987; Zhao et al, 2008).
- Reducing inflammation by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Kim et al, 2008, Kavoussi 2007; Zijlstra 2003).
- Improving muscle stiffness and joint mobility – by increasing local microcirculation which aids dispersal of swelling and bruising (Komori et al, 2009).
- Reducing the use of medication for back complaints (Thomas et al, 2006).
- Improving the outcome when added to conventional treatments such as rehabilitation exercises (Ammendolia et al, 2008; Yuan et al, 2008).
The path of pain in the body and conventional treatment (read more)
Although unpleasant to experience, pain is part of our body’s sophisticated protective mechanism. Nociceptors, sensory neurons found throughout the body, detect any potentially dangerous changes in temperature, chemical balance or pressure in our system. When nociceptors are stimulated, they send electrical signals to the brain. The brain evaluates the information and produces pain causing us to stop and change our behaviour e.g. removing our hand from the hot plate.
With chronic pain however, we feel and process pain messages differently because our nervous system has been altered – our nerve cells may become so sensitive that even a light touch can cause the brain to interpret the pressure as painful (Koestler & Myers, 2002).
Conventional medical treatment aims to reduce pain and improve function so we may resume our daily activities. The goal of the treatment is to manage the pain because it can’t usually be cured (National Institute of Health, 2011).
Doctors often treat pain by prescribing medication such as analgesics (paracetamol) or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or opioids (morphine), but long-term use of these medications can cause side effects such as toxicity to the kidneys (NSAIDS) and liver (paracetamol); gastritis (aspirin) and nausea, vomiting and constipation (opioids) (Stephenson, 2011).
The NHS also recommends physical therapy delivered by an osteopath, chiropractor or a physiotherapist; meditation; hypnotherapy and acupuncture (NHS Choices, 2017) through NHS pain clinics.