Back pain can affect anyone at any age and most people will suffer from it at some point in their lives. It is the UK's leading cause of disability, and one of the main reasons for work-related sickness absence.
Back pain currently costs the NHS and community care services more than £1 billion each year. Most lower back pain is caused not by serious damage or disease, but by sprains, muscle strains, minor injuries, or a pinched or irritated nerve. It can also occur during pregnancy, or because of stress, a viral infection or a kidney infection.
Acupuncture can help back pain by:
• providing pain relief - by stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, acupuncture leads to release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord (Pomeranz 1987; Zhao 2008).
• reducing inflammation - by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Kim 2008, Kavoussi 2007;Zijlstra 2003).
• improving muscle stiffness and joint mobility - by increasing local microcirculation (Komori 2009), which aids dispersal of swelling and bruising.
• reducing the use of medication for back complaints (Thomas 2006).
• providing a more cost-effective treatment over a longer period of time (Radcliffe 2006;Witt 2006).
• improving the outcome when added to conventional treatments such as rehabilitation exercises (Ammendolia 2008; Yuan 2008).
In the video below two men talk about their experiences of using traditional acupuncture to help back pain.