Acupuncture for Back Pain

Acupuncture for relieving back pain

Back pain is an extremely common occurrence. Around 8 in 10 people will experience back pain at some point in their lives in Australia, with most of those working age. It seems to affect men and women in fairly equal numbers. The causes of low back pain are varied, but are usually the result of an injury or from a spine related problem. They can include:
  • Repetitive or heavy lifting eg. manual handling
  • Poor posture
  • Sedentary lifestyle, not enough movement or exercise
  • Sudden awkward movement
  • Being overweight
  • Accident – car accident, falling, etc.
  • Muscle tension from stress
Some health conditions may also be a cause of back pain, including:
  • Sciatica
  • Osteoporosis
  • Arthritis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
Back pain can be experienced anywhere along the spine and muscles of the back, from the neck down to the buttocks, though is commonly felt in the lumbar region. Pain can also travel to other areas of the body, such as down the legs with sciatica. The pain can be dull and diffuse, or quite sharp and focussed in one area. It also commonly restricts movements in daily life, limiting exercise, work, and daily routines. It can be acute, and settle down after just a few weeks, but there is also a risk of it becoming chronic if it isn’t dealt with early enough.

Can acupuncture treatment provide relief for back pain?

Acupuncture has been shown through research to be an effective treatment for low back pain. In fact, acupuncture has been found to be more effective than a number of other therapies, such as progressive muscle relaxation, manipulation, laser therapy, yoga, and anti-inflammatory medications for treating the pain and symptoms of low back injuries. I take a holistic approach to treating back pain, and may use a number of different techniques to help relieve the pain and tightness, including acupuncture, cupping, heat therapy, electroacupuncture and massage. I may also suggest the use of natural western and Chinese medicine, and give stretching and lifestyle advice to help provide relief and get you back on your feet. Acupuncture is safe to use alongside any other therapies you may also be using.

What is an acupuncture treatment for back pain like?

I’ll start by taking a thorough history of your pain and injury to help determine causes and contributing factors. If you have had any x-rays or other scans done, please bring along the reports as they help to guide my treatment.

After a discussion of how the treatment will proceed, I will have you lie comfortably on the table. Generally I will have you lie face down, but I know that holding that position for an extended period can be very uncomfortable with back pain, so I am also able to treat you face up or in a recliner in the initial stages if needed. It is important that you’re comfortable on the table so you can lie there with ease and no restrictions, allowing the needles to do their work.

Once the needles are in, I’ll leave you to rest under a heat lamp for 25-30 minutes. The initial appointment will take an hour, with follow ups done in about 50 minutes. 

How long will I need to get treatments for?

It can be really hard to predict the improvements from back pain, as there are so many factors involved e.g. how long you’ve had the pain for, your work or study requirements, your age, fitness levels and ability to participate in rehab stretching or exercises. I will be able to give you a more accurate idea of a treatment plan after I’ve met with you, but generally you should start to feel some relief in the first couple of sessions. 

Lachlan McDonald
Lachlan McDonald
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