Acupuncture Eases Lower Back Pain
Back pain is one of the most common reasons people see a health care provider. Millions of people suffer with low back pain. It is one of the top reasons people seek medical treatment. Low back pain affects 60% of the adult U.S. population. Low back problems affect the spines flexibility, stability, and strength, which can cause pain, discomfort, stiffness, tenderness, pain that radiates into the buttocks or legs, difficulty standing and sitting in one position or for a long time, and leg weakness while walking. Low back pain is usually caused by strain from lifting or bending, infection, rheumatic or arthritic conditions, a ruptured or bulging disk and compression fractures of the bones.
Today acupuncture is well known for its effectiveness in relieving pain. Reviews of scientific studies show some support for the use of acupuncture for low back pain. The National Institutes of Health recommend acupuncture as a reasonable treatment option for low back pain.
A recent study published in the Clinical Journal of Pain provides further proof that acupuncture is a safe and effective procedure for low back pain, and that it can maintain positive outcomes for periods of six months or longer without producing the negative side-effects that often accompany more traditional pain remedies. Acupuncture patients also experienced less episodes of sleep disturbance than their placebo-treated counterparts.
A recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine stated that low back pain improved after acupuncture treatment for at least six months. And, that the effectiveness of acupuncture was almost twice that of conventional therapy.
Another study showed that acupuncture is an effective, safe adjunctive treatment for chronic low back pain (LBP) in older patients. The inclusion criteria for subjects were LBP over 12 weeks and age over 60 years old. The exclusion criteria were spinal tumor, infection, fracture and associated neurological symptoms. Results showed that the acupuncture group had greater improvement than the control group. And, fewer acupuncture subjects had medication-related side-effects compared with the control group.
In a British study published in September 2006, one group of patients received 10 sessions of acupuncture for 90 days and another group received none. The acupuncture group reported less pain than the non-acupuncture group. In addition, the acupuncture group was less worried about their lower back pain and used less pain medication to manage it.
Another study, funded by NIH, showed acupuncture effective for treating chronic low back pain. Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Peninsula Medical School, Plymouth, U.K., analyzed studies from around the world on acupuncture for low back pain. “The analysis shows that acupuncture is clearly effective in providing considerable pain relief,” says Eric Manheimer, study author and director of database and evaluation for the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine. “The research also showed that acupuncture provided true pain relief. The benefit was not just due to the placebo effect.”