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Acupuncture and Chronic Back Pain

chronic back pain

Nearly 8 out of every 10 people will experience chronic back pain at some point in their life. Back pain is the No. 1 reported reason for seeking acupuncture treatment. The good news for back pain sufferers is that chronic back pain is one of many conditions acupuncture is proven to effectively treat. This is why most private insurers now cover acupuncture for chronic back pain.

Guidelines from the American Pain Society and American College of Physicians instruct doctors to consider acupuncture as a non-drug therapy for patients with chronic back pain that is not helped by conventional treatments. As of January 1, 2018, new hospital accreditation standards will require that evidence-based, non-drug therapies (including acupuncture) are provided in the hospital’s pain management department.

Some people choose acupuncture first, as a safe and effective alternative to the side effects that can accompany conventional medical treatments. Others use acupuncture as part of an integrated approach, in conjunction with therapies such as medication, chiropractic, massage, physical therapy, or yoga.

How Acupuncture Works

Acupuncture uses extremely thin needles to stimulate specific points in the body that are connected along energy pathways called “meridians.” The energy that travels in these meridians is our vital life force energy, called Qi (pronounced “chee”). This Qi energy controls all our bodily functions. There are energy meridians that pass through our whole body, including our back. The ancient Chinese, who discovered acupuncture over 5,000 years ago, understood that pain in different areas of the body is a sign that the Qi energy has become imbalanced or obstructed in those areas. Acupuncture treatment corrects the body’s energy flow through whichever imbalanced meridians are causing the back pain.

Types of Acupuncture Treatment

Symptom-based acupuncture uses local acupuncture points at the spinal nerve roots and “trigger” points in the back muscles to reduce nerve inflammation and muscle spasms. For example, if a person’s back muscles are in spasm, the needle acts to “short-circuit” the tension-pain cycle between the muscle and associated nerve, thereby relaxing the tense muscle and relieving the pain. This symptomatic type of acupuncture, while effective in the short run, does not usually by itself provide long-term pain relief.

Worsley Five Element Acupuncture is a holistic style of traditional acupuncture that diagnoses and treats the unique root cause of each person’s back pain. No two people with back pain (or any other health issue, for that matter) ever receive the same set of acupuncture points in a course of Five Element acupuncture treatment. Because Worsley Five Element acupuncture targets the specific root cause for each person, the pain relief grows longer-lasting as the course of treatment progresses. And treating the root cause also has overall health benefits, including relaxation, improved energy and mood, and stress relief.

Our Approach

There are many different causes of back pain, and each person who suffers with back pain has their unique story. At the Acupuncture & Holistic Health Center, Dr. Michael Kowalski A.P., Dipl. Ac. (NCCAOM) practices evidence-based acupuncture. His unique style of treatment combines the best of Worsley 5 Element acupuncture with the proven symptom-based acupuncture points to provide his patients with the most holistic and effective results. We spend a minimum of one hour in consultation with each of our new patients, in order to get to the root cause of their back pain. If MRI, X-ray, or other imaging reports are available, we ask our patients to bring those in for us to use in planning their treatment. A typical course of acupuncture to effectively relieve chronic back pain is 10 to 15 treatments. Our friendly staff pre-verifies each new patient’s insurance so you can make an informed decision based on your coverage.

Call the Acupuncture & Holistic Health Center today at (904) 296-9545 to schedule your first appointment, and let us help you on your road to recovery!

By Michael Kowalski, A.P., Dipl.Ac. (NCCAOM)
Jacksonville Acupuncture Physician
@ Acupuncture & Holistic Health Center