How does acupuncture work in treating lower back pain?
In Part 1 of this series I mentioned that the most frequently asked question at The Acupuncture Wellness Center is how does acupuncture work? I further mentioned that the answer depends on what you are treating and that acupuncture needles do one of the following:
1. Acupuncture Needles affect the muscles and tissue that need treating directly
2. Acupuncture needles promote or inhibit specific functions of the central nervous system.
In the case of lower back pain some needles will be inserted directly on the lower back exactly where the pain is. This will help relax any hypertonic muscles via the trigger point release mechanism as discussed in Part 1.
In addition, these same needle will increase blood circulation that will help reduce inflammation and relax the muscles of the lower back via the mechanism of a histamine reaction also discussed in part 1. This process can be further enhanced by adding vibrations via a mild and painless electrical stimulation called Percutaneously Electronic Nerve Stimulation or PENS.
Since lower back pain tends to return with stress and anxiety, other needles will be placed strategically to relax the central nervous system taking it out of the stress mode and putting it into the mode of optimal homeostasis. This allows the muscles to stay relaxed long term by breaking the pain cycle and re-educating the muscle fibers to stay relaxed.
Combined with proper posture, therapeutic exercises, stress management and dietary suggestions, acupuncture can offer a lasting natural, drug and surgery free cure for lower back pain.