Acupuncture for Low Back Pain

Even after tens of centuries of being used by countless numbers of people all over the world, no one still knows how acupuncture really works.

Current medical studies aim to unravel more information about what health issues acupuncture can help treat as well as how this therapy enables the body to heal itself.  These were the two goals of the clinical trials of the Stimulating Points to Investigate Needling Efficacy or SPINE led by scientists from the Group Health Center for Health Studies.

There were three various types of low back pain treatment that SPINE study used. These included three different types of acupuncture technique. One acupuncture therapy used was known as “simulated acupuncture” that stimulated points without breaking the skin. This type of acupuncture actually used toothpicks instead of needles pressed on certain acupuncture points with the tip of a toothpick.

The course f treatment involved treatments of two times a week for three weeks and then once a week for four weeks which amounted to a total of 8 treatments. The subjects periodically returned over the course of a year to be observed of their health status.  The outcomes from all 3 methods of activating the acupuncture points exceeded the results tallied in conventional acupuncture therapies alone. Since it was shown that the non-penetrating acupuncture therapy were as equally effective as the real acupuncture, the researchers wondered what made this result possible.

For their part, acupuncturists aren’t surprised at all of the outcomes. They know that the way of stimulating acupuncture points (regardless if heat, magnets, tapping, finger pressure or needles are used) is usually not as important as the actual stimulation of the points. The three ways of stimulating points also reinforces the notion that the frequent stimulation of the proper meridians (energy pathways) in the body always results in a positive response.

Do the test results mean that stimulating any point will produce the desired outcomes?

Acupuncturists will answer no to this question. Acupuncture treatment for low back pain or any other health issue is always done with the stimulation of the correct points. One example of this would be people who have had positive outcomes to treatments based on treatment of the points in the area of the problem. Low back pain may involve the treatment of points near and in the low back area.

Also other people with low back may find relief when the points away from the problem area are treated. These points may include those in the feet, hands, ankles and wrists.  The best way to know what points work best is by observing the patient’s immediate degree of improvement.  This implies, that when properly performed, acupuncture should bring about a considerable reduction of pain either after a day or two of treatment or immediately.  When the treatment does not lead to an immediate relief of pain, another different approach to using acupuncture should be performed.