Dry Needling – A Quick and Easy Acupuncture Method for Back Pain

A lot of acupuncturists are being asked by people whether acupuncture is truly an affective method of treating their back injury and lower back pain. Folks who know nothing of acupuncture usually wonder how a procedure that involves sticking needles into the body can actually help stop pain and not increase it. The fact is acupuncture has been used for thousands of years as an effective and very safe way of relieving chronic and acute pain and almost all types of pain. It is especially helpful in the management and resolution of back pain, back spasms and back aches caused by a lower back injury.

What is Acupuncture?

A vital component of traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture is considered as a treatment that involves a process of needling certain parts of the body. Besides acupuncture, herbal medicine and Yin/Yang breathing techniques are other forms of traditional Chinese Medicine used to treat a variety of symptoms.

It’s been about 5,000 years since acupuncture has been introduced into the world by the Chinese. They have used this modality for many things including pain relief long before steel was discovered. So during those times, acupuncturists use thin bamboo shoots as acupuncture needles to treat conditions. The needling techniques used by these practitioners implied that they already were aware of the acupuncture points located on the body and knew that the needles can bring about stimulation in the body to help it heal itself.

Acupuncture points are sometimes called meridian points since traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners were aware that underneath these points lay energy channels known as meridians that carry energizing and reinvigorating life energy called qi (or chi) throughout the body. Each meridian point corresponds to different organ systems in the body. These include the Heart, Large Intestine, Liver, etc. The meridians underneath these points radiate all throughout the body. When they are stimulated with a needle, it helps alleviate pain. All types of pain including chronic or acute back spasms, buttock pain, and back aches to name just a few can be relieved by acupuncture. Sometimes, the needles are inserted into a body part far from the area where the pain is actually felt.

For back injury and lower back pain traditional acupuncture is proven to be an effective way in relieving these conditions. Lower back pain acupuncture can help alleviate chronic pain and back spasm as well as aid in lessening the longstanding modifications in the brain’s pain processing.

During the last several years, acupuncture has become a wider-known and widely accepted form of treatment used for the relief of head pain (headaches, migraines), pregnancy discomforts and back pain. With more research into the actual needling process, a westernized form of Acupuncture, known as Dry Needling is used to instantaneously alleviate buttock pains, back aches, and back muscle spasms resulting from a back injury.

Muscle Spasm – When back is injured, the back muscles may spasm in order to protect the area of injury. This results in people suffering from, the spasms as well as the injury. Usually after a back injury the muscles surrounding the pelvis will cause pain in the buttock that is often combined with lower back pain and back aches. When the injured part of the back is x-rayed, the lower back pain will neither register in the x-ray photos nor show up on an MRI scan.

An increase in the muscle spasm can lead to the development of trigger points in the muscles. Trigger points often are the main reasons for back aches, back spasms, buttock pain and back pain. To help remove the trigger points that in turn will lead to the relief of the back spasms, back aches and lower back pain, the dry needling technique can be performed.

So both the trigger points and muscle spasm can lead to a number of painful conditions in the back following a back injury. Usually, these two factors resolve by itself and this is one reason why the x-ray or MRI of people suffering from a back injury will not show anything which causes the doctor to believe that these two issues (spasm and trigger points) are not the reasons for the back pain.

The Dry Needling process entails a fast and rapid needling of the affected site in an efficient and safe way. The difference between Dry Needling and Acupuncture is that the former is only performed for about five to ten seconds while the latter typically takes about fifteen to twenty minutes to finish. Many acupuncturists find the Dry Needling technique extremely effective in treating spine pain, buttock pains, back spasms, lower back pain and back aches. The moment the trigger points are removed (as they are one of the main causes of back pain), the lower back pain almost instantaneously goes away.

Scott Paglia is a licensed and board certified acupuncturist in Bellingham, WA and provides master level pulse diagnosis, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture in Whatcom County, WA.