Acupuncture As A Remedy for Back Pain
If you suffer from back pain you probably would not consider acupuncture as a treatment until you have exhausted a great many other alternatives. However, acupuncture is a form of ancient Chinese medicine that has been around for over 2,500 years and during this time it has been used for back pain relief, increasingly so in these modern times.
While it is not traditionally a part of western medicine, nowadays your doctor is quite likely to refer you for this treatment if you are suffering from back or neck pain either persistantly or due to accident or injury.
If you are going to have this treatment you may want to know a little about how it works. The general perception is that the body has 20 energy flow patterns called meridians or pathways. Through these pathways it is thought that the life force or vital energy flows, this is called the qi (it is pronounced chee) and is considered to be vital to maintain good health. There are more than 2,000 points on the human body that connect with these pathways and it is at these points which the hair-thin needles are inserted, this is done in varying specific combinations depending on the treatment required. These actions are thought to either correct the flow of qi or to enhance it.
Even though it cannot be proven that this works as a type of pain relief, it is thought that as a result the central nervous system is stimulated. Most patients say that they get a pins and needles sensation on the insertion of the needles and indeed into the duration of the procedure, which normally lasts about 15 to 30 minutes. Some people report that they feel energised or even very relaxed so it seems that the effect can be is somewhat different depending on the individual.
The acupuncturist will use up to 20 metallic needles during a treatment session and the depth they are inserted is dependent upon the area, deeper muscular or fatty areas need more penetration and the scalp for instance would be just below the surface. The practitioner may turn the needles one way or another dependant upon what they are trying to accomplish, in my personal experience they were turned on insertion, then again about half way through the treatment. At no point is the treatment painful, there is a mere sensation of the needles going in and they do not feel sharp whatsoever, this is because unlike needles used for injections, an acupuncture needle's tip come to a smooth point without any sharp edges. They are also very thin, about 20 times thinner than a hypodermic needle. In my experience the most troublesome part of the treatment is lying in the same position without moving for up to half an hour, especially if you are suffering from back pain or similar.
Although there are many doctors who believe acupuncture is an effective way to treat certain ailments such as back pain, there is no true consensus. Some adhere to the theories of qi and meridians whilst others attribute acupunctures' benefits to the biological changes that are created in the body as a result of treatment. Needless to say there will always be the sceptics who deny that acupuncture has any effect at all, but in my opinion if you are suffering from ongoing back pain it is undoubtedly worth trying.