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Low back pain remains as one of the most frequented reasons to visit a doctor. However, the most common problem is “nonspecific” or “idiopathic” low back pain, and it is this disorder that is most often associated with chronic or recurrent symptoms.
Alternate medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine [TCM] treatments such as Acupuncture are helpful in treating such conditions. TCM works on the physiological system which looks at the harmony between the body, mind and spirit. Internal disharmony is believed to be due to a blockage or improper flow of the energy or Qi. Acupuncture needles inserted at specific acu-points are believed to restore the proper flow of Qi.
Acupuncture can be used as a multidisciplinary approach before or together with conventional treatment such as physical therapy, pain medicine etc. Caution should be taken that electro-acupuncture is not performed on patients with implanted electric devices such as pacemakers.
During an acupuncture session for low back pain, and based on patient history and physical examination, specific areas will be identified for needle insertion. Nonetheless, there are common acu-points that may be used to treat low back pain. Supplementary procedures such as tongue checks and or herbal medicines may be used to comprehensively treat the condition.
Typically post insertion of needles, the patient is advised to rest and relax for about 15-30 minutes. Manual stimulation of needles by the practitioner may be done to create a dull, localized “needle grasp” tugging sensation. Further stimulation can be done using moxibustion (burning the herb at the end of the needle) and application of heat.
Although number of sessions of acupuncture varies from case to case, a minimum of around 10 sessions maybe needed, with visits of at least twice a week. Major side effects from acupuncture are rare and it is mostly considered a safe practice. Acupuncture has shown to have an effect on the limbic structure post treatment for low back pain patients.
Acupuncture provides short-term pain relief and functional improvement and is a recommended option for low back pain treatments. Physiotherapy in the form of mild stretching and strengthening programs go a long way in aiding the acupuncture program.
At the end of treatment, the patient’s response, particularly - levels of pain, mood, and general activity level are checked and it is determined whether additional acupuncture treatments should be received or not.
Korean Acupuncture and Herb Clinic’s program
Electro-Acupuncture or Five elements Acupuncture Treatment for pain relief
Self-core muscle strengthening