Dr. Marr's Newsletters
What is Acupuncture, What Does it Treat, and How Effective is it?
Using Acupuncture for Lower Back Pain and Neck Pain Relief
"There are more than 80 different acupuncture styles in China, as well as Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, European, and American styles. The common feature shared by all the different types of acupuncture is using needles to treat the soft tissue (acupuncture). The effects of needling activate the built-in survival mechanisms that normalize homeostasis and promote self-healing.
The acupuncture can be defined as a physiological therapy coordinated by the brain which responds to the stimulation of manual or electrical needling of peripheral sensory nerves.
As early as 1890 acupuncture was recommended for lower back pain by the famous Canadian doctor sir William Osler in his classic textbook The Principle and Practice of Medicine. Today in Western societies acupuncture is largely used in pain management, and this analgesic function is still the most studied aspect of acupuncture.
The needling treatment is performed directly in the painful tissues and locally activates neuron-endocrine, immune, and cardiovascular reactions around the needling sites in the painful tissues. These local "needle reactions" directly desensitize the painful nerves and repair the damaged soft tissues. The Chinese have an old saying that nine out of ten diseases produce pain, and according to statistics, 85% of the pain in our daily lives is soft tissue pain. This is why acupuncture is seen primary as a modality for pain management in Western societies.
The unique advantages of using acupuncture in treating lower back pain and neck pain include:
- Acupuncture treats the whole body, concentrating on the cause of the problem and not only on the area where the problem is manifested. So pain in the lower back and neck areas as well as referred pain in the upper and lower limbs can be treated simultaneously.
- By promoting general well-being, acupuncture accelerates and enhances the self healing potential of the body. Improved healing potential directly reduces local inflammation, the main process that causes pain.
- Acupuncture needling precisely targets and dissolves tension in acupoints, relaxes muscle spasms, eases physiologic stress by balancing the activity of nervous systems, promotes local blood circulation, and reduces swelling and inflammation in strained or sprained muscles.
- Musculoskeletal disorders are the most common cause of pain and disability in the lower back areas. Most musculoskeletal pain symptoms respond very well to acupuncture therapy. Acupuncture needling can effectively reduce inflammation in the neck and back muscles, facet joints, and ligaments."
In our next newsletter we will continue on most successful areas for acupuncture treatment.
Source: Yun-Tao Ma, Mila Ma, Zang Hee Cho. Biomedical Acupuncture for Pain Management. St.Louis: Elsevier, 2005.