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Sharp Health News

Acupuncture for back pain

March 12, 2019

Acupuncture for back pain

Robert Mihalik, NP, DACM, a licensed acupuncture therapist at the Sewall Healthy Living Center, provides acupuncture to ease back pain.

If you experience lower back pain, you are not alone. Eighty percent of adults experience low back pain at some point during their lifetime. The good news is that acupuncture can be an effective treatment.

In 2017, the American Academy of Family Physicians recommended acupuncture as a first-line therapy for chronic back pain. The process involves inserting fine needles along energetic channels called meridians, that follow along and affect the areas in the back that are causing pain. The acupuncture points may be found on the feet, legs and arms, in addition to the back.

When an acupuncturist stimulates these points, the release of endorphins activates the body’s own opiate receptors, causing an analgesic effect. In other words, acupuncture helps to relieve pain.

How often should you receive acupuncture for back pain?
Acupuncture treatment can be scheduled twice weekly for several weeks, and then once a week as the back pain improves. The benefits of treatment build over the first 24 to 48 hours, with therapeutic benefits lasting about a week.

Patients may feel relief after the first acupuncture session and resolve completely after several treatments, depending on the severity of the back pain and how long it has been present.

How long does it take to treat back pain with acupuncture?
Chronic conditions may require 10 or 12 treatments and possibly recur at a reduced level of pain. If increasing pain returns in the future, regular acupuncture can be helpful.

Acupuncture and traditional Asian medicine have been used for thousands of years and have been very effective in treating pain and other health conditions. Given the concerns about strong and potentially habit-forming medications being used to mask pain, acupuncture stands out as a safe and nonaddicting alternative.

Robert Mihalik, NP, DACM, is a licensed acupuncture therapist at the Sewall Healthy Living Center at Sharp Coronado Hospital.

To learn more about acupuncture at the Sewall Healthy Living Center at Sharp Coronado, or to make an appointment, call 619-522-3798 or schedule an appointment online.

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