Published by: New Indian Express
Inserting thin needles into the various depths of your aching back may be a flinchingly discomforting treatment method, but acupuncture practitioners suggest it’s worth a shot
CHENNAI: With sedentary lifestyles, long working hours and poor sitting postures becoming a common concern for millions of people, back pain has emerged as a typical lifestyle disorder in recent years. Back pain may affect different parts of the spine and may be accompanied by a combination of symptoms, including stiffness, muscle fatigue and even dizziness in some cases.
It also affects people across all age groups and is equally prevalent in developing countries as well as developed societies. Depending on the degree and duration, the back pain can be categorised as minor, acute or chronic. In many cases, back pain has its origins in spinal injuries or disorders such as spine degeneration, herniated disc, osteoporosis or arthritis.
However, many back pain cases today are associated with postural problems and an unhealthy lifestyle. For example, lumbar muscle strains and sprains, a significant cause of back pain and lower back pain, are linked to lifestyle, obesity and daily routine of individuals, including long working hours, occupational posture and sedentary lifestyle. In some cases, depression is also associated with back pain. If not addressed timely, back pain may turn into a chronic disease. Back pain could be a serious problem as it restricts mobility for many.
Lower back pain is believed to be among the leading causes of restriction of activity and work absence, which translates into a significant economic burden as well. In modern medicine, treatment of back pain involves the prescription of analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, physiotherapy and surgical intervention depending upon the cause of the pain. Acupuncture, a treatment modality based on ancient Chinese wisdom, has been to show have beneficial effects on patients with chronic back pain. However, it remains an underutilised treatment modality for patients with back pain, largely due to lack of awareness.
Acupuncture, the traditional healing practice, finds its origin in ancient Chinese medicine with a history of over 2,500 years. In this traditional method of treatment, thin needles are placed in specific points of the body. Most of these points are commonly referred as pain points. According to the traditional Chinese medicine system, our body has more than 2,000 pressure points that are connected through pathways. This ensures the flow of energy in the entire human body.
Stimulation of these points, by piercing with needles, balances the flow of energy, thus addressing health disorders from their root. Being a drugless and minimally- invasive procedure, acupuncture has, over the years, proven to be a safe and effective treatment for back pain. The American Pain Society and American College of Physicians has recommended acupuncture as an alternative therapy for the treatment of chronic back pain.
With conventional medicine leading to excessive dependence on drugs or having a limited benefit in treating back pain for a large number of people, acupuncture has gained popularity in recent times. However, it is important to remember that patients must always take the service of a trained and certified acupuncturist to ensure the correct process as well as hygiene and use of sterile needles.
Acupuncture practice stimulates the central nervous system to offer relief from back pain. The acupuncture process triggers the release of chemicals and natural opioids such as neurotransmitters and endorphins by stimulating sensory receptors in the brain. This activates the body’s natural pain relief and healing mechanism.
There are different pressure points for back pain like- head, neck, shoulders, upper back etc. The pressure points for lower back pain could be the back of knees, lower back, feet and hip. In certain cases, patients may experience mild problems like soreness, minor bleeding, bruises in the areas where the needles were inserted. However, they are highly manageable under expert supervision.
Patients with a bleeding disorder or pregnant women are advised to should consult their doctors before seeking acupuncture treatment. After the acupuncture process generally, the patients respond and feel relaxed within few weeks or few initial sessions. But if you dont feel energized or the symptoms dont improve in initial sessions, then you should look for other treatments.
The writer is a senior naturopath, Jindal Naturecure
According to the traditional Chinese medicine system, our body has more than 2,000 pressure points that are connected through pathways.
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