Acupuncture: Natural Back Pain Treatment

Acupuncture: Natural Back Pain Treatment

Lower back pain affects just about everybody at some point in their life. Maybe you spent the weekend doing yard work and now it’s difficult to tie your shoes. Or perhaps you have chronic issues that have been following you for a while. Whatever the case, lower back pain can be a great hindrance in not only performing daily tasks, but being able to enjoy yourself.

There’s a growing backlash against pain medication. There has been an unfortunate tendency for doctors to overprescribe these medications, which can lead to addiction and other negative consequences.

So what is a person to do if they want to find relief from pain while also avoiding costly and dangerous medications? They start looking for a natural means of alleviating this pain.

Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years as a back pain treatment. However, there are still people that dismiss the practice as ineffective without actually looking into the research or trying it themselves.

The Research

The largest scientific study involving acupuncture’s efficacy in back pain treatment was performed in 2007. It used data from 1,162 patients with ages ranging from 18 to 86 years old. These patients all suffered from chronic lower back pain. The average length of their back pain was eight years.

The patients were split into three groups. The first received acupuncture in an attempt to treat their lower back pain. The second received what they called “sham acupuncture,” which is the insertion of needles but without strategic placement. The third group received conventional treatments for the back pain which included medication, physical therapy, and exercise.

The results were collected after six months of treatment. They were recorded using interviews with the patients in order to determine their pain levels. Both the Von Korff Chronic Pain Grade Scale questionnaire and the back-specific Hanover Functional Ability Questionnaire were used to compile the data

The results of the study were pretty surprising to anybody that didn’t have previous knowledge of acupuncture. 

47.6% improvement in pain was reported by the patients that received acupuncture. This is quite an achievement when compared to the 27.4% improvement for those who received conventional therapies.

The “sham acupuncture” group, however, reported a 44.2% improvement in pain which has caused some to muddy the waters of success for acupuncture. There are a variety of theories as to why this would happen, including the placebo effect as well as the difficulty in truly creating a neutral version of acupuncture.

But when you compare this singular study against the 2,500 year history of using acupuncture as a back pain treatment, it’s easy to see there’s more to the practice than a simple placebo effect.

Visit Affinity Acupuncture for back pain treatment in the Nashville, TN area today!

How It Works

Traditional Chinese medicine bases acupuncture around the idea of energy within your body. This energy needs to be balanced. 

Acupuncture is performed through the strategic insertion of needles into specific points in the body. These points are connected through a series of pathways — called meridians — which creates the open flow of energy. 

The insertion of these needles helps to stimulate these points. This stimulation opens the pathways and creates the balanced flow of energy along the body’s meridians.

This improved flow of energy helps the body to fight off sickness and pain.

Scientific studies are difficult to perform on the practice so those in the medical community aren’t able to definitively state why acupuncture works. However, many doctors recommend their patients use acupuncture to treat their pain. So even if they can’t specifically state why acupuncture works, it is widely touted for its ability to treat back pain.

Those in the medical community do have their theories, though. Some think acupuncture needles stimulate the central nervous system which releases chemicals to the brain, blood, and muscles. Others think it increases the speed of electromagnetic signals in the body which increases the flow of endorphins.

But despite their varying theories as to why it works, it’s widely accepted that acupuncture is a legitimate method for back pain treatment. 

Seeking Back Pain Treatment in Nashville

Those seeking back pain treatment in the Nashville area can visit Affinity Acupuncture for natural pain relief. We aim to help the Nashville and surrounding communities by offering individualized care through traditional Chinese methods that have been used for thousands of years. We offer acupuncture for back pain treatment as well as many other conditions. In fact, the World Health Organization recommends acupuncture as treatment for neck pain, depression, headaches, sciatica, and more.

Contact Affinity acupuncture to learn more about their back pain treatment options in Nashville, TN today!

Acupuncture Soothes Cervical Spinal Nerves, Reduces Pain

Acupuncture Soothes Cervical Spinal Nerves, Reduces Pain

Researchers find acupuncture effective for the relief of cervical spinal syndrome. This condition involves irritation of the spinal nerves located in the neck. Spinal nerves transmit sensory, motor, and autonomic nervous system signals between the spinal cord and the body. Inflammation and impingement present in cervical spinal syndrome results in head, neck, chest, shoulder, or arm pain and dysfunction. The results of the research demonstrates that acupuncture plus moxibustion yields a high total recovery rate. In addition, nearly every patient receiving acupuncture plus moxibustion demonstrated significant improvements.

Researchers from the Hubei Hongan Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital examined 200 cervical syndrome patients in a controlled investigation. The research team discovered that targeted acupuncture treatments produce an extremely high total effective rate and a high complete recovery rate. Targeting involved the application of a primary acupuncture point prescription for all patients plus an additional set of secondary acupuncture points based upon diagnostic variations in clinical presentations. Using this semi-protocolized targeted approach to patient care, the research team achieved a 97% total effective rate across all tiers of improvement. The breakdown into levels of efficaciousness produced surprising results. The total recovery rate was 64%, the significant improvement rate was 17%, the minimal improvement rate was 16%, and 3% had no improvement.

Dr. Ruth Jackson, MD, notes, “The nerve roots leave the spinal cord at an angle which approximates a right angle, and they fill fairly snugly the foramina through which they pass. This makes them very vulnerable to irritation from any mechanical derangement of the cervical spine.” Cervical syndrome is often triggered by a small event, such as leaning over a sink while brushing teeth or turning the head. However, the initial cause may have been prior, including whiplash injuries, mechanical deformities, or other chronic irritations. The tight spacing of the intervertebral foramina (IVF) through which the nerves pass is easily encroached by both chronic and acute conditions that produce inflammation and morphological changes.

A primary set of acupoints was administered to all patients in this acupuncture continuing education study. A total of 3 – 4 acupoints from the primary set were applied during each acupuncture session. Each acupoint, including customized secondary acupoints, were needled with standard manual acupuncture protocols for insertion and manipulation. Total needle retention time during each acupuncture session was 20 minutes. One acupuncture session was applied daily for a total of 10 days, followed by a two day break and then another 10 days of acupuncture therapy. For moxibustion, a moxa cigar was used to warm the cervical Jiaji acupoints for 30 minutes per day. One 30 minute moxibustion treatment was conducted daily for 10 consecutive days. The next treatment cycle of an additional 10 days of moxibustion care commenced after a 2 day break from treatment. The primary acupoints were selected from the following selection:

Fengchi (GB20)
Dazhui (GV14)
Jianjing (GB21)
Tianzong (SI11)
Lieque (LU7)
Zhongzhu (TB3)
Houxi (SI3)
Ashi (located beside spinous processes)
Secondary acupoints were selected based on the type of cervical syndrome presentation for each patient. For nerve root compression cervical syndrome affecting the shoulders and arms, the following points were applied:

Jianyu (LI15)
Tianzong (SI11)
Binao (LI14)
Yanglao (SI6)
For vertebral artery related cervical syndrome, the following acupoints were applied:

Taiyang (MHN9)
Touwei (ST8)
Baihui (GV20)
Sishencong (MHN1)
Neiguan (PC6)
Sanyinjiao (SP6)
Taichong (LV3)
Zusanli (ST36)
For sympathicus cervical syndrome involving excess stimulation of the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system, the following acupoints were applied:

Taiyang (MHN9)
Jingming (BL1)
Qiuhou (MHN8)
Yifeng (TB17)
Neiguan (PC6)
Zusanli (ST36)
Sanyinjiao (SP6)
Jiaoxin (KD8)
Yinjiao (CV7)
Patients were evaluated before and after the treatment course of care. The treatment efficacy for each patient was categorized into 1 of 4 tiers:

Recovery: Complete recovery of neck function. Complete absence of clinical symptoms.
Significantly effective: Alleviation of localized pain. Clinical symptoms largely absent.
Effective: Localized pain present. Basic physiological function achieved. Main clinical symptoms absent.
Not effective: No improvement.
The total treatment effective rate was derived as the percentage of patients who achieved at least an effective tier. The data shows that acupuncture combined with moxibustion benefits nearly every cervical syndrome patient to some degree, with a 97% total effective rate across all tiers of improvement. The 64% complete recovery rate is equally important.

The researchers gave a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) background to the treatment of cervical syndrome, often manifesting as cervical spondylosis. According to TCM, cervical syndrome is common starting in middle-aged individuals and older. Often, cervical nerve impingement is due to osteoarthritis and cervical disc protrusions or extrusions. Radiculitis is common in all cases. According to TCM principles, left untreated, cervical syndrome is a degenerative disorder. Calcification of related ligaments due to chronic strain and inflammation may lead to oppression of the cervical vertebrae, nerve roots, and blood vessels. There may also be pressure onto the spinal cord in more serious cases. These conditions lead to cervical dysfunction and pain.

In TCM, cervical syndrome is often categorized in the class of Bi Zheng. External pernicious influences giving rise to cervical syndrome include external injury, exhaustion, wind, cold, and dampness. Zang-Fu and deficiency related conditions include deficiency of the liver and kidneys or tendon and bone malnutrition. The aforementioned conditions result in poor qi and blood circulation in the Taiyang meridians and imbalances of the Ying and Wei. Symptoms such as severe neck pain, shoulder pain, numbness, headache, dizziness, and nausea ensue as a result of the condition. The results of the research demonstrates that acupuncture combined with moxibustion is effective for the relief of cervical syndrome.

Contact Affinity Acupuncture today for Nashville Acupuncture treatments and appointments!

Li HX & Zhao L. (2013). Efficacy observation on treating 200 cases of cervical syndrome with acupuncture and moxibustion. Clinical Journal of Chinese Medicine. 5(3).

Jackson, Ruth. “The Classic: The Cervical Syndrome.” Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. 468, no. 7 (2010): 1739-1745.

Acupuncture for Chronic Pain

Acupuncture for Chronic Pain

Chronic pain in the muscles and joints can make life miserable. Standard treatments like ice and heat, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and appropriate exercises can often ease the pain. But when they don’t, acupuncture is an option with a good track record that’s worth considering.

Over the years there has been substantial debate about whether acupuncture really works for chronic pain. Research from an international team of experts adds to the evidence that it does provide real relief from common forms of pain. The team pooled the results of 29 studies involving nearly 18,000 participants. Some had acupuncture, some had “sham” acupuncture, and some didn’t have acupuncture at all. Overall, acupuncture relieved pain by about 50%. The results were published in Archives of Internal Medicine.

The study isn’t the last word on the issue, but it is one of the best quality studies to date and has made an impression.

“I think the benefit of acupuncture is clear, and the complications and potential adverse effects of acupuncture are low compared with medication,” says Dr. Lucy Chen, a board-certified anesthesiologist, specialist in pain medicine, and practicing acupuncturist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

cupuncture works by stimulating specific points on the body, often with needles, to promote natural healing and improve function. It is believed to influence the nervous system, immune system, and various bodily functions, helping to alleviate pain and inflammation. This ancient practice is now widely accepted as a complementary therapy for chronic pain management, particularly when conventional treatments fall short.

Moreover, acupuncture’s role in pain management is supported by its low risk of side effects compared to long-term medication use. As more high-quality studies are conducted, the integration of acupuncture into mainstream medical practices continues to grow, providing patients with more holistic options for managing chronic pain.

A Reason to Celebrate

A Reason to Celebrate

Thank you Nashville, for 4 great years.  When we opened in January of 2012, believed in the power of acupuncture, and hoped the community would, as well.

Each time someone calls us with the news that they’re pregnant after struggling with fertility; each time someone stands up straight for the first time after a treatment, when they struggled to get out of the waiting room chair; each time someone takes years off their face after completing the Mei Zen Cosmetic Acupuncture system – we share that victory with you.  The added bonus is the positive side effects of acupuncture – when you tell us that not only is your digestion improved, but your sleeping better at night, too.

Thank you for trusting us in your wellness journey, and for sharing your positive results with friends, family, and on-line reviews. We look forward to many more years and victories to come.

As we reflect on these past four years, we are filled with gratitude for the Nashville community’s support and trust. Your stories of healing and improvement inspire us every day. We have seen firsthand how acupuncture can change lives, from reducing chronic pain and improving overall well-being to providing relief from stress and anxiety. The success stories we hear affirm the efficacy of acupuncture and motivate us to continue providing the best care possible.

Our mission has always been to help our patients achieve optimal health through holistic practices, and your feedback and encouragement have been invaluable in this journey. We are committed to staying updated with the latest techniques and research in acupuncture to offer you the most effective treatments.

We invite you to continue this journey with us. Whether you are new to acupuncture or a long-time patient, we are here to support your health and wellness goals. Let’s make the next years even more successful and healthy together. Thank you, Nashville, for believing in us and the power of acupuncture.