Acupuncture for Low Back Pain, Melbourne North East
What is LOW BACK PAIN?
- Often low back pain is not the result of a serious injury or disease
• There are a lot of things that you can do to manage or eliminate your pain
• Learning about the cause and any exacerbating lifestyle factors can really make a difference to your pain. Most cases of back pain are exacerbated by lifestyle factors including:
- lack of exercise – being overweight or obese – sitting for long periods – poor posture – stress
Often low back pain comes from the muscles, ligaments and joints.
Common causes of back pain include
- muscle and ligament strains
- stress – pain and stiffness from increased muscle tension
- sciatica – pain from the nerve that runs from the lower back into the leg when aggravated by a bulging intervertebral disc or a tight piriformis (buttock) muscle
- arthritis – osteoarthritis and ankylosing spondylitis
- structural problems – lifelong bad posture and scoliosis
What is Pain?
The International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) defines pain as being an unpleasant emotional and sensory and experience that is associated with actual or potential tissue damage. Pain is influenced by attitudes, beliefs, personality and social factors, and can affect your emotional and mental wellbeing, it is not just a physical sensation. Two people may have a similar pain condition but the way that they experience living with pain can be very different. Pain can be very individual.
Acute pain lasts for a short time and occurs following surgery or trauma or other condition. It is a warning to the body to seek help. Most of the time it will improve as the body heals, but sometimes not.
Chronic pain lasts beyond the time expected for healing following surgery, trauma or other condition, and can also exist without any clear reason. Although chronic pain can be a symptom of other diseases and there are changes within the central nervous system.
Here are 2 great videos that show very simply…
- How to “Understand Pain and what to do about it in 5 minutes”
- And describe “Why thing hurt”
What are the symptoms of LOW BACK PAIN?
Pain, tightness, ache, burning, throbbing, heavy, dull. These are all words that I hear regularly when patients describe their low back discomfort. It could be a very specific area of pain, or pain that you find hard to pinpoint where it is originating from. You may even feel pain in your low back, sacrum or buttock that is being referred from other areas of your body (like your abdominal muscles).
Does having low back pain make you feel and behave older than your years?
Can you no longer do the gardening or play with your grandchildren?
Do you want to return to running or your previous exercise routine but are just too sore to do so?
How is LOW BACK PAIN commonly diagnosed and treated with Modern Medicine?
Many people have been to a GP or specialist prior to coming in for acupuncture. These professionals may have done some muscle testing where you bend and stretch your back, legs and hips. Taken blood tests or you may have had an x-ray, CT scan or MRI to investigate whether there are any structural abnormalities where you have pain. You may have been prescribed medication to help control your pain, which may or may not be working for you.
I frequently see people in the clinic with acute and chronic low back pain. Muscle testing and other specific range of motion tests are done to assess the lower back. Referrals are often made to a GP or specialist if necessary and warranted.
How many people does LOW BACK PAIN affect in Australia?
Back pain is very common in Australia. At least 1 in 6 people experience back pain every year.
If you have not experienced it yourself you probably know someone that has.
Could Acupuncture be one of the answers?
There is current strong evidence supporting the effectiveness of acupuncture
- Chronic low back pain
There is current moderate evidence supporting the effectiveness of acupuncture
- Acute low back pain
How does Chinese Medicine view Pain?
When you come for an acupuncture treatment Kim will feel your pulse and have a look at your tongue (this can tell us a lot about your health), there will also be a lot of discussion about your current signs and symptoms and those you have had in the past.
Chinese Medicine theory looks at the body as a whole, encompassing ones mental, physical and psychological health always in a treatment. So a patient seeking acupuncture for a pain condition will be asked about many other aspects of their health, this includes sleep patterns, energy levels, eating habits and your digestion. A picture or pattern is formulated by your acupuncturist and then acupuncture is used to rebalance your body and renew your health.
The majority of the time Kim will use acupuncture in an area of your body away from your painful condition. The beauty of this is that you can move the affected area during the treatment, to obtain an increase in range of motion and move with more ease.
Renew Acupuncture Clinic encourages you to remain in contact with your primary care treating physician and other therapists.
What is the current research status on Acupuncture and Pain?
Chinese medical acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to treat a variety of conditions, however not all of these conditions have a high standard of evidence of efficacy. Australian national law requires claims of efficacy of treatment to be made with reference to evidence of a high standard. For this reason I have quoted and provided recent studies that have evidence of efficacy for using acupuncture for back pain.
You are welcome to view the Acupuncture Evidence Project for in-depth details about the research efficacy.
Non-invasive and alternative management of chronic low back pain (efficacy and outcomes).
This literature review found high quality evidence for acupuncture; moderate quality evidence for acupressure. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25395114
Non-invasive Treatments for Low Back Pain
156 articles were reviewed and found moderate quality evidence for using acupuncture for low back pain and improved function and low quality evidence for acute low back pain. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26985522
Acupuncture for low back pain: an overview of systematic reviews
This overview showed that acupuncture, either used in isolation or as an adjunct to conventional therapy, provides short-term improvements in pain and function for chronic low back pain. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25821485
Acupuncture for acute low back pain: a systematic review
The current evidence is encouraging in that acupuncture may be more effective than medication for symptom improvement or relieve pain better than sham acupuncture in acute low back pain. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23269281
Effectiveness of acupuncture for nonspecific chronic low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Acupuncture may be effective for pain and functional limitation in chronic non-specific low back pain. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24026151
Evidence-Based Evaluation of Complementary Health Approaches for Pain Management in the United States
Acupuncture was found to be superior to usual care for the management of back pain. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27594189
What is involved in an Acupuncture session?
In an initial consultation there is a lot of discussion so that you as an individual can be assessed, questions are always encouraged. Tiny acupuncture needles (thinner than a hair follicle) are inserted into specific acupuncture points and then you are encouraged to rest. Many patients fall asleep or into a deep state of relaxation.
A follow up sessions involves a quick assessment and discussion prior to the treatment and then you are left to relax and rest. Many patients enjoy the ease of attending the community acupuncture sessions where they can have a 30 minute appointment for $40 as part of their treatment plan. Helping you RENEW your health sooner.
What other modalities may be included in my session?
Your session may include depending on the diagnosis remedial or Chinese massage, bowen therapy, cupping, gua sha or moxibustion (click on these titles on the top of the web page to learn more).
Often specific stretches are prescribed for you to do daily in between treatments to keep certain muscles and ligaments loose and relaxed. This can reduce compensatory postures and make a lasting difference to your conditions of pain. Your posture, exercise regime, relaxation habits and sleep routine are also often discussed.
Can I claim insurance for an Acupuncture session?
Yes most major health fund rebates are claimable on the spot after your treatment.
Is there anything I should do before or after my acupuncture session?
Ensuring that you don’t come to the appointment with an empty stomach is great. And refraining from coffee and alcohol after the treatment is also advised. Drinking lots of water is a recommendation after any session.
Sometimes Kim will give you specific acupressure points on the body to perform acupressure on in the days between treatments to keep the effects of the treatment potent.
What is the easiest way to book my acupuncture session?
Click the book online button and it will take you to the online booking system where you can easily book a time. Please call the clinic on 03 9077 7307 if you have any questions regarding the treatment, you condition or to see if acupuncture could be right for you.
Book your acupuncture appointment and RENEW your health today.
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Back pain and problems, 2017. http://www.aihw.gov.au/back-problems