A study conducted at Sheffield University in the United Kingdom looked at the long-term symptom reduction and economic benefits of acupuncture for persistent low back pain. An average of 8 acupuncture treatments were given to 159 people, while 80 people received usual care instead.
After one year, people receiving acupuncture had reduced pain and reported a significant reduction in worry about their pain compared to the usual care group. After two years, the acupuncture group was significantly more likely to report that the past year had been pain-free. They were less likely to use medication for pain relief.
How does acupuncture work? According to traditional Chinese medicine, pain results from blockages along energetic pathways of the body known as meridians. Acupuncture opens these pathways, increases circulation and thus relieves the pain.
A scientific explanation is that acupuncture releases natural pain-relieving opioids, sends signals that calm the sympathetic nervous system, and releases neurochemicals and hormones.
Acupuncture is tax-deductible (it’s considered a medical expense) and is covered by some insurance plans. Feel free to call our office and we can check on your specific coverage.
A normal course of treatment consists of one to three times a week for several weeks initially. Then routine maintenance is recommended to ensure the pain does not return.