by Rachel Volp August 17, 2017

 Low Back Pain 

Low back pain or non-specific back pain is a World Health Organisation (WHO) health priority with estimates of over 70% of adults in developed countries known to suffer with this debilitating health concern at least once during their lifetime (3). Evidence is beginning to outline back pain as one of the single largest contributors to daily debilitating pain and disabilities worldwide (1). 

Due to the high prevalence of this condition, we thought it would be a relevant topic to discuss. So if you have this pain type or know someone who does, some light can be shed on different pain management strategies.

Not only is back pain debilitating physically, it can also place a burden on the over all quality of life in the following ways:

  •  Emotionally: such as frustration, irritability or depression that may be associated with pain (after all, everyone feels and experiences pain differently).
  • Financial pressure: from in the inability to be fit for work commitments that endure physical activity. Or the ongoing costs involved with pain relief or visits to health professionals. 
  • Decreased Sleep Quality:pain may interfere with a good nights sleep. If this is left untreated pain may contribute to body clock irregularities, fatigue, mental exhaustion or hormonal imbalances (e.g. melatonin deficiencies). 

The Studies 

Recent evidence findings conclude that Acupuncture benefits chronic low back pain and is well tolerated as a treatment method to enhance patient quality of life (4). A systematic review consisting of 32 randomized controlled trials, outline that acupuncture for the treatment of chronic non-specific low back pain was superior in comparison to sham acupuncture in pain reduction and improved function immediately after treatment (2, 4). 

Although studies suggest acupuncture's positive effect for pain management, you should ensure investigations have been conducted thoroughly to rule out any structural misalignments or other complications that could be associated with your lower back pain. Our Acupuncturists can help you with this, and also guide you with appropriate referrals or recommendations to other health professionals to ensure the correct investigations and care has been taken to help your recovery process. 

 Strategies that might help assist low back pain

Lifestyle adjustments:

If your lifestyle consists of being sedentary or stuck at an office job for majority of your day, the inclusion of a short walk on your lunch break or each morning will help increase muscular and joint mobility. This will also lead to increased circulation in turn helping enhance blood flow. In combination with increased blood flow, exercise is known to release “feelings of happiness” due to the wonderful release of hormones like endorphins! Endorphins can help the body block pain signals from registering with your brain, potentially allowing you to better cope with pain (5, 6).

Acupuncture treatments:

Acupuncture treatments may help assist in the release of endorphins, just like exercise! Other benefits may assist in inflammation reduction, reduced muscle stiffness, dispersal of swelling and bruising and increased joint mobility through increased microcirculation, nerve stimulation, increased blood flow and enhanced relaxation (5, 6).

Rehabilitation:

Pain or injury rehabilitation has a goal to restore the patient or athlete back to optimal functioning. Whether a competitive athlete or a mother or father, the goal of rehabilitation is to restore function and range of movement to withstand daily lifestyle activities or the demands of a chosen sport.

Our Acupuncturists can help provide ongoing pain management treatments in conjunction with your physio, exercise physiologist or personal trainer, Pilates Instructor, osteopath or chiropractor to ensure your health care is in good hands and you are on a path to full recovery with progressive pain relief results.

If you would like to find out more information on low back pain or about our acupuncture treatments, please contact us on:

(07) 5515 0409. 

Bookings are available online 

Schedule your appointment

 

References

  1. Hoy D, March L, Brooks P, Blyth F, Woolf A, Bain C, et al. The global burden of low back pain: estimates from the Global Burden of Disease 2010 study. Ann Rheum Dis. 2014 Jun;73(6):968-74.
  2. Lam M, Galvin R, Curry P. Effectiveness of acupuncture for nonspecific chronic low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2013 Nov 15;38(24):2124-38.
  3. Liu L, Skinner M, McDonough S, Mabire L, Baxter GD. Acupuncture for low back pain: An overview of Systematic Reviews. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2015 Vol. 2015, pp. 1 – 18.
  4. McDonald J, Janz S. The Acupuncture Evidence Project: A Comparative Literature Review (Revised Edition). Brisbane: Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd; 2017.
  5. Pomeranz B. Scientific basis of acupuncture. In: Stux G, Pmeeranz B, eds. Acupuncture Textbook and Atlas. Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag; 1987: 1-18.
  6. Zhao ZQ. Neural mechanism underlying acupuncture analgesia. Prog Neurobiol. 2008 Aug;85(4):355-75.
To learn more about the current evidence supporting the efficacy of Acupuncture on chronic low back pain or acute low back pain please visit http://www.acupuncture.org.au where the recent Acupuncture Evidence Project can be found: A Comparative Literature Review.
 

 

 

Rachel Volp
Rachel Volp