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Treating Back Pain with Acupuncture

Chances are you, or someone you love, has been affected by back pain at some point in your lives. This common ailment affects a large percentage of Americans every single day. Our lifestyles choices contribute to our pain, but are prescription drugs the answer? With the continued abuse and addiction associated with commonly prescribed pain medications, Americans are in desperate need of alternatives to manage pain, and more specifically, back pain.

According to CNN, "The opioid epidemic has crippled communities across the United States, spurred a public health crisis, and is responsible for nearly 100 overdose deaths each day." Medical doctors and patients alike are looking for alternatives to treat pain without using these dangerous prescription medications. Acupuncture is an effective alternative and works without the risk of dangerous, and sometimes deadly, side effects.

Here are a few facts about back pain according to the American Chiropractic Association:

Low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease 2010.
Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work. In fact, back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections.
One-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms each year.
Experts estimate that as much as 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some time in their lives.
Most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organic—meaning they are not caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer.
Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain—and that’s just for the more easily identified costs.
How can Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine help treat back pain naturally?

Practitioners of acupuncture and TCM will not only work to address the back pain, but will also seek to identify the underlying cause or "root source" of the pain. Many studies have been conducted to evaluate acupuncture's effectiveness on back pain specifically. In a recent Swedish study, doctors concluded that acupuncture provided long-term pain relief along with improvements in physical activity, improved sleep quality, and diminished use of pain medication. Acupuncture works by moving or balancing Qi (pronounced "chee") in the meridians or pathways that is contributing to the individuals unique pain pattern. There are three main patterns that we see in TCM that generally contribute to back pain:
Stagnation or "stuck" energy
Cold, damp obstruction
Deficiency or weakness
Once a particular pain pattern has been identified, a unique set of acupuncture points will be selected to help restore balance. Fine, sterile needles will be placed along the meridian pathways at specific acupuncture "points" to restore the balanced flow of Qi and reduce pain. Acupuncture has been shown to improve blood flow, reduce inflammation, and relax the body and mind.

Tips to Prevent Back Pain from the American Chiropractic Association:
Maintain a healthy diet, lifestyle, and weight.
Remain active. Keeping your core muscles strong helps support your back and overall health.
Warm up or stretch before exercising or physical activities, yoga and Qi gong are excellent options.
Maintain proper posture while sitting, standing, and lifting. When lifting specifically, lift with your knees, keeping the object close to your body, taking care not to twist.
Manage stress. Stress can contribute to disharmony and pain patterns. Meditation and deep-breathing techniques can help reduce stress.

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Back pain acupuncture cupping