What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a widely accepted form of alternative therapy that originates from ancient China. Fine needles are inserted into the patient’s skin at certain pressure points on the body to help ease the symptoms of many different illnesses and conditions.
Acupuncturists have spent centuries refining the principles of this branch of Chinese medicine. The practice is based on the traditional Far Eastern belief that the ‘life force’, or ‘Qi’, of a being that flows through the body in meridians, or channels. It’s supposed that interrupting this flow causes illness or pain.
While there’s currently no concrete evidence to suggest that meridians or Qi exist, or that acupuncture can indeed remove pain from any part of the body, many physical therapists believe that acupuncture can help restore the body’s natural balance and will therefore prescribe it alongside conventional treatments. The popularity of the concept is growing in the Western world, and as such, there are now thousands of qualified acupuncture practitioners working within the UK under the watchful eye of the British Acupuncture Council, the industry’s leading professional body.
Why Is It Known To Help Manage Back Pain?
Acupuncture isn’t a ‘cure’, as such – the practice works to stimulate the body to help it produce natural pain-relieving chemicals, so it is used primarily to speed up the patient’s recovery process. When the correct techniques are applied, natural, pain-relieving endorphins are said to be released into the body. Melatonin, a sleep-inducing chemical, and serotonin, a hormone that increases happiness levels, are also produced, aiding the patient’s relaxation and improving their overall sense of wellbeing.
Research and Professional Opinions
Though there has been much debate around the effectiveness of acupuncture in recent years, a number of studies have emerged that promote the benefits of the treatment for those with on-going and often painful musculoskeletal conditions – especially chronic back pain.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) publishes accurate guidelines for clinicians in England and Wales. The organisation has greatly boosted the credibility of the practice by declaring acupuncture as an effective treatment for back pain – a move that was met with a huge sigh of relief from practitioners and physiotherapists, who were convinced of the healing powers of acupuncture for decades, but had little proof of its benefits. This said, acupuncture as a general treatment option is still considered a complementary treatment by leading medical bodies, which means it’s not widely used within the NHS and will not be used in place of conventional, scientifically-proven treatments.
So, in short, it’s widely accepted that acupuncture can in fact alleviate back pain, though for the best results, this practice should be incorporated into an integrated, tailored rehabilitation plan. Fully qualified acupuncturists will always be quick to carry out an in-depth assessment at your very first consultation to find out what’s causing your symptoms. From this, they’ll be able to determine which acupuncture points will need to be addressed to help you manage your condition.
A reputable physiotherapist may incorporate acupuncture into your rehabilitation programme, as part of a combined approach towards your rehabilitation. Clinicians that consider acupuncture within the context of the latest clinical research and evidence will be able to achieve the best results. Rather than simply relying on the apparent healing properties of a largely ambiguous alternative therapy, they will be able to relieve pain, discomfort and inflammation in your back through acupuncture and various other clinically proven treatment methods.
Alongside holistic acupuncture treatments, Stretch’s specialist clinic also offers Essex physiotherapy treatments and one-to-one Pilates classes.