Everyone in Michigan is happy that Spring is finally here. After all, no one really enjoys shoveling their sidewalk and trying not to slip on the ice while getting the mail. However, with Spring’s arrival also comes additional ways to hurt your back. Whether you’re spending your weekends tending to your landscape or gardening chores or taking care of some spring cleaning, there are dozens of ways you can injure your lower back or neck. Moving heavy things and being hunched over in the garden are recipes for disaster. If you do find that the Spring activities are taking a toll on your lower back, I encourage you to come see me.
Acupuncture definitely can help ease back pain. Back pain – specifically low back (lumbar) pain – can be acute or chronic. Acute back pain usually occurs as a result of injury, although the activity that leads to the injury may be as commonplace as housework or gardening. Most cases are due to strain on the bones, muscles, and ligaments of the spine. Symptoms are usually muscle aches but can include shooting or stabbing pain, limited flexibility and range of motion, or trouble standing up straight. Most cases resolve on their own without treatment. Those lasting more than three months are considered chronic.
Studies have shown that acupuncture can treat low back pain and that both work better than standard medical care. A study published in 2009 and funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) included 638 adults with chronic low back pain who had never had acupuncture. The participants were randomly assigned to four groups. Those in group one received individualized acupuncture customized for each person. Group Two received acupuncture aimed at points deemed generally effective for low back pain. Group Three received sham acupuncture – the needles didn’t actually penetrate the skin. Group Four received standard medical care. The participants who received acupuncture (including the sham procedure) were treated twice a week for three weeks and then once a week for another four weeks. Periodically over the following year the researchers assessed all the participants and asked them about their symptoms. The results of the study confirmed that acupuncture treatment works better than traditional medical care when it comes to low back pain.
I love Spring and I hope you enjoy it too. But remember, too much of anything is a bad thing. Take it in stride and make your health a priority. If the pain is too much, make an appointment for acupuncture. It works!