A team of Duke Medical Center researchers has found that patients suffering from back pain consume more than $90 billion annually in health-care expenses, with approximately $26 billion of that amount directly attributable to treating back pain.1

There are many factors that can affect low back pain such as type of work, degenerative bone disease, inactivity (sitting), poor posture or obesity.  Opioid painkillers like OxyContin, which are commonly prescribed for back pain relief, also have a highly addictive nature. Other Western medical treatments include steroid injections, facet or si joint injections, epidurals and nerve root blocks.  If all that sounds invasive, it is! Many of these treatments provide temporary relief.

Over time, some muscular types of back pain will go away. Chronic back pain due to muscular trauma or joint/bone issues will need to be managed for a longer period of time.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are proven to be effective for many types of pain, especially lower back pain.  The principal treatment is to unblock qi and increase blood flow to the area. In addition, inflammation will decrease and range of motion will increase.  The acupuncturist will determine how many treatments you need depending on the severity and duration of pain. The number of treatments needed will also be determined by how well the patient reacts to the treatment.

Sharon McDermott, L.Ac.

1. www.americanspinal.com/back-pain-stats.html

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