Amanda Cox | Acupuncture Melbourne

Back Pain / Sciatica

Back Pain / Sciatica and Acupuncture
According to the NHS, back pain is the largest cause of work-related absence in the UK. BUPA estimates that 8 out of 10 people experience the problem at some point. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines on best practice now recommend that GPs offer a course of ten sessions of acupuncture as a first line treatment for persistent low back pain.

Traditional Chinese Medicine views any type of pain as being caused by a lack of movement of blood, energy, or body fluids. In the case of acute back pain there is usually stagnation in the flow of blood and energy circulation in the back muscles. This causes the muscles to become knotted or go into spasm, resulting in pain. Tuina Massage and acupuncture can help restore circulation to muscles, release muscle tension, and relieve pain.

Acupuncture can help relieve back pain and sciatica by:

  • Stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, which leads to release of endorphins and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord (Pomeranz 1987, Zhao 2008).

  • Reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Kavoussi 2007, Zijlstra 2003).

  • Improving muscle stiffness and joint mobility by increasing local microcirculation (Komori 2009), which aids dispersal of swelling.

  • Causing a transient change in sciatic nerve blood flow, including circulation to the cauda equine and nerve root. (Inoue 2008).

  • Increasing levels of serotonin and noradrenaline, which can help reduce pain and speed nerve repair (Wang 2005).

  • Improving the conductive parameters of the sciatic nerve (Zhang 2005).

  • Promoting regeneration of the sciatic nerve (La 2005)

  • Influencing the neurotrophic factor signalling system, which is important in neuropathic pain (Dong 2006).