Dr (TCM) Attilio D'Alberto
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Back pain treatment

Pain relief is now the most common complaint that most acupuncturists treat today. Traditional acupuncture is one of the most effective treatments for back pain.

Back pain can affect anyone at any age and most people will suffer from it at some point in their lives. It is the UK’s leading cause of disability and one of the main reasons for work related sickness absence. Most lower back pain problems are caused by sprains, muscle strains, minor injuries, or a pinched or irritated nerve. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that back pain can be caused by a weakness or stagnation of energy.

It can also occur during pregnancy, or because of stress, viral infection or a kidney infection. In Chinese medicine it can also be caused by overwork and tiredness and is related to a weakness of kidney energy.


The most common cause of back problems in western medicine is a trapped nerve from the spinal cord. Traditional Chinese medicine believes the same but caused by tension in the muscle too.

A lot of people will have physical therapies such as chiropractic or osteopathy for back pain. There are different schools of thought as to what causes back pain. Chiropractors believe that the skeletal system pulls muscles out of alignment causing pain. Osteopaths believe the muscles pull themselves out of alignment causing pain. Traditional Chinese medicine believes the same as osteopaths that tension in the muscle causing the pain. Applying an acupuncture needle to the painful area can relieve the muscle spasm and pain.

Acupuncture for back pain

Conventional treatment for back pain involves pain killers. Pain is a messenger, it's showing you there is a problem. However, most people then shoot the messenger by taking painkillers. Treatment for chronic pain involves taking opiate based pain killers, which can be addictive leading to the abuse of harder drugs such as heroin. Accupuncture offers a safer alternative as its non-addictive and stimulated acupuncture can beat a lot of pain medication in treating chronic pain.

An easy way of treating back pain yourself is to either place a hot water bottle on the painful area, as this helps the muscles to relax, which can ease the tension and pain. Another great way of helping your back is to practice yoga or pilates. This helps to stretch the muscles in the back, which relieves muscle tension and pain. Always be aware of your posture as bad posture can cause back pain. Stand up straight with your shoulder blades dropped and don't sit crossed legged.

Things like sitting too much, commuting on trains or long drives using a manual gearbox can aggravate a weak back causing pain. Try standing more, moving more, motion is lotion as they say, reduce exposure to stress, and avoid long drives.

How does it work

Acupuncture treatment relieves back pain by using thin needles to stimulate energy points on the body, which regulates the movement of energy and blood. It relieves stagnation in the muscles allowing nerve signals to move freely. In western medicine acupuncture is thought to relieve pain by stimulating the nerves. Sometimes, an acupuncturist can use stimulated acupuncture which uses an electric current to strongly activate the flow of qi.

Pain can be likened to when water in pipes freezes and bursts, the bursting action is like the stabbing pain. Accupuncture moves the blockage thereby relieving the pain and is anti inflammatory. I treat a lot of back pain problems and have found acupuncture to be very successful in relieving pain, so much so, many patients can reduce the dose of their painkiller medication.

Watch my animated video below which explains how it relieves pain.

Research has shown that accupuncture can treat chronic lower back problems.