What causes low back pain?

Low Back Pain may has it origins from organs, muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, nerves, bones or discs or in combination of the above listed.

The common causes may include injuries, infections, inflammations, entrapment, degeneration or auto-immune dysfunctions.

Back Pain from above-mentioned origins or causes may be treated with acupuncture for its symptoms, however, the prognosis varies depends on the origins and causes.

As people age, bone strength and muscle elasticity and tone tend to decrease. The discs begin to lose fluid and flexibility, which decreases their ability to cushion the vertebrae.

Pain can occur when, for example, someone lifts something too heavy or overstretches, causing a sprain, strain, or spasm in one of the muscles or ligaments in the back. If the spine becomes overly strained or compressed, a disc may rupture or bulge outward. This rupture may put pressure on one of the more than 50 nerves rooted to the spinal cord that control body movements and transmit signals from the body to the brain. When these nerve roots become compressed or irritated, back pain results.

Soft tissue, spine, nervous system, internal organs & emotional disturbance are the sources that could cause low back pain. For example, low back pain may reflect nerve or muscle irritation or bone lesions. Most low back pain follows injury or trauma to the back, but pain may also be caused by degenerative conditions such as arthritis or disc disease, osteoporosis or other bone diseases, viral infections, irritation to joints and discs, or congenital abnormalities in the spine. Obesity, smoking, weight gain during pregnancy, stress, poor physical condition, posture inappropriate for the activity being performed, and poor sleeping position also may contribute to low back pain. Additionally, scar tissue created when the injured back heals itself does not have the strength or flexibility of normal tissue. Buildup of scar tissue from repeated injuries eventually weakens the back and can lead to more serious injury.

Occasionally, low back pain may indicate a more serious medical problem. Pain accompanied by fever or loss of bowel or bladder control, pain when coughing, and progressive weakness in the legs may indicate a pinched nerve or other serious condition. People with diabetes may have severe back pain or pain radiating down the leg related to neuropathy. People with these symptoms should contact a doctor immediately to help prevent permanent damage.

Who is most likely to develop low back pain?

Nearly everyone has low back pain sometime. Men and women are equally affected. It occurs most often between ages 30 and 50, due in part to the aging process but also as a result of sedentary life styles with too little (sometimes punctuated by too much) exercise. The risk of experiencing low back pain from disc disease or spinal degeneration increases with age.

Low back pain unrelated to injury or other known cause is unusual in pre-teen children. However, a backpack overloaded with schoolbooks and supplies can quickly strain the back and cause muscle fatigue. To avoid back strain, children carrying backpacks should bend both knees when lifting heavy packs, visit their locker or desk between classes to lighten loads or replace books, or purchase a backpack or airline tote on wheels

How acupuncture treats low back pain ?

Acupuncture offers fast relief that could be effective in just a few minutes to hours on low back pain by 4 ways:

1. desensitizing the nerve sensation,

2. improving the microcirculation locally for healing.

3. reducing inflammations, if exist,

4. relaxing the muscle spasms, if exist.

Is the acupuncture effect real or simply a placebo effect?

Through functional MRI Neurophysiological Evidence of Acupuncture Mechanisms Research in US, acupuncture appears to inactivate the brain regions involved in the transmission and perception of pain. The data suggest that acupuncture stimulation clearly desensitizes or reduces activation in the cortical areas that are believed to be involved with pain signal processing, thereby alleviating pain perception. The data support the efficacy of acupuncture in pain relief, and support the biological bases of acupuncture analgesia.

Does it work for me?

Acupuncture treatment in pain relief has been proven effective and recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and National Institute of Health (NIH). It has been helping many patients with low back pain problems. It is certainly a reasonable natural modality that has its potential to help. However, “It works for many” doesn’t equal to “it works for you”. As for you, there is only one way to find out…

How much does it cost?

We charge $85 per acupuncture session. There is a $45 initial consultation fee in addition to the treatment fee. An additional 5-minute acupressure for $10 is often useful for soft tissue injuries. All fees above are subject to change without notice. Please call 403-233-0498 for current rate.

Does Alberta Health Care Cover It?

Alberta Health Care does not cover acupuncture. However, most company benefits cover acupuncture when treatment is provided through a Registered Acupuncturist. You may contact human resources department or the insurance company for the details, including the coverage amount for each session, and a year, what the cut off day of the year is, if a medical referral is required etc..