Skip to main content

acupuncture for back pain

Do You Have Back Pain?

By Uncategorized

Back pain is a very common complaint and one that I treat daily in my clinic.  The source of back pain is extremely varied, but all my patients have this in common; pain and a disruption to their work and lifestyle.

If you have back pain and it’s affecting your day to day activities, sleep, mood and recreational activities, Traditional Chinese Medicine and classical acupuncture can truly treat your back pain to get you back to work and doing what you love to do FAST.

With classical acupuncture and a treatment plan that may involve Chinese herbs, some lifestyle modifications and simple homework your back pain can be treated and a reoccurrence of your back pain can be prevented.  Towards the end of this Blog I explain how classical acupuncture actually heals your back.

Acupuncture not only treats your pain but also treats the source of your pain.


  • 50% of all current drug addicts get hooked when they are prescribed Western pain medications
  • Every 18 minutes an American dies from an overdose of pain medications
  • Pain is an epidemic and western medicine does not have many solutions
  • Low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide
  • Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work
  • Back pain is the second most common reason for visiting the doctor
  • Pain medication is used to manage pain, it does not totally relieve it or cure it.

For most medical doctors and pain clinics a pain level of 7/10 is expected to drop to a 4/10 when a patient uses pain medication.  If I cannot get such a patient with a pain level of 7/10 below a four after their FIRST treatment with me I feel I have failed in my treatment that day.

As an acupuncturist treating pain is one of the most rewarding and most important diseases to treat.  Acupuncture can treat any type of pain (chronic, acute, nerve pain, inflammation, numbness and tingling, radiating pain, stiffness etc) anywhere in the body (organ, bone, skin, joint etc).  Of course there are exceptions such as genetic disorders and cancer etc, but those are not the norm for the majority of pain disorders seen in the clinic.


Muscle strain or ligament sprain

Commonly from heavy lifting, a sudden awkward movement, poor physical condition or posture that puts chronic strain on the muscles and ligaments of the back.

Disc problem

Often from poor lifting technique and turning and twisting whilst lifting.

Discs act like “cushions” between the bones (vertebrae) in your spine.  When a disc is injured the soft material in the disc can bulge or rupture placing pressure on a nerve (that is exiting the spine) which will cause pain.

As people age over time the disc wears down and no longer effectively “cushions” forces.  In a degenerative disc forces instead are transferred to the disc wall that can lead to a bulging or ruptured disc.


Arthritis is degeneration of the joints in the spine.  As the cartilage between the joints slowly breaks down inflammation and pain develops.

Joint dysfunction  

The low back area consists of the lower spine (lumbar), sacrum and pelvis.  These bones are connected by joints that can cause pain if there is too much or too little motion of them.



Acupuncture stimulates nerves and subsequently triggers a response from the brain.  As a result acupuncture can affect change in all systems (circulatory, respiratory, digestive etc) and areas (back, knee, shoulder, neck etc) of the body.

Acupuncture stimulates the body to increase blood flow to the site of pain and stimulates the body to release natural painkillers.

Increased blood flow facilitates and hastens the natural healing process.  This increased blood flow brings a host of substances that control the damage, repair the injury and removes wastes that cause pain and inflammation.

Acupuncture also simulates the release of endorphins.  Endorphins are natural pain killers produced by your body. They work by binding to receptors in your brain to block the perception of pain.  Acupuncture is very effective at treating pain and thereby reducing your need for pharmaceutical pain killers.

Acupuncture treats the whole body, not just your pain.  This means I address underlying health issues that may be contributing to your back problem AND I treat the source of your back pain.  By doing this the reoccurrence of your back pain can be prevented.

Classical acupuncture can actually heal muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments and nerves – the actual root cause of your back pain.


Traditional Chinese Medicine and classical acupuncture is a complete system of medicine.  Acupuncture is the best modality for treating back pain but depending on the person and because I like to treat the whole person I often incorporate into your treatment plan:

  • Lifestyle modifications
  • Dietary recommendations
  • Chinese herbs
  • Stretches and exercises

In addition to classical acupuncture I may use; tui na massage, gua sha, cupping, moxibustion, electro-acupuncture stimulation and ear seeds to treat your back pain.  All of these are used to heal your back, eliminate your pain AND treat any underlying health conditions you may have.

I mostly practice distal acupuncture, a classical style of acupuncture with great clinical efficacy.  I place needles away from your area of pain or discomfort.  My patients experience enhanced benefits from this style of acupuncture as they can relax and enjoy their treatments more as they feel the immediate relief of their pain.  They also feel much more involved and proactive during their treatment as I rely on their feedback to fine tune my treatments to further relieve their pain.  Look out for my future Blog on distal classical acupuncture, the theory and the results are astonishing.

Any type of chronic pain can be a profoundly life changing – and often lonely – experience.  If this is you, please come and see me, I’m Evelyn, and I practise in Canmore and Calgary.