What is it?
Acupuncture is a practice of ancient Chinese medicine that involves gently inserting hair-thin needles into the skin in order to stimulate the muscles, nerves, and connective tissues throughout the body. In an attempt to restore balance in the body, acupuncture aims to alleviate pain, stress, and tension. Acupuncture is a safe and effective option to manage chronic back pain and improve your quality of life.
What does it do?
During an acupuncture treatment, the needles are placed in specific acupuncture points that are part of pathways which create an energy flow (Qi, pronounced “chee”) throughout the body that is responsible for one’s health. Ancient Chinese medicine describes disruption to this energy flow as contributing to disease, however, the acupuncture applied to these certain points improves the flow of Qi, thus improving health. These acupuncture points stimulate the central nervous system to release chemicals into the brain, spinal cord, and muscles. This may stimulate the body’s healing ability and promote emotional and physical well-being.
Beyond pain management, acupuncture treatments can contribute to additional long-term benefits such as strengthening the immune system, lowering blood pressure, and improving sleep.
What is it for?
Acupuncture is often used as a supplement to other medical treatments. Depending on the severity of a patient’s condition, they may find pain relief for several hours to weeks/months post treatment. Acupuncture can be used for many conditions, such as sciatica pain, migraine and tension headaches, osteoarthritis, in addition to chronic back pain.
Potential Risks and Side Effects
Risks and side effects of acupuncture are low and minimal. Side effects of acupuncture are rare and include bleeding, soreness, numbness or tingling, or bruising from the needles at the needle site. Side effects may last a few days. Unusual side effects of acupuncture include dizziness or fainting. Though unusual, risks of treatment include spontaneous miscarriage, nerve damage, and organ puncture. Complications are higher for those who are pregnant, have a pacemaker, or have a bleeding disorder. It is important that the patient consults with their physician and acupuncture provider if they have any concerns regarding treatment.
Acupuncture is found to be effective for chronic pain, such as lower back pain. In randomized controlled trials with ∼18,000–21,000 patients who report chronic musculoskeletal back pain, acupuncture was found to be substantially better than standard care treatment options. Of these patients, about 20% of the trial population were 65 years or older.
A systematic review of 11 randomized controlled trials (n=1139) compared acupuncture with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and found that acupuncture may more effectively improve symptoms of chronic back pain.
Further, the benefits of acupuncture are longer lasting than other treatments. In a meta-analysis of 17,922 patients with pain, about 90% of the pain-relief effects of acupuncture were sustained at 12 months, relative to other controls.
Due to this growing evidence, in 2020 Medicare decided to cover acupuncture for low back pain. As a result, we have decided to partner with highly experienced licensed acupuncturists who have completed a four-year acupuncture program to provide this service to our Medicare patients. Medicare will cover between 12-20 sessions if acupuncture is providing you benefit. Call 847-834-4018 to schedule your visit today!
- The Role of Acupuncture in Pain Management
- Acupuncture for Chronic Low Back Pain: Recommendations to Medicare/Medicaid from the Society for Acupuncture Research
- Complementary Medicine Acupuncture
- Acupuncture for acute low back pain: a systematic review
Service areas: Glenview, Evanston, Wilmette, Highland Park, Chicago, Rogers Park, Winnetka, Lake Forest, Kenosha, Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Des Plaines, Skokie, Northbrook, Northfield, and more!
Schedule your appointment with Dr. DeCaria of Revitalize Medical Center in Glenview and Evanston, IL, to take the first step towards a long-term solution for your chronic pain!