Acupuncture has become very popular in the United States as a treatment for many illnesses and symptoms, including low back pain. This treatment method was originally developed in China, over 2000 years ago, and has become a common method for relieving pain and other symptoms in this country.
Acupuncture treatments consist of placing very thin stainless steel needles into the skin of the patient in certain locations that are thought to correspond to certain organs and anatomic areas deep within the body. There are several thousand “acupoints” that have been described by traditional Chinese acupuncturists, each of which has a particular significance in the treatment of different diseases and symptoms.
According to the traditional Chinese understanding of the human body, a natural form of energy that is vital for the proper functioning of the human body flows through twelve “meridians” in the human body. This energy force is called “chee,” and is understood to have both good and bad qualities. The balance between these two aspects of the life force, the yin (a dark, female force), and the yang (a light, male force), controls every aspect of the human body. Acupuncture seeks to correct imbalances in relative amounts of yin and yang within the human body by inserting needles into acupoints that are aligned with certain meridians. When performed correctly the patient usually feels little to no pain. Research has been performed showing acupuncture is a safe and effective way to treating musculoskeletal pain.