For those of us in the Western world, healthcare is often equated with medication. We naturally assume that there is a pill for everything, including back pain. Our familiarity with chemical solutions to our problems has left many of us skeptical of treatment modalities that do not come from a lab. Even the word “medicine,” which means the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease, has been equated with drugs. This is why so many of us still shut our minds to more holistic treatments from the other side of the world, such as acupressure treatment for back pain.
It is important to keep an open mind when it comes to back pain treatment. The vast majority of back pain cases never receive a proper diagnosis, and therefore treatment is a shot in the dark over and over again. It is also important to realize that pain medications do not resolve back pain; they simple mask the pain for a time, until stronger drugs are needed to do the same job. Dependency, organ damage and progressive pain are often the results of treatment by drugs.
Acupoints are described by Traditional Chinese Medicine as points on the body that fall along channels called meridians through which the body’s energy flows. If this energy becomes blocked in any of the channels, dysfunction, illness and disease follow. Stimulating the points through acupressure is thought to unblock the meridian and restore normal energy flow.
To some hardline Western minds, this may sound a little outlandish. However, consider how similar this approach is to those that address neurological or venous connections. We know that the parts of the body are connected by complicated networks of nerves that transport vital signals and veins that deliver fresh blood. A problem in one area – a nerve impingement or block in blood flow, for example – can result in pain and dysfunction along the network. With that in mind, the energy network theory does not seem so strange.
Also worth considering is that acupressure, like massage, stimulates blood flow, which helps injured body tissue heal, and the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain-killers. Whether or not you are open to the idea of energy meridians, you can trust that acupressure works with the body’s mechanisms that you are familiar with to facilitate healing. It is a safe form of alternative back pain treatment that would not hurt to try, and might actually help.
As with most forms of natural, alternative medicine, there is not a vast body of research compiled on acupressure. However, one study’s results showed acupressure to be more effective than physical therapy in treating lower back pain, both immediately and after 6 months. The assessment involved pain scores and disability. A summary of the study can be viewed at http://www.sciencedaily.com.
Like all , acupressure is not a miracle cure for all types of pain. It is likely most effective in treating pain associated with muscle tension, as it stimulates blood flow to loosen tense muscles. It is important to keep an open mind when it comes to back pain treatment. Internet forums are full of people who think they have tried everything, who have not been helped by chiropractors, physical therapists, massage therapists, surgeons or pharmacists. The list of potential solutions to your pain is much larger than you might think. Allow yourself to try something new. Acupressure is a safe and well-established medicinal practice that could relieve many types of pain, especially back muscle pain.