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How does acupuncture & cupping treat back pain?

Updated: Mar 20

Back pain is one of the top reasons people seek medical treatment and the number one reason for seeking acupuncture treatments. Musculoskeletal and connective tissue injuries are responsible for up to 10 million clinic visits per year in the U.S. One in five people suffers from chronic pain in the U.S., and with the opioid crisis, holistic pain management is more critical now than ever. If you or a loved one suffers from chronic back pain, you may want to consider acupuncture and cupping therapy.

How does acupuncture treat back pain?

  • Increases circulation

  • Calms nervous system

  • Releases natural pain-relieving chemicals

  • Activates neurotransmitters that shut down pain response

How does cupping therapy treat back pain?

  • Releases fascia covering the muscles

  • Increases circulation

  • Promotes muscle relaxation

  • Draws out built-up fluids and reduces lymphatic congestion

  • Removes unwanted by-products in the muscles, such as lactic acid

Recommendations for back pain care:

  • Incorporate mild exercises

  • Avoid wind exposure to the back

  • Stretching and strengthening exercises for the back

  • When lifting, bend and use the legs instead of the waist

What research supports the use of acupuncture to treat back pain?

  • A 2012 analysis of data on participants in acupuncture studies looked at back and neck pain together and found that acupuncture was more helpful than either no acupuncture or simulated acupuncture.

  • A 2010 review by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that acupuncture relieved low-back pain immediately after treatment.

  • Clinical practice guidelines issued by the American Pain Society and the American College of Physicians in 2007 recommend acupuncture as one of several nondrug approaches physicians should consider when patients with chronic low-back pain do not respond to self-care practices.


National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health | Acupuncture In Depth

Johns Hopkins Medicine | Acupuncture

Mayo Clinic | Acupuncture for Back Pain?

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