Acupuncture Research

Research studies reports and summaries

The Mind-Body Connection on Back Pain and Anxiety, Depression, Insomnia, Substance Abuse, and Stress

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Today I came across a very interesting article about back pain. It is interesting not only as a health provider, but because I also suffer for back pain. It was no surprise to me to read about how it may have its roots in psychological disorders and stress. In essence, it gives some facts I want to share with you, and if you are interested in the mind-body connection, there are lots of fascinating articles and studies in the internet on this topic. Some that seemed interesting were writings from Shannon Harvey, Louise Hay, Deb Shapiro, Moises Velasquez-Manoff (When the body attacks the mind), Juan David Nasio (Los Gritos del Cuerpo), and many other authors who have written in the topic either from a physical or a psychological standpoint.

The article I am going to refer about was written by researchers in Angelia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK The researchers investigated low to middle income subjects with back pain in 43 different countries. They found that in those countries, back pain affected 35.1% of the population. One may think this is understandable, given that it involves the working class population, and they may have physically straining jobs.

What is striking is that those who had back pain were 2 times more likely than people without back pain to experience anxiety, depression, psychosis, stress, and sleep deprivation. Furthermore, people with chronic back pain were 3 times more likely to also experience a depressive episode, and 2.6 times more likely to experience psychosis.

In another study from the Hospital for Special Surgery in NY City, the investigators found that adults with spinal deformities showed that 36.5% also suffered from psychological disorders. Older adults (55-74 years of age) more often suffered from anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders, whereas younger adults more often suffered from substance abuse. In conclusion, the study showed that one in three adults with spinal deformities also show at least one psychological disorder.

Both articles suggest that the link between these physical and psychological conditions has not been extensively investigated. There’s arguments on both sides. In other words, we still don’t know which condition came first. However, for us, as part of the population of people who suffer from chronic back pain, it is evident that we need treatment from any of these conditions sooner than later before it gets to where we have no choice but to get surgery of the spine, and/or tons of psychotropic medications with their inevitable side effects.

If you are one of those people who have chronic back pain and/or anxiety, depression or insomnia, make an appointment today at acubalancecenter.com to get treatments and relief from physical and/or psychological pain.


References:
The pain game: The connection between chronic pain and psychological illness by Nancy Gahles, DC, CCH, RSHom(NA), OIM
Back pain may raise risk of mental health problems in low- and middle-income countries General Hospital Psychiatry 6th December 2016 209
Your Body and Mind Relationship, Revealed. By Ed and Deb Shapiro
When the Body Attacks the Mind. MOISES VELASQUEZ-MANOFF JULY/AUGUST 2016 ISSUE
Los Gritos Del Cuerpo. By Juan David Nasio.

Acupuncture Alleviates Lower Back Pain & Inflammation

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Acupuncture relieves lower back pain and restores range of motion. Independent research teams find acupuncture effective for treating lumbar disc herniations, lower back muscle spasms and sprains, and chronic pain of the lower back.

Research published in the Clinical Journal of Chinese Medicine by Yan et al. and by a separate team from the Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine independently confirm that acupuncture relieves lumbar sprains.  In addition, the Journal of Cervicodynia And Lumbodynia has published research from the Wulumuqi Central Hospital of Lanzhou by Xu et al. finding acupuncture effective for the alleviation of lower back muscle spasms. Research published in China Health Standard Management by Huang et al. finds acupuncture plus moxibustion effective for the treatment of lumbar disc herniations. Let’s take a look at how these teams achieved successful positive patient outcomes. 

Researchers from the People’s Hospital of Han Nan District in Wuhan (Huang et al.) document a 90% total effective rate for the treatment of lumbar disc herniations with acupuncture plus moxibustion treatments. Acupuncture as a standalone therapy without moxibustion had an 85% total effective rate. The total effective rate includes a significant reduction or elimination of lower back, waist, and leg pain. In addition, significant lumbar motor functional improvements and improved results with the straight leg test were calculated as part of the total effective rate. The researchers document that acupuncture plus moxibustion improves range of motion and reduces pain, inflammation, and edema.

Researchers from the Chengdu Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine (Liu et al.) conclude that acupuncture is effective for the alleviation of lower back pain. The researchers document an 87.1% total effective rate including improvements in neurological testing, range of motion, and reductions in pain frequency and intensity.
Acupuncture was applied once per day for five days followed by a two day break. The process was repeated three times for a total of four courses of care comprising a grand total of twenty acupuncture treatments. The researchers note that the 87.1% total effective rate included pain reduction, increased mobility, and the ability of patients to resume normal life and work activities.

Researchers from the Wulumuqi Central Hospital of Lanzhou (Xu et al.) conclude that acupuncture plus movement therapy alleviates muscle spasms of the lower back. Improvements include pain reduction, range of motion increases, and the ability to resume activities of daily living unencumbered by disability due to lumbar muscle spasms. Patients receiving acupuncture plus movement therapy had a 91.39% total effective rate. Patients receiving only acupuncture had a 70.70% total effective rate. As result, the researchers formally recommend acupuncture plus the addition of movement therapy for the purposes of achieving optimal clinical results…

The research of Sun et al. at the Hospital of Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine finds electroacupuncture effective for the alleviation of lumbar muscle strain. The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) principles used to determine the acupuncture point selection were to invigorate the circulation of both qi and blood. The results demonstrated a 93.3% total effective rate….The treatments yielded a 23.3% complete recovery rate. These patients had no recurrence of lower back pain and associated physical exhaustion within two years of acupuncture treatment sessions. An additional 70% of patients had significant improvements including reductions in lower back pain intensity levels, less frequency of subacute flare-ups, and overall reductions in physical exhaustion due to pain. Non-responders with intractable pain accounted for 6.7% of patients.
Electroacupuncture was applied….. Needle retention time was twenty minutes. Acupuncture was applied once per day, six days per week for a total of thirty days.
The 93.3% total effective rate demonstrates that local electroacupuncture is effective for the relief of lumbar muscle strain.

The aforementioned researchers have consistent findings demonstrating that acupuncture is effective for the relief of lower back pain in several different clinical scenarios. The findings demonstrate that the integration of acupuncture into conventional pain management protocols for the treatment of lower back pain is warranted.

References:
Huang JH. (2015). Observations on the Efficacy of Warm Acupuncture in Treating 60 Patients With Lumbar Disc Herniation. China Health Standard Management. 6(3).
Wu ZD & Wu ZH. (2008). Chirurgery 7th Edition. Beijing: People’s Health Publisher. 849.
Liu XH, Fan XH, Zhong L, Dong YW, Wang YZ & Gao F. (2014). Therapeutic Observation of Pestle Acupuncture for Lumbago Due to Cold and Damp. Shanghai Journal of Acupuncture and Moxibustion. 34(9).
Xu L. (2015). Clinical study of the acupuncture combined with movement therapy in the treatment of acute lumbar muscle spasm. The Journal of Cervicodynia And Lumbodynia. 36(1).
Zhu HZ. (2002). Needle scalpel medicinal principles. Beijing: People’s Health Publisher. 104-105, 202-204.
Yan DR. (2014). Treating lumbar sprain by acupuncture. Clinical Journal of Chinese Medicine. 6(16).’
Sun YZ, Zeng TT & Shang LL. (2014). 30 Cases of Chronic Lumbar Muscle Strain Treated with Penetration Needling at Yang Meridians of Back. Journal of Clinical Acupuncture and Moxibustion. 30(6).
An H. (2010). Research progress on TCM in treating lumbar muscle injury. Journal of Zhoukou Normal University. 27(5): 138-140.