If you have back pain with any kind of consistency, then it’s likely that you are looking for some kind of remedy. In the pantheon of alternative treatments, the options are seemingly endless. One of the most daunting alternative treatments for back pain is acupuncture. Although the science behind acupuncture is sometimes dubious, people still use it as a way to treat their back pain with varying results.

For most people, the thought of inserting a needle into your skin is far too stressful to even try. Indeed, most people avoid acupuncture even if they have turned over every leaf in search of an adequate treatment. But, is acupuncture really that bad?

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture was created by the Chinese over 2,500 years ago, and the ancient medicinal technique has made it into the modern day. It essentially involves inserting thin needles into the body at certain strategic points. According to ancient Chinese medicine, the human body contained over 2,000 of these strategic points that were meant to direct the flow of the body’s “Qi.” Acupuncture was said to put the body back in balance by returning the flow of energy to its natural course.

Recent scientific exploration into acupuncture suggests that the central nervous system reacts differently when the needles are inserted. This causes the brain and the body to release certain chemicals that can ultimately make you feel better and mitigate your pain.

Is Acupuncture Legitimate?

Again, the answer to this question is that it varies. Most studies have shown that acupuncture does, in fact, have positive benefits on back pain for many people. Unfortunately, there is no significant difference between what is known as “sham acupuncture” and the apparent real deal. So, even if you are getting acupuncture from a dubious location, you’re still getting the same health benefits that you would get at an actual accredited acupuncture business.

That being said, both sham and real acupuncture can provide relief, even if no other conventional methods have been pursued. In conjunction with other conventional methods, however, acupuncture has been shown to produce positive results in certain patients.

Safety Risks with Acupuncture

One of the primary reasons that someone might choose against acupuncture is that it doesn’t seem safe to stick needles into your body. In reality, acupuncture might be safer than some conventional treatments. If you have a trained acupuncturist who knows what they are doing, then your risk of incurring anything negative is slim. Of course, there have been cases of an acupuncturist puncturing organs or a patient developing an infection after the fact, but those instances are incredibly rare.

In the long run, acupuncture offers a decent way to alleviate back pain without any real risks. The only problem is that most people are too afraid to try it. If acupuncture is not your thing, then there are plenty of other traditional and/or alternative methods that you can try to help ease your back pain. As always, if you get to a point where the pain is unbearable, you should not hesitate to see a doctor.

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Ricky Davis is a health blogger from New Mexico. In addition to writing about alternative treatments to every day problems, he is a regular contributor for numerous health journals. He has practiced as a physical therapist and also instructed on various alternative therapies including massage, acupuncture, and water aerobics.