Acupuncture for Back Pain: Is it Effective?

Should you try acupuncture for back pain? How does acupuncture work and is it effective for treating lower back pain? In this article we’ll take a closer look at the concepts behind the practice of acupuncture and the debate about its effectiveness.

Acupuncture for back pain relief: is it effective? (Saratoga Spine)

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a form of alternative therapy commonly performed in traditional Chinese medicine. An acupuncturist performs this treatment by placing thin needles into the patient’s skin.

Acupuncture theories are based on concepts such as the life force, qi (also known as chi). Qi, as defined by Chinese principles, is the life force (or energy) that runs through all living beings. The qi is believed to flow from the body’s main organs to the surface of the body through “meridians”.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

When acupuncture is performed, thin needles are placed into the patient’s skin primarily along the meridians. The belief is that a disruption between the qi and the physical environment can reduce the patient’s pain.

Does Acupuncture Work?

There are many differing opinions, both in the scientific community and in the general population, as to the effectiveness of acupuncture.

Scientific studies have been performed, reviews of these studies have been done, and reviews of reviews have been done. Findings remain inconsistent.

Some have concluded that acupuncture has no effect on pain, others have found evidence suggesting acupuncture can help relieve pain, and still others argue that any pain relief felt after an acupuncture treatment are simply due to the placebo effect.

Note: The Placebo effect is a term used to describe the positive impact perceived by a patient from a medication or treatment simply because the patient believes the treatment will be effective.

Acupuncture for Back Pain Relief

The effectiveness of acupuncture for back pain relief is supported by some scientific studies. These studies showed that using acupuncture in addition to other treatment methods improved the chances the patient would experience pain relief.


So what’s the bottom line? Should you get acupuncture for back pain relief? It’s always best to discuss your symptoms with a doctor prior to starting any new treatment regimen. At Saratoga Spine our doctors recommend a variety of non-surgical treatment options. If you’d like to discuss acupuncture as a potential option, contact us or make an appointment. Our doctors see patients in our Saratoga Springs, Glens Falls and Plattsburgh, NY offices.



Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery