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Acupuncture and Lower Back Pain

Acupuncture originated as a Chinese medical treatment involving the insertion of thin sterile metal needles into specific areas of the body. There is a debate about how acupuncture actually works.   Chinese theory says that illness is caused by an imbalance of energy  channels in the body known as Meridians.   Needles are inserted into points on those channels to allow the "in" and "out" flow of energy.   Points are chosen depending on what part of the body is being treated.

Western scientists think that the needles inhibit the transmission of pain signals so that the perception of pain is reduced.

Acupuncture may be an effective alternative treatment for some chronic pain conditions.  In Japan, Korea and China it is widely used for a variety of medical conditions.  Some examples  include post operative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting, post operative dental pain, addictions, stroke rehabilitation, headache, menstrual cramps, tennis elbow, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain, osteoarthritis, low back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and asthma.

In Western society acupuncture is predominantly used for musculoskeletal pain e.g. low back pain.  Lower back pain is considered to be chronic when it has lasted for longer than 3 months.  It has been estimated that one -third of patients will not have fully recovered after 6 months and up to two-thirds will experience a recurrence of back pain within 2 years.  

Patients with chronic lower back pain need to be fully assessed by a medical practitioner who may consider that they are a suitable candidate for acupuncture.  In some patients acupuncture can improve pain and function as effectively as medications and the impact of acupuncture can last for up to 3 months following a course of  treatment.

Acupuncture is a safe treatment with minimal or no  adverse affects when practised by a trained professional.  Acupuncture can be a viable alternative to the use of pharmacological analgesic medications.

 In Australia, Chinese medical acupuncturists are required to be registered with the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and require endorsement by AHPRA.

At Treetops General Practice, Dr Soheil Torktorabi is an accredited medical acupuncture practitioner endorsed for acupuncture by the Medical Board of Australia.  He completed his acupuncture internship at Shanghai University, Shanghai in 2005.   Dr Torktorabi has also been recognised by the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners for his acupuncture.


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