for Back Pain
I know a lot of you are wondering: is acupuncture a scam? The
short answer is yes, but the long answer is actually a bit more complicated than that.
Acupuncture is an age-old remedy for all types of pain and is performed by inserting needles
in at pre-determined trigger points. The skill of the practitioner is thought to be related to how well they can
find these trigger points.
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In reality, a skillful practitioner should be able to avoid hitting any arteries or veins. A
friend of mine actually had an acupuncturist hit a small vein in his forehead and it resulted in his face being
covered in blood! Not exactly what I would call acupuncture for back pain relief, but I digress.
The effectiveness on acupuncture for back pain actually increased if the practitioner is a
Chinese male, regardless of skill! Additionally, sham acupuncture, where participants were blindfolded and poked
with toothpicks instead of needles, was shown to be just as effective at reducing pain when compared to real
acupuncture for back pain. How does this work?
Acupuncture in and of itself is thought to work by activating inhibitory sensory neurons that
are responsible for sensing electromagnetic stimuli. A theory of pain known as the gate control theory of pain (I go into detail on this in my e-mail
course) suggests that certain stimuli can block pain signals travelling up the spinal cord if the brain deems
them as more important than the pain stimulus.
Essentially, if the practitioner is a Chinese male, the person receiving the acupuncture for
back pain is more likely to believe that the practitioner knows what he is doing. This, by virtue of the gate
control theory, makes the brain want to really pay attention to the acupuncture stimulus, causing it to
temporarily "ignore" the signals of chronic back pain!
Additionally, since it is the thought that counts, if people were not made aware they were
getting poked with toothpicks (since in the study they were blindfolded) instead of needles, the brain can still
be fooled just as easily.
So, the answer to the question of whether or not acupuncture for back pain is a sham is
truthfully yes and no. It can reduce your back pain, but only if you believe it will reduce your back pain!
Additionally, acupuncture rarely produces long-lasting pain relief because the as soon as the
treatments are over, it does not take long for the chronic pain signals coming from the spine to reassert
themselves as the center of the brain's sensory attention.
This same principle helps explain why a lot of different treatments that do not treat the
underlying cause of the injury are effective at reducing pain, such as heat packs, massage, and chiropractic
treatments. These types of treatments all trick the brain into forgetting about pain without actually attempting
to solve what is causing the pain in the first place! As a result, they can be effective in short term pain
management, but if the issue becomes chronic, the underlying cause of injury must be addressed if chronic pain
relief is ever to become permanent.
Is your back
pain, neck pain, or sciatica running your
If you answer yes to the above question, then I strongly
recommend that you grab a copy of The 7-Day Back Pain
The Healthy Back Institute is actually giving this book away for FREE... there is just a small
shipping fee. This is the complete guide to ending the "management" of your pain and putting an end to your back
pain for good. Click here to get