Acupuncture: An Important Treatment for Low Back Pain

For many years, acupuncture has been helping patients with chronic back pain find relief. Though many traditional medical professionals have been reluctant to explore the advantages of this painless, non-surgical treatment, at Long Island Rehabilitation Medicine we have been using it successfully for years. 

Western medicine has continued to be dismissive, even suspicious, of Eastern medicine, even in the face of research that has shown its efficacy, and even though the procedure has been alleviating symptoms throughout China and Asia for thousands of years. At our offices, our doctors are physiatrists who have extensive training in pain management and restoration of function. Our focus is always on what works to improve your quality of life.

Medicare Now Covers Acupuncture for Seniors with Chronic Lower Back Pain

In 2020, Medicare finally accepted acupuncture as a viable method of medical treatment for intractable back pain, albeit in a rather limited way. Now Medical Part B insurance covers up to 12 acupuncture visits in 90 days in patients whose pain has:

  • Lasted for 12 weeks or longer
  • Is not related to metastasized cancer or inflammatory or infectious disease
  • Is not associated with surgery or pregnancy

Medicare will also cover 8 additional sessions if the patient improves with acupuncture treatment, but no more than 20 visits will be covered annually. Despite these rather intricate caveats, the fact that the treatment is now accepted by a governmental agency as a legitimate form of healthcare is very encouraging. 

Why Some People Fear Acupuncture and Spread False Information

One of the reasons some people are skeptical about acupuncture is that they feel it is inexplicable, and therefore can’t be real. Just remember that the same accusations have been made about almost all human advances: using electricity to generate power, using airplanes to fly, using telephones and then computers to communicate, taking aspirin to reduce fever, and antibiotics to cure infections. There are always those who view anything unfamiliar as frightening.

How Acupuncture Works

Having an acupuncture treatment is a painless, most often relaxing form of therapy that involves the insertion of extremely thin needles at designated points on the body. According to traditional Chinese medicine, there are more than 2,000 of these points in the body through which energy, known as Qi (pronounced “chee”) flows along pathways known as meridians. Acupuncture works by unblocking the flow of Qi to clear the body of disease and pain by:

  • Releasing immune system cells
  • Accelerating the relay of neurotransmitters
  • Triggering the release of endorphins that act as natural painkillers

It is by changing brain chemistry, and reestablishing the free flow of energy throughout the body that acupuncture relieves pain, often to a remarkable degree.

Is acupuncture safe?

Natural as it may be to worry about safety, especially during a pandemic, acupuncture is proven to be a safe, reliable type of treatment. The needles used in the process are sterile and sealed in packages for individual use. They are much tinier than hypodermics and are rarely felt once placed in the skin. These needles are inserted at designated points that correlate to the site of your pain and, at the moment of insertion, may be lightly, painlessly turned for a few seconds. Once inserted, the acupuncturist leaves the needles in place, usually for 15 to 20 minutes, during which time patients are usually completely relaxed and frequently fall asleep.

Reassuringly, the effective, safe use of acupuncture has been recognized by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Advantages of Acupuncture at  Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine 

There are many reasons to seek acupuncture treatment at our convenient Long Island offices, including:

  • Our physicians (physiatrists) with advanced training in acupuncture and complementary medicine at Harvard Medical School 
  • If you have tried other methods that have failed to relieve your low back pain, acupuncture may well provide the relief you’re looking for
  • The American Pain Society and American College of Physicians recommend acupuncture as an alternative therapy for patients with chronic low-back pain 
  • Our medical team is laser-focused on making you more comfortable and able to engage in activities you enjoy
  • Acupuncture doesn’t carry the risks of some other forms of therapy
  • Acupuncture sessions are short and require no downtime
  • These treatments have a track record of helping patients other therapies have failed

Contact Our Acupuncture Doctors for Renewed Hope and Renewed Health

If you have been suffering from low back pain that is not responding to other forms of therapy, why not try acupuncture? Our team is well-prepared to discuss its benefits and our proficiency to administer this important treatment.