Southwest Austin and Blanco Acupuncture

Can Acupuncture Help My Back Pain?

I’ve been asked this many times. ‘Can acupuncture help my back pain?’ Not only can acupuncture relieve back pain, but it can also relieve your neck and/or shoulder pain. You can get relief for your back pain from acupuncture!

The back is part of the Taiyang system which means Greater Yang. It is the largest muscle region. Just look at how many muscles there are in the back: trapezius, latissmus doris, rhomboids, teres major and the spinal erectors.


When do I come to get acupuncture for back pain?

The general rule is the sooner the better. The longer you wait the longer it takes to restore your back to a pain free condition. There are many reasons why a person will have back pain. Something like a car accident, a fall or a sports injury is an acute condition. Folks that work at their computer all day, aging, stress and not addressing injuries occurring from an acute condition are examples of chronic conditions. As your Chinese Medicine Practitioner I want to make sure that you don’t have chronic pain….ever. That means coming in right away during an acute situation and getting acupuncture for back pain.

Seriously….right away! Not three months later!!! (I’m serious.)


How many treatments will it take?

The answer is always the same…it depends. Pain depends on everything: your age, the weather, the accident, which muscles affected and treatment results depends on your bodies capacity for healing. Are you on more than one medication? Have you been receiving steroid shots? Do you have a healthy diet? Do you exercise? Do your daily habit exasperate the problem?  It’s impossible to tell someone without seeing them how long it will take.

In general the backs I palpate that are very tight, knotted up and hard where the patient expresses daily chronic back pain it will take 6-8 treatments. The patient needs to come in once a week consistently, modify their daily movements and eat a healthy diet. If there is injury to the vertebra it’s advised to come in regularly.

How do you treat back pain with acupuncture?

Short answer: with needles and cupping. Acupuncture and cupping help break up the fascial adhesions holding the back in a configuration that causes pain.

Long answer…..First I have the patient tell me about their back pain, basically giving me their health history. I want to consider if it is ‘normal’ back pain and reasonable to what caused it or lifestyle or natural aging. For example…

  • A 20 year old getting back pain due to carrying a bag of groceries upstairs would warn me that there is a constitutional weakness in channel or system. Supporting the weak channel, which may not be anywhere close the back will be part of the treatment.
  • A computer techie that sits at the computer all day and has little time to exercise. It’s becoming a well known fact that slouching at a desk all day causes chronic back pain. Unless this person is going to quit their job then they need consistent treatments, mostly likely weekly or bi-weekly.  Qigong movements will be prescribed for self care.
  • A 67 year old person comes in and complains of tightening of the muscles in the back during the winter, usually described as a ‘locked up’ feeling. This is a constitutional problem and herbal in addition to acupuncture therapy can greatly help.

I hope this helps you understand how acupuncture and Chinese Medicine addresses back pain. Call me today at 512 695 5222 or email for a free 15 minute consultation for your back pain.


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