Q: Dear Dr. Mao,
Is acupuncture an effective treatment for recurring back pain? Someone told me about an acupuncture treatment using lasers. Does it work and is it safe?
A: Yes, acupuncture is an effective means of treating various pain conditions, including back pain. Some typical modalities include acupuncture, cupping, moxibustion, and even electrical stimulation of acupuncture needles. These are all effective methods of addressing pain. A proficient practitioner may also be able to address the underlying conditions that may be causing the recurring back pain, notwithstanding, of course, physical or structural problems that require surgery. Even in severe cases requiring surgery, it has been shown that acupuncture can improve the healing and post-surgical recovery.
As for lasers, it is a new and somewhat untested arena, especially with acupuncture. It is often used when the patient is unable or unwilling to receive needle treatments. My suggestion is to consult with a licensed practitioner to determine the best course of action. Please remember to be patient and consistent with the treatments. Best results are achieved when the treatments are frequent and at regular intervals.
You might also find the herbal formula “Pain” by Traditions of Tao helpful for soothing pain and relaxing muscles. Of course, discuss with your physician before beginning any new health regime.