Canterbury Acupuncture

Low Back Pain

One in three adults in Britain suffer some from lower back pain every year and an estimated 2.5m seek help from their GP. While most patients get better on their own, following advice to stay active, take painkillers and not to rest in bed, back pain is estimated to cost the NHS £1.5bn a year [1]. Recent research has shown that acupuncture treatment can be effective in treating back pain [2] and introducing acupuncture treatment on the NHS can be very beneficial for patients who are suffering from the one of the nation’s main reasons for work-related sickness absence [3].

We both have many years' experience of successfully treating patients for this condition in private practice and within the NHS. In effect, these new guidelines are a rubber stamp of the positive work already being undertaken by acupuncturists around the country as well as an endorsement of the wealth of research evidence now available in this area. If you, or someone you know, suffers from low back pain and would like to arrange an initial consultation, give us a call on 01227 788 868.

NICE has recommended that acupuncture be made available on the NHS for people who have suffered from non-specific low back pain for more than six weeks but less than a year. This sort of back pain is often muscular and features aches, pain, stiffness and a limited ability to move the lower back. The term 'non-specific' means it does not have a known, definite cause such as slipped disc causing nerve root compression (for example, sciatica), inflammatory medical conditions (such as ankylosing spondylitis), infection, fracture, malignancy (cancer) or another condition that affects the spine [4].

It is calculated that the costs to the NHS of the new recommendations, which apply to England and Wales, will be minimal because they are offset by the savings in terms of reducing future disability and healthcare needs and moving away from current treatments for non-spcific back pain which have little supportive evidence. These include spinal x-rays and MRI scans, laser therapy, lumbar supports, injections in the back and use of a TENS machine (transcutaneous electrical nerve simulation) [5].

References
[1] Daily Telegraph May 27th, 2009 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/5387659/Acupuncture-should-be-offered-on-NHS-for-back-pain.html
[2] Statistics provided from HTA Spotlight: Acupuncture for back pain. Research by the University of Regensburg has shown that acupuncture is one of the most effective therapies for back pain. The research published by Archives of Internal Medicine, showed that acupuncture can provide significantly more relief from lower back pain than conventional therapies. The Chinese needle treatment was 74% more likely to lead to a sustained reduction in pain or improved ability to function normally than physiotherapy, medication and advice on exercise.
. Only those who continue to have problems after six weeks will be offered the complementary therapies in England and Wales.
[3] NHS statistics from BAcC Website http://www.acupuncture.org.uk/index.php/the-news/press-statements/312.html
[4] NHS http://www.nhs.uk/news/2009/05May/Pages/QAonNiceguidanceforbackpain.aspx
[5] BBC News http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8068427.stm

Where we practice

We practice in Canterbury and Whitstable

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