Treating Back Pain with Acupuncture

Posted by davidscrimgeour on December 26th, 2014

By Kathy Thorpe, MA, CHom, Boulder, Colorado

If you suffer from back pain, you are not alone. In fact, approximately 80% of all Americans will have back pain at least once in their lives, and low back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide according to the Global Burden of Disease 2010. So what causes this painful disorder? The back is made up of a complex scaffolding of vertebrae, disks, tendons, ligaments, muscles and highly-sensitive nerves. It is designed to be strong so it can protect the spinal cord and nerve roots, yet flexible enough to move and bend easily. A problem with any part of the back can lead to back pain. The most common causes are strains or pulled muscles, but it can also be the result of a bulging or ruptured disk, sciatica, arthritis or osteoporosis, scoliosis, an injury, chronic stress or simply poor posture.

Boulder acupuncturist, David Scrimgeour, maintains that acupuncture is one of the most effective treatments for acute and chronic back pain. A recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine provides strong scientific evidence that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic pain. The researchers found that acupuncture outperformed standard care and sham treatments when used by people suffering from osteoarthritis, migraines and chronic back, neck and shoulder pain.

So how does acupuncture work to relieve back pain? According to David Scrimgeour, “the unobstructed flow of the vital energy of the body or “qi” is necessary to maintain health. With acupuncture, fine needles are inserted into points located along meridians or energy pathways to correct the normal flow of qi.” For back pain, acupuncture performs several functions: it promotes healing by increasing collateral blood circulation, it relaxes the muscles and relieves inflammation in the affected area. In addition, acupuncture relieves pain by stimulating the secretion of endorphins and by increasing serotonin in the brain.

David Scrimgeour uses Japanese acupuncture to treat back pain. In Japanese acupuncture (Itami Therapy), it is believed that trauma weakens the system and that the effects of an injury are not limited to a local area. It is therefore necessary to reset the balance of the whole body. This is done by subtle manipulation of the acupuncture channels. A number of different methods are used which help to reduce inflammation and pain and heal the body as quickly as possible. These include: acupuncture, moxa, cupping, akabane stimulation, electro stimulation, massage and ear acupuncture.

A unique aspect of Japanese pain treatment is its focus on treating whole channels and addressing referred pain from a top to bottom, front to back and side to side approach. This comprehensive method gets at the root of the problem while addressing the whole system leading to effective, lasting pain relief and correction of the traumatic disturbance in the system. .

David Scrimgeour has successfully treated acute and chronic back pain using acupuncture at his clinic in Boulder, Colorado over the past 24 years. He is also an acupuncturist for the Longmont, Louisville, Lafayette and Erie areas. He specializes in acute and chronic back pain; sciatica; sports injuries: sprains, strains, pulled muscles, ligament & cartilage tears, stiff muscles & joints; knee, neck, shoulder, arm and leg pain; fractures; whiplash and arthritis. For more information, he can be reached at 303 413-9596 or through his website:

Kathy Thorpe is a natural health writer and blogger who has been writing about alternative approaches to health and wellness for the past ten years. Prior to that, she taught English at U.C. Berkeley and at the University of Colorado. She can be reached at 303 583-0179.

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