Acupuncturist Questions Acupuncture

How long does it take for acupuncture to work for back pain?

I am a 68-year-old male. I have chronic back pain. I want to have acupuncture treatment. How long does it take for acupuncture to work for back pain?

7 Answers

If your back pain is chronic, you will need multiple sessions per week for a period of time. Then you can decrease sessions to once a week once it is under control. You need a private consultation to discuss your pain issue.
I depends anywhere for 1-15 treatments maybe more. It depends on what is causing your back pain and sometimes it is just regular treatments for pain management as an alternative to pain medication
It varies from person to person but most patients feel some type of relief after 3-4 treatments
It depends on the cause of the back pain. If it is chronic like disc compression or stenosis, it will take frequent treatments long term but it will make life much more enjoyable.
I'm afraid I have no way of answering your question. Everyone is different and has different causes of pain. Usually it takes my patients several weeks of twice a week treatments to really get to the cause and cure their back pain. Some acupuncturists might be able to get you relief faster. I would check in with the practitioner closest to where you live and start asking them questions.
Normally it takes 4-5 sessions for chronic back pain.
It's hard to give a definite time-line; there are some factors that might affect how long it takes for someone to experience pain relief from an acupuncture treatment.

Why, from the perspective of Chinese medicine, are you experiencing back pain? In other words, what's your Chinese diagnosis for this problem - there are a number of diagnostic buckets this issue could fall in to and there's not enough information provided on your initial question to even begin to differentiate.

Are you seeing an actual acupuncturist or a Chiropractor/PT who is playing around? There is a large training difference between someone who went to school to study acupuncture and Chinese medicine and someone who has attended a couple of seminars or read a book. On top of this, some providers will be better with pain/pain management relative to others and this will have an impact on how many treatments they might require in order to bring your issue under control.

Lastly, there's you. Some people respond very quickly to acupuncture, some more slowly, and a small number of folks do not respond at all. There's no effective way to predict in advance which of these categories you might be in.

To get the most out of acupuncture treatment for your issue, here's what you need to do:

1. Make sure you're seeing an actual, nationally board certified and state licensed acupuncturist. At a minimum they should have an NCCAOM credential and an L.Ac./R.Ac. practice license issued by your state.

2. It's best if this provider specializes in pain management and has a decent track record with back pain in general.

3. Be prepared to attend at least 3 or 4 treatments before you decide whether or not acupuncture is working. If you've made it to treatment 5 and aren't getting any results, it's very likely that you're in that small number of people who won't get a result.